Super Tuesday redux
3/6/2020, 6 a.m.
Lessons learned from Super Tuesday, the Democratic presidential primary contest held this week in Virginia and 13 other states and American Samoa, which was won overwhelmingly by former Vice President Joe Biden:
• Money can buy you ads, but not votes.
Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who poured nearly $200 million into ad buys in Super Tuesday states since Jan. 1, didn’t win a single state.
According to news reports, Mr. Bloomberg spent almost five times more than the rest of the Democratic field combined, winning American Samoa’s primary and 18 delegates nation-wide. That comes out to about $11 million per delegate.
Meanwhile, former Vice President Joe Biden, who had some of the lowest ad spending among the candidates, swept Virginia and eight other states, while U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont won four others. Maine was still a toss-up on Wednesday morning, but is projected to be another win for Mr. Biden.
• Front-runner status doesn’t always determine your success down the road.
Pete Buttigieg, former mayor of South Bend, Ind., had a slim victory in the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 3, while Sen. Sanders won the New Hampshire primary on Feb. 11 and the Nevada caucuses on Feb. 22. Both seemed to have the wind at their backs going into the South Carolina primary on Feb. 29 and the Super Tuesday primaries.
But the wind shifted fast.
Mr. Buttigieg dropped out of the race Sunday night after a poor showing in South Carolina. And Mr. Biden, whose death knell was sounding after Nevada, sprang to life in South Carolina and in Super Tuesday states.
• Age doesn’t matter (for the most part).
In a Democratic field that started last year with more than 20 candidates, the leading contenders left standing after months of campaigning, hundreds of appearances and quite a few debates are the septuagenarians — Bernie Sanders, who is 78, and his younger opponent, Joe Biden, who is 77.
So much for 38-year-old Mr. Buttigieg.
The only other candidates left in the race as of Wednesday afternoon were U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, 70, and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, 38.
• Don’t underestimate the power of an endorsement.
Pundits are giving major kudos to Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, the highest ranking African-American in Congress, whose emotional endorsement of Mr. Biden just three days before the South Carolina primary sealed the black vote and Mr. Biden’s victory in that important state.
And when U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar dropped out of the race on Monday, she quickly mobilized her campaign staff in her home state of Minnesota, having them go door to door asking people to support Mr. Biden on Super Tuesday.
Mr. Biden, who had a muted presence at best in Minnesota, won that state on Tuesday; Sen. Klobuchar came in third, behind Sen. Sanders.
• In a crowded field in a volatile race, it may be best to wait until Election Day to vote.
Millions of voters in the Super Tuesday states cast their ballots early, only to see their preferred candidate drop out of the race before Election Day. People who voted for Mr. Buttigieg, Sen. Klobuchar and California billionaire Tom Steyer were especially smarting about their votes wasted on the three candidates who dropped out just days before Tuesday’s contest.