The South Carolina primary has been called for Joe Biden. This isn’t a surprise. South Carolina, with its large number of black voters, has always been seen as Biden’s firewall, but early returns suggest that his margin may be impressive. Bernie Sanders apparently is finishing second. Possibly the most important fact about today’s vote is that none of the Sanders/Biden alternatives showed any perceptible strength. Michael Bloomberg didn’t participate.
There has never been a moment during the campaign when I have taken Biden seriously as a candidate for the Democratic nomination, let alone the presidency. Despite today’s win, his decrepitude seems to be accelerating. No doubt you have seen reports of his inexplicable ramblings on the stump, most notably, perhaps, his looking forward to appointing the first female black senator. Having served in the Senate since he was 30, Biden seems not to have noticed that senators are elected, not appointed by the president. And at least one long-retired female black senator campaigned for him in South Carolina.
But there is no point in trying to make sense of Biden’s stump speeches. He obviously lacks the mental faculties necessary to serve as president. In my opinion, he always did; but the decline we have witnessed since his retirement as vice-president makes the fact blindingly obvious. Still, let’s give Joe his due: in his three presidential runs, this is the first time he has ever won a primary or caucus. I think it may be the first time he has finished better than fourth. So today’s vote likely marks the high water mark of Biden’s political career.
Now it is on to Super Tuesday. As a Republican, I want to see as many “viable” candidates as possible to split the vote. The best possible outcome is a brokered convention; second best is a long, brutal primary fight with lots of hard feelings among the candidates’ supporters. At the moment, the second scenario looks likely, and the first looks possible.
A final note: Tom Steyer spent a lot of money in South Carolina and succeeded in getting a modest number of votes. The remarkable thing is that a billionaire who can dance didn’t do better. Steve has already posted this, but some things can’t be enjoyed too often: