Washington It was an election day marked by the corona crisis. Actually, Democratic registered voters should vote on their presidential candidate in four US states on Tuesday: Florida, Illinois, Arizona and Ohio. However, the governor in Ohio canceled the vote on Monday evening, a few hours before the polling stations were due to open. The risk of infection for election workers and voters seemed too great.
Polling stations also remained closed in the remaining three federal keys because helpers were sick or stayed at home out of fear of infection. In addition, only a few voters were allowed to enter the open polling stations at the same time, and so individual voters in Illinois had to queue for two and a half hours – with an increased safety distance from the person in front.
The result couldn’t be clearer: Florida, Ohio, Arizona: Joe Biden was clearly ahead of Bernie Sanders in each of the three states. Especially in Florida, where there were 219 delegate votes, he won with a big lead. There are three lessons to be learned from this clear result:
1. The Democratic presidential candidate has been chosen
“Joe Biden will be the next Democratic Party presidential candidate,” said Terry McAuliffe, former Virginia Democratic governor, shortly after 9:00 p.m. East Coast on CNN. Indeed, if 77-year-old Biden stays healthy and makes no catastrophic mistake, he will face Donald Trump in November. Tuesday was the last chance for Sanders to keep up with favorites Biden with a surprise success. But there was no surprise. Instead, Biden was able to extend his lead over Sanders.
Almost 60 percent of the delegate votes are now taken. There is still a long way to go before Biden has received enough delegate votes to have a majority in the first ballot at the Democratic congress. But the bottom line is: there is no evidence that Sanders could turn the tide in the remaining states.
Biden is at the forefront of almost all important socio-demographic groups, the majority of white voters in the suburbs as well as the African-American voters in the city centers. The majority of Latino voters supported him in Florida. As a result, Sanders in Florida was unable to win a single constituency (county). In the front it is only among young voters under 30.
2. The candidacy was nevertheless a success for Sanders
Bernie Sanders, the left wing of his party, has achieved an important success with his candidacy: He has forced Biden to move clearly to the left in order to convince potential Sanders voters. Shortly before election day, Biden adopted an important demand from Sanders in its own election program: Households with an annual income of up to $ 125,000 should be exempted from tuition fees for their children in the future – if only for the first four years of study and only at state universities.
On the evening of the election, Biden specifically addressed the young Sanders supporters: “I hear you,” he called to them in a webcast from his private home. The otherwise usual bathroom of the election winner in the crowd of his fans had to be avoided due to Corona. Biden knows: The left-wing positions of Sanders get caught in a significantly larger proportion of democratic voters than the number of votes suggests.
This can be seen, for example, from a poll among democratic voters on election day in Illinois: 57 percent support the idea of state health insurance for all Americans (“Medicare for All”). A key demand from Sanders, but not from Biden, who prefers to stick to the previous state-private mixed system (“Obamacare”). Healthcare costs are also high on the political priority list for democratic voters in the same survey. The explanation for the discrepancy with the election result: Many voters voted for Biden because they trust him more than Sanders to beat Trump in the fall.
3. Nothing will be normal in the election campaign
In addition to Ohio, a number of other states have postponed their pre-election dates due to the corona pandemic. But it is completely open whether it will not be even more difficult or even impossible to hold the elections at a later date. It is also open whether the democratic nomination party conference can take place at the beginning of July as planned.
Given these risks and his hopeless position, Sanders is now under great pressure to give up the race and to declare the pre-election campaign over. The election campaign Biden against Trump will also take place almost exclusively via the media, at least until the summer. The classic “Campaign Trail” through all states is hardly conceivable from today’s perspective. This gives Trump a clear advantage because, as President-in-Office, he draws media attention with each of his statements.
Corona will determine the rest of the election campaign not only in terms of form, but also in terms of content. He is increasingly focusing on the question of who can show the better recipes against the pandemic and its economic consequences. During the TV duel against Sanders on Sunday, Biden Trump was right to criticize the lack of awareness and lack of leadership in the crisis. But Trump has woken up in the past 24 hours.
With his massive aid and economic stimulus package, including “helicopter money”, the planned cash checks for all citizens, announced on Tuesday, Trump has recaptured the initiative. If the package is implemented as planned, Biden will have to compete against a man who recently gave every citizen $ 1,000. For this task Biden will need as much campaign support from Sanders and his followers as he can get.
Here’s how it continues: An overview of all Democratic area codes.