How Bernie blew it

His campaign must correct course if it wants any hope of taking the nomination

Bernie Sanders in Vermont
(Image credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Former Vice President Joe Biden won what looks to be at least a narrow delegate victory in yesterday's Super Tuesday contests, which will award a third of all delegates to the Democratic National Convention in July. While the campaign is far from over, Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-Vt.) march to the nomination that looked so likely just a week ago is a long-gone dream for the progressive left. As he and his campaign look upon the wreckage of what could have been a casual romp en route to Milwaukee, they absolutely must correct course and start the difficult process of appealing to mainstream Democrats if they want to have any hope of winning.

Let's start with the toplines: It was a bloodbath for Sanders and a bonanza for Biden. States where Sanders had the inside track just days ago, particularly Maine, Minnesota, Texas, and Massachusetts, went for Biden, who also won Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Alabama. His margin in Virginia alone provided him with enough ballast to survive Sanders' numbers out West. Sanders got obliterated so badly in Alabama that he likely will get close to zero delegates, just a worst case scenario performance. Overall, Biden won 10 of the 14 states that voted yesterday, and while we of course do not know what the precise delegate totals will be, he has opened up a lead on Sanders that won't be easy to overcome.

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David Faris

David Faris is an associate professor of political science at Roosevelt University and the author of It's Time to Fight Dirty: How Democrats Can Build a Lasting Majority in American Politics. He is a frequent contributor to Informed Comment, and his work has appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times, The Christian Science Monitor, and Indy Week.