With one lopsided result in one Southern US state and a pair of prominent withdrawals, a lot has changed in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Saturday’s results in the South Carolina primary, in which Joe Biden trounced frontrunner Bernie Sanders by more than 28 percentage points, had already thrown a ratchet into the convoluted race, puncturing the aura of inevitability that surrounded Sanders.
Then, the unexpected withdrawals of Pete Buttigieg on Sunday night and Amy Klobuchar on Monday afternoon turned what had been a multi-person race into one with four viable candidates, all of them in their 70s and from states in the northeast corner of the country – Sanders, Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Michael Bloomberg.
The fifth Democrat still standing, Tulsi Gabbard, is polling just over 1 percent in national polls.
Tuesday’s primary votes in 14 states are the closest thing the US has to a national primary. More than two-thirds of the delegates needed to secure the Democratic nomination – 1,357 out of the 1,991 needed – at the party’s convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in July are up for grabs.
California and Texas are the day’s biggest prizes, with 415 and 228 delegates, respectively. California, the most populous US state, held its primary in June during the 2016 presidential race but opted to return as a Super Tuesday state this cycle to try to increase its influence.