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Why Biden?

Summary:
Former US Vice President Joe Biden is almost certain to be the Democratic Party's nominee to challenge President Donald Trump in November. Biden's emergence at the front of a once-crowded field caps what may be the most significant and unusual US presidential primary ever. WASHINGTON, DC – The most significant and unusual contest – possibly ever – to nominate the challenger to a sitting United States president is effectively over. Former Vice President Joe Biden – written off by most observers until his triumph in South Carolina last month and victories in other Southern states turned the race around – now has such a commanding lead in delegates over his rival, US Senator Bernie Sanders, that it’s virtually

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Former US Vice President Joe Biden is almost certain to be the Democratic Party's nominee to challenge President Donald Trump in November. Biden's emergence at the front of a once-crowded field caps what may be the most significant and unusual US presidential primary ever.

WASHINGTON, DC – The most significant and unusual contest – possibly ever – to nominate the challenger to a sitting United States president is effectively over. Former Vice President Joe Biden – written off by most observers until his triumph in South Carolina last month and victories in other Southern states turned the race around – now has such a commanding lead in delegates over his rival, US Senator Bernie Sanders, that it’s virtually impossible for Sanders to overtake him. Biden’s double-digit wins in the three states that voted on March 17 – Florida, Illinois, and Arizona – doubled his lead to more than 300 delegates. (Ohio postponed its primary because of the COVID-19 pandemic.) Sanders, having signaled that he’d quit the race (after last Sunday night’s two-man debate), has now done so again.

After a dismal start in Iowa and New Hampshire (where he finished fourth and fifth, respectively) and an unimpressive finish in Nevada (a distant second to Sanders), many had written Biden off. And yet he quickly flipped the narrative, owing to a few key factors: the unrepresentative nature of heavily white Iowa and New Hampshire, the strength of the black vote in the South, and the moving endorsement of Biden by Rep. Jim Clyburn, the House Majority Whip and the most powerful African-American political figure in South Carolina (and possibly the entire South). But, most important, there was a change within Biden himself.

Elizabeth Drew
Contributor to New Republic, Daily Beast, Project Syndicate, Nation (book reviews). Fifteen books, including reissue of Washington Journal, Nixon & Watergate.

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