Some Might Call It A WHOMPIN'!
By all measures, last night was a whompin'.
After polls closed in Missouri and Mississippi, networks were able to almost immediately declare Joe Biden the winner of those primaries, so thorough was the whompin'. Late last night, as Mississippi came close to 100 percent reporting, Sanders fell below the 15 percent threshold to even receive delegates in the race. Meanwhile, Biden is currently carrying 81 percent of that state.
What was surprising for many was how quickly after that they were also able to call Michigan for Biden, a state Bernie Sanders shocked everyone by winning in the 2016 primary. it wasn't close — 52.9 percent to 36.4 percent.
Biden also won the Idaho primary, while Sanders took the North Dakota caucus, which was sort of a hybrid caucus-primary this year. (Idaho used to be a caucus too.)
And in Washington state, where much of the same-day mail-in ballot remains uncounted, it's a dead heat, but that's likely to break more strongly for Biden as those same-day votes are counted, as the early vote, much of it, reflects the race as it was a week or two ago. For instance, at this point, Elizabeth Warren is still receiving around 12 percent of the vote.
Like we said, a whompin'.
If math said the window for Sanders was rapidly closing after Super Tuesday, it's almost slammed shut after Not-That-Super-Tuesday. But sure, you never know how it's going to ultimately shake out, as weirder things have happened in primaries.
So What Is Happening Out There?
TURNOUT, TURNOUT, TURNOUT is happening.
In Michigan, turnout was up approximately 50 percent, just like it was in Virginia recently. And the suburbs are roaring, just as they have been ever since that election in 2017 where Virginia basically reshaped itself in one night.
Here is Steve Kornacki on the MSNBC talking about some turnout and some suburbs and who's getting the vote in different demographics:
One county Kornacki talks about is Livingston County in Michigan, a suburban area between Detroit and Lansing, which flipped to blue in 2018 and helped put Elissa Slotkin in Congress. Turnout was up 50 percent from 2016, and Biden ran away with it.
It's not just black voters either. It's also white voters:
More from the Washington Post, focusing on Michigan and Missouri:
Biden's gains over Clinton were also concentrated among whites, who accounted for more than 7 in 10 voters in each state. In 2016, Sanders won white voters over Clinton by nine percentage points in Missouri and 14 points in Michigan. This year, Biden won whites by 23 points over Sanders in Missouri and by 10 points in Michigan, according to preliminary exit poll data.
Sanders underperformed his 2016 showing among both white college graduates and those without four-year college degrees after winning both groups four years ago. Biden won whites without college degrees by a 18-point margin in Missouri and by seven points in Michigan; he won white college grads by 28 points in Missouri and 14 points in Michigan.
The electorate, itself, is changing.
Which brings us to Mississippi:
OK, so longtime readers know that this Wonkette writing at you right now is a Southern creature, specifically a Memphis creature. DeSoto County is where we go to the Target sometimes, and where one of our dog's vets is. It's just down the road. And as suburbs go, it is pretty damn Republican.
But yet, there's DeSoto County, the Republican suburbs, increasing turnout in the Democratic primary by almost 50 percent.
What this suggests is that what people thought was going to happen in 2016 — that there were all these quiet voters in the 'burbs who just couldn't bring themselves to vote for Trump, that a bunch of moderate Democratic and independent and Republican voters would vote for Hillary Clinton — is actually happening in 2020, and they're coming out for Joe Biden.
Yes, Joe Biden really is the candidate who's turning out the voters.
How? Really? WHY?
We think the thing people have really underestimated in this cycle is just how angry and scared voters really are, and now that they finally at last have a chance to say something, they're saying it.
Michael Moore, a Sanders backer if there ever was one, hit on it, we think, last night on MSNBC. He said there were two visions presented to voters this year, with the Sanders vision offering to replace the hell years of Trump with an entirely new kind of politics, a fundamental reshaping of the American political system. Meanwhile, the Biden vision is more akin to "OH MY GOD, CAN WE JUST HIT THE RESET BUTTON FIRST AND GET THAT TERRIFYING MOTHERFUCKER OUT OF OFFICE, AND THEN WE'LL TALK ABOUT ALL THE OTHER SHIT LATER KTHXBYE?"
That reminded us of an analogy we came up with in our own lonesome brain recently, but haven't shared. Imagine you're currently falling off a cliff, and you can see the ground far below, but you've still got two fingers on the rocks above you. And you have a plan that might work to get you back up on that solid ground. Are you doing to do that plan to get your two feet planted, and, you know, NOT DIE, or are you going to suddenly turn around and decide that's a good time to see if you can fly? Or could flying come later, when you have a chance to make a plan for flying?
We think that's how voters feel right now. Exit polling from Super Tuesday showed that the top-of-mind motivation for voters is beating Trump, and everything else is secondary. Last night's exit polling showed the same, and those voters broke for Biden.
What Does This Mean For November?
We don't have a bunch of data sets in front of us — we are not a data genius like Rachel Bitecofer after all! — but we have some educated guesses.
Bitecofer was on Jonathan Capehart's "Cape Up" podcast this week, and she talked about the Virginia primary last week, specifically Republican participation in the Virginia primary. Donald Trump has been out there beating the drum about how it's rigged against Bernie Sanders, and encouraging Republicans in states with open primaries to get in there and try to rig it for Sanders. (His strategy is very subtle, and Russian.)
It didn't turn out that way in South Carolina a few weeks ago.
And according to Bitecofer, it didn't happen in Virginia either. She cited exit polls showing that in 2016, three percent of Democratic primary voters in Virginia were self-identified Republicans. That was up to six percent in 2020. But her numbers showed that they were "sincere votes," not troll votes at Trump's direction, and that they split for Biden.
Like Virginia, Mississippi is also an open primary, as is Michigan. We haven't dug into those numbers yet, but we expect more of the same.
Let us tell you about two of our close friends, who we'll call Danielle and Tim. They are Republicans, or at least they used to be. Danielle's family has been actively involved in Republican politics for ages. Danielle and Tim are moderates, pro-choice, pro-LGBT, "fiscal conservative," whatever that means. They loathe Donald Trump.
In 2016, they wrote in John Kasich in the general, because it turns out the GOP's 40-year war on Hillary Clinton really had its intended effect, and there are just shitloads of people out there who think — wrongly — that there's just somethin' shady about her. They couldn't bring themselves to vote for her. But in 2016, that was supposed to be a risk-free vote, because nobody thought Trump could ever get elected.
Now we've experienced three and a half years of the terrors of a Trump presidency. It's real. There are no risk-free votes. And this year, they're involved in the Democratic primary, sincerely. What we're suggesting is that there may be a metric shitload of Danielles and Tims out there, reshaping this year's electorate.
And it's not just Danielles and Tims either. It's ... holy shit, it looks like it's going to be millions of people. Independents, Democrats, moderate/former Republicans, millennials who used to be bad at voting but now they're in their late 30s and they're getting better at voting now that they're a little older. And they all loathe Donald Trump. Literally no one yet understands how America's loathing of Donald Trump is going to come out in a general election where people finally have a chance to vote against the man again.
That could lead to some surprises in November, is what we are saying, if the nominee is Joe Biden, and barring something earthshaking, Joe Biden is going to be the nominee.
So What's Next?
Um duh, it is the Northern Mariana Islands caucus on Saturday, where Tulsi Gabbard is going to tie this thing up with a bow, at which point Tulsi-mentum will overtake the land!
Anyway, after Northern Marianas, next Tuesday it's Florida, Ohio, Illinois, and Arizona, where Biden just scored the endorsement of former congresswoman Gabby Giffords. Biden will probably expand his delegate lead significantly.
In summary and in conclusion, it looks like it's going to be Biden. Time to get on board, because that's what VOTE BLUE NO MATTER WHO means. The voters are speaking, and they're really not muttering about it.
Now let's go beat the shit out of Donald Trump in November.
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