During this week’s debate in South Carolina, Joe Biden was asked if he would drop out if he doesn’t win the primary there.
“I will win South Carolina,” Biden responded bluntly.
Joe Biden has the most riding on South Carolina.
He led the pack in the national polls for the Democratic presidential nomination and by big margins in South Carolina throughout nearly all of 2019. But after disappointing finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire, Biden lost his lead nationally, and margins have tightened significantly in South Carolina.
In the past week, however, Biden’s lead has somewhat rebounded in South Carolina, because the fear of a potential Bernie Sanders nomination is hitting fever pitch among the establishment, moderate Democrats. In South Carolina, black voters are the kingmaker, and Biden had one of his best debate performances of the cycle this Tuesday night. Then, the next morning, he got the prestigious endorsement of popular long-term South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn.
Biden has repeatedly dismissed losses in Iowa and New Hampshire, the states that start the Democratic nomination process, because “they are overwhelmingly white states and don’t represent the entire country.”
He also claimed he would fare better when the electorate becomes more diverse, but that was not the case in Nevada, the first state with comparatively larger black and Latino populations, Sanders won the Latinx vote overwhelmingly. Sanders won half of the Latinx vote, and Biden finished a distant second with them, more than 30 points behind.
Biden hopes that a win in South Carolina will propel him to a good day on Super Tuesday, March 3. But that is easier said than done.
All these obstacles make Biden an underdog for the nomination, which is why he desperately needs South Carolina to have any hopes of staging a comeback in this election.