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Super (Disappointing) Tuesday and the Politics of Mediocrity

On this episode of democracy-ish, Touré and Danielle discuss Joe Biden’s sudden surge and its implications for the Democratic field.

  • An endorsement from the “godfather of South Carolina politics,” Jim Clyburn, propels Biden to victory in the first southern primary.

  • Buttigieg, Klobuchar and Steyer exit, clearing the way for moderate voters to coalesce behind Biden throughout the Super Tuesday states. What does it mean for Sanders?

  • Bloomberg steps aside, endorses Biden ... and, shortly after this episode drops, Warren does the same with her campaign. Is sexism to blame?

  • If Biden does win, will a strategic VP pick soften the blow?

What a difference a week makes.

Saturday’s South Carolina Democratic primary set off a chain reaction that radically reshaped the race. In the first southern state –– and the most diverse –– to weigh in so far, more than 48 percent of voters chose Joe Biden.

“I am so disappointed in the Democratic party right now,” Touré says. “It’s coalescing around someone who they do not love, out of pragmatism. And didn't we do that before?”

“We do it all the time,” says Danielle.

His campaign had been declared all but dead after poor performances in Iowa and New Hampshire. But Uncle Joe’s bid to unseat Trump came roaring back to life in South Carolina, thanks to high voter turnout and overwhelming support from Black voters.

While Bernie Sanders finished second, no other candidates made a strong enough showing to win delegates. (Mike Bloomberg, strategically absent from the ballot, threw more millions on the ad-buy bonfire in hopes of a Super Tuesday sweep.)

By Sunday evening, Mayor Pete Buttigieg dropped out of the race. Amy Klobuchar followed suit and both endorsed Biden. And when Super Tuesday arrived, moderate Democrats coalesced around the former vice president.

Biden dominated among late deciders in all those races, Touré notes. With a narrower field and a starker choice, the cracks in Sanders’ nascent coalition became clear.

“The core of the Democratic party is Black people … but Bernie has not been able to grow his support among black people from 2016 to 2020,” he says.

That’s because he hasn’t fused his economic principles with a robust understanding of racial and ethnic inequality, Danielle notes.

“You can't talk about the poor and not talk about ... ho

w systems have been created to stop black people from being able to build any type of wealth. You can't all lives matter this shit.”

It seems Super Tuesday wasn’t so super. It was pretty mediocre, actually. What now? Touré and Danielle assess the narrowed field.

Episode Highlights — Make America Mediocre Again

Bloomberg’s victory … in the Pacific

The best news that emerged this week? Bloomberg’s exit.

In his bid for the nomination, he sidestepped field organizing, baby-kissing and pressing flesh at small-town diners in favor of blanketing key media markets with anti-Trump ads. Turns out Bloomberg spent $550 million to win the race in … American Samoa.

“He could have bought American Samoa,” says Touré.

“I guess Bloomberg and his team thought that an avatar could in fact win an election,” Danielle adds.

But Biden managed to win big despite his absence from retail politics in the Super Tuesday states. He didn’t buy ads in, or even host rallies, in many of the places he won.

“He's got the name recognition,” says Touré. “He's a known quantity.”

Danielle thinks that Biden is something else entirely: “He’s a security blanket,” she says.

“I have never been less excited, inspired or interested in a Democratic nominee than Joe Biden,” Touré counters. “He has no personal history, talent or pet policy concern that I give a fuck about.”

But he's not what appeals to voters, says Danielle.