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Democratic Primary Field Narrows To Biden And Sanders

The field in the Presidential Democratic Primary Election has narrowed to former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders following the results of Super Tuesday on March 3 and Mini-Tuesday on March 10. This marks a dramatic shift in the race with Biden emerging as the new frontrunner.

Biden, who experienced disappointing finishes in early voting states like Iowa and New Hampshire, made a comeback in recent primaries by gaining victories in 15 states over the last two weeks.

Biden is now leading in the delegate count with 890 as of March 14, dealing a major blow to Sanders, who gained an early lead from victories in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada. Biden swept in states across the South, while also gaining victories in northern states like Michigan, Maine, Minnesota, Idaho and Washington.

Sanders is trailing behind with 736 delegates, walking away with victories in North Dakota, Vermont, Utah, Colorado and the delegate-rich California, where he won in 50 out of 58 counties including in Orange County and Los Angeles County.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a previous frontrunner and early favorite for the nomination, dropped out of the race on March 5 following a disappointing third place finish in most of the Super Tuesday states. Many within the Democratic party view Warren’s departure as an end to the largest and most diverse Democratic field to date.

“I know one of the hardest parts of this is all those pinky promises and all those little girls who are going to have to wait four more years [to see a woman as president],” Warren said of her decision in a press conference on March 5.

Former New York mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg also dropped out of the race following an unfavorable performance on March 3. Bloomberg’s campaign was stifled by Warren in her dominant performances in the debates prior to the primaries.

Bloomberg has since joined other former candidates, including South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigeg and California Sen. Kamala Harris, in endorsing Biden, calling the Vice President the “best shot” to beat Trump.

Warren, who came in third in California, has yet to endorse a candidate and will reportedly remain neutral through the rest of the primary, a move which has sparked backlash online from Sanders supporters calling for her to get behind her ideological counterpart. 

“She doesn’t owe anyone anything,” said Jess Morales Rocketto, a political strategist that worked on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, to the New York Times. “She should take her sweet time.”

Sanders, despite the seemingly downward trajectory of his campaign from underwhelming performances on Super Tuesday and Mini Tuesday, has announced that he intends to remain in the race. 

“Last night, obviously, was not a good night for our campaign from a delegate point of view,” Sanders said in a press conference on March 11. “It is not just the ideological debate that our progressive movement is winning. We are winning the generational debate.”

In order for either Biden or Sanders to win the nomination, they need to accumulate a total of 1,991 delegates in the coming weeks. The next primary elections will be held on March 17 in Arizona, Florida, Illinois and Ohio.

To register to vote, visit https://www.usa.gov/register-to-vote.

Danielle Dawson is a City News Intern for the 2020 winter quarter. She can be reached at dmdawson@uci.edu.