The results from Super Tuesday are in and Democratic candidates are doing their best to get face-to-face with voters to win their upcoming primaries. One of the big focuses of this race was courting the African American vote for a chance to swing the November election in their favor.
Joe Biden emerged the winner with a blowout victory across the Southern states. For a while, it seemed like Biden was losing steam in the race for the Democratic nomination after early losses in New Hampshire and Iowa. Things took an unexpected turn when Biden came out the victor in South Carolina where black voters account for an estimated 60% of South Carolina’s Democratic vote. He was victorious again on Super Tuesday with big wins in Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, and Tennessee. A lot of his success is credited to his strategy to campaign in more diverse states. According to exit polls, he leads Sen. Bernie Sanders among support with Southern black voters by large margins–Virginia, 71% to 16%; North Carolina, 62% to 17%; Alabama, 72% to 9%; and Tennessee, 53% to 20%.
Another factor was fellow candidates Amy Klobuchar and Peter Buttigieg dropping out of the race and rallying behind Biden to block Sanders from capturing the nomination.
Some critics say this is a harbinger of more to come, believing that Biden has the ability to appeal to more demographics within the Democratic Party. “Biden has extremely strong support within the African American community, which is a major electoral force from South Carolina to Texas, as well as a consolidation of support from moderate whites within the Democratic Party,” Mark Jones told USA Today. Jones is a political professor at Rice University in Texas. Jordan Ragusa, an associate professor at the University of Charleston agreed: “I feel like African Americans (in South Carolina) feel like they can just trust him, that he’s genuine and he’s someone who will look out for their interests.”
This doesn’t mean Sanders supporters should be scared. Sanders has continued to perform high on national polls and leads Biden by three points among African Americans across the country, according to a recent survey. With that being said, that support didn’t translate into success in South Carolina, which Biden won in a route. “The scrutiny is unfounded. Sen. Sanders is polling the highest among all the candidates nationally” among black voters, said former Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner, a co-chair for Sanders’s campaign. “You win some and you lose some. South Carolina was worth it—we tried, and we tried really hard.”
While Sanders didn’t win the overall vote, he still performed well with black voters under the age of 30 and the results in South Carolina only represent one section of the black vote. “The South Carolina results certainly weren’t great for Sen. Sanders’s optics, but black voters aren’t a monolith,” said Aimee Allison, founder of She the People. “Super Tuesday is the real test—we have enormous, diverse states like California [which Sanders was slated to win] and Texas [whose primary Biden won] as well as states with multiracial electorates like North Carolina, Virginia, and Alabama.”
While Biden was enjoying his victories and Sanders continued his push, Super Tuesday results determined the future of the Bloomberg campaign. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has already reportedly spent over $500 million on advertising through social media, television, and various other platforms It wasn’t enough. He announced this morning that he was dropping out of the race and endorsing Biden.
“Today, I am leaving the race for the same reason: to defeat Donald Trump–because it is clear to me that staying in would make achieving that goal more difficult,” he said in a statement. “I’ve always believed that defeating Donald Trump starts with uniting behind the candidate with the best shot to do it. After yesterday’s vote, it is clear that candidate is my friend and a great American, Joe Biden.”