The Biden/Sanders battle for the Democratic nomination is on. Where did Joe Biden’s unexpected Super Tuesday win come from? Do voters think uniting around the establishment candidate is the best way to defeat Trump?
This is a rush transcript and my contain errors. It will be updated.
Marc Steiner: Welcome to The Real News. I’m Marc Steiner. Great to have you all with us. Super Tuesday has left us with a lot of questions. More questions than answers. It was clearly a banner day for the establishment and for Biden. Yes, mainstream media columnists and corporate political power brokers went after Sanders with everything they had to defame him, especially his ideas, and to defend their corporate interests. But there’s also a reality that most Democrats in this primary have voted for the moderate candidates, and not ones that are supposed progressive agendas like Sanders and Warren.
So what does that mean for our political future for this election, for defeating the white nationalists and neo-conservative domination of the federal government? Where does the Sanders campaign go from here? What does the demographic analysis tell us about Super Tuesday’s results?
We are joined by Real News correspondent, Jaisal Noor, who has been covering this race for us in New Hampshire, Iowa, and Virginia. In this regard, Jaisal, good to have you with us.
Jaisal Noor: Thanks for having me.
Marc Steiner: And Marcus Ferrell joins us once again. He is the former African-American outreach director and Southeast campaign director for Bernie’s 2016 campaign, former deputy campaign manager for Stacey Abrams, former chief-of-staff for the New Georgia Project, and currently a political consultant. And now, becoming a regular here on The Real News. Good to see you, Marcus. Welcome. Welcome back.
Marcus Ferrell: Thanks for having me back, my friend.
Marc Steiner: Let’s just start with this larger question of what you walked away with from last night. I mean, when you see where this goes and the surprising surge for many that happened in the last four or five days for Biden. Let me just start with you Marcus. Give us your analysis, and we’ll turn it over to Jaisal.
Marcus Ferrell: Listen, the last 48 hours has been a complete positive whirlwind for the Biden campaign. And you have to whatever political hand, if there is a political hand, that has pushed the endorsements of Pete and Amy, first gives a testament to the campaigns that Pete Buttigieg ran and Amy Klobuchar ran. And I mean, you could always expect that if they were going to drop out the race, they will be supporting Senator Biden… I mean, Vice President Biden, no matter what. So endorsements are important. Joe Biden got Jim Clyburn two presidential campaigns to endorse him in all the key places within a short period of time. And folks say endorsements don’t matter, but they do.
So the takeaway from this is… Of course, you’re going to see a surge from the establishment candidate. They put every single bit of energy that they possibly had into making sure Biden crossed the finish line. And as of a couple of minutes ago, Bloomberg dropped out the race and said he’s endorsing Biden also. That’s $600 million worth of ad buys basically going into the Biden campaign. So if you’ve got that kind of money, that kind of other campaigns… I’m not going to sit here and push the conspiracy theory, but I will say it was a good play for the Biden campaign.
What does that mean for Bernie? Well that means Bernie’s going to have to hunker down. Nobody is going to give you a democratic socialist anything. A democratic socialist and the Democratic Party is going to have to take it. And him and his supporters are going to have to go out of their way to make sure that they fight hard for every single vote from now on and don’t have the expectation that just because we believe we’re right, which we do believe we right, that that translated into a normal average American voter… especially African-American voters wanting to go with that.
You have to tell your message to African-American voters in the language that they understand. What does Medicare for all mean for black folks? What does free college mean for black folks? And then you have to sit in these communities for a longer period of time than I think that the Sanders campaign did. So we are in interests. We are in for interesting times. Yes, there will still be a broker convention. It’s just going to be a little bit tougher for Bernie to come out of that thing, I believe. And that’s an unfortunate predicament.
Marc Steiner: Jaisal, you want to jump in here? On your way in, let me just also announce that we know about Bloomberg. And Warren has not had a Twitter feed going in the last 12 hours, which means I think she’s wrestling with, and being talked to about dropping out, would be my guess.
Jaisal Noor: Yeah, it was reported that Warren is meeting with her team and trying to discuss the path forward. Obviously, she knows she’s in a big hole as far as delegates, as far as the delegate count goes. But she said recently that she is going to continue her campaign into the convention. There is a piece in The Intercept by a Ryan Grim, co-authored by Rachel Cohen, where they interviewed members of the Working Families Party, a progressive group that’s back to Warren. They are saying that Warren’s going to stay in to the convention, to ensure the most progressive candidate can secure the nomination. Warren of course, launched her political career taking on Biden with the Bankruptcy Bill.
To add to the takeaways, I think as it has been said, the establishment really struck back. According to exit polls, a lot of the voters, the undecided voters that decided late, they overwhelmingly went for Joe Biden. We saw him win Minnesota, which was… Amy Klobuchar was in a close race with Bernie Sanders. We saw Biden win Texas, the second biggest prize. That was a state that some polls showed Bernie Sanders up. So obviously, Biden was really benefiting from the momentum created by his South Carolina win. And just the way the media really shifted the whole narrative after South Carolina, and of course the endorsements he picked up. He had Beto O’Rourke, a former candidate, who won a close… He lost a close race to Ted Cruz. He backed him up, and he was stumping for him in Texas. So there’s that.
But also looking forward, we have… This is really shaping up to be a two-part, a two-candidate race. If you look at some of the ads that Bernie Sanders released today, Biden really hasn’t been a top… a front-runner for a few weeks or even months now. If you look at the ads that Bernie just released, it looks like he’s really taking off the gloves against Joe Biden. He’s running these ads in some of the states that are voting next week, which you’re going to be key states. You remember, less than half of the voters have voted in the primary. So more than half the delegates are up for grabs. He’s going after Biden’s record on Social Security. He’s going after a Biden’s record on trade deals.
And now that you have Bernie Sanders taking on Joe Biden, which he hasn’t really attacked that much. Obviously, he calls him out on his vote on the Iraq War, something he pointed out last night in his speech. I think Bernie’s path forward really will be dependent on him taking the gloves off and really hitting Joe Biden. The media is going to have to focus more on Joe Biden too. He had to recently apologize for saying that he was arrested with the black democratic… the delegation of South Africa. Last night, he confused his wife with his sister on stage. There’s been a bunch of gaps where it seems like he can’t keep his thoughts together when he’s speaking in front of audiences. There’s a lot of stuff that I think has voters worried that Biden could be weak if he is the nominee against Trump.
Marcus Ferrell: Can I bring up something on top of that?
Marc Steiner: Very quickly, because I want to show something to… Go ahead, go ahead. Go ahead.
Marcus Ferrell: With the hit pieces, the one thing that Donald Trump is going to do to Joe Biden, is the same thing that Bernie Sanders should be thinking about doing to Joe Biden in the next couple of weeks. He probably should have done it earlier than this. There’s a big looming crime bill that Joe hasn’t answered for. And that hasn’t been put out there. African-American voters will see it. Latinx voters will see it. And it’s going to be a good way for Bernie to slide in and get one more potent hit about the realities of what Joe Biden has helped create when it comes down to the criminal justice system in this country. So I wanted to point that out, because that’s something that hasn’t been utilized, and Donald Trump will use it.
Marc Steiner: Let’s play this short clip here, because what you both just raised. What you raised, Jaisal, here. This is what happened last night, Bernie Sanders speaking. Let’s watch this first, then we’re going to watch Biden.
Bernie Sanders: One of us in this race led the opposition to the War in Iraq. You’re looking at him. Another candidate voted for the War in Iraq. One of us has spent his entire life fighting against cuts in Social Security, exploiting to expand Social Security. Another candidate has been on the floor of the Senate calling for cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and veterans’ programs. One of us led the opposition to disastrous trade agreements, which cost us millions of good paying jobs, and that’s me. And another candidate voted for disastrous trade agreements.
Marc Steiner: So that’s the battling Bernie that our guests just talked about. Now let’s watch Biden.
Joe Biden: I’m here to report, we are very much alive. And were told when it got to Super Tuesday, it would be over. Well, it may be over for the other guy. People are talking about a revolution. We started a movement, we’ve increased turnout. Our campaign reflects the diversity of this party and this nation. And that’s how it should be, because we need to bring everybody along, everybody. We want a nominee who will beat Donald Trump. But also keep Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House, win back the United States Senate. If that’s what you want, join us.
Marc Steiner: Okay, so there we have it. I mean, I think this is kind of setting up what both Marcus and Jaisal, you were just talking about in terms of what’s to come. But let’s look at what happened last night, and where Bernie lost and why, and where Biden won and why. People are talking a lot about the black and Latino votes obviously, in this race, because in the Democratic Primary, Mexican-American, Puerto Rican votes especially, mean a great deal. I mean, you can take this Latino vote and make it a giant Latino vote. That’s a lot of different kinds of folks in that vote.
But you look at those two demographics or several demographics, and you can see that we have this mythology, Marcus… About this monolithic black vote, or a monolithic Mexican-American vote, or a monolithic Puerto Rican vote. And the demographics don’t show that. They show a real divide. And it’s different depending on class and race and state. So it’s not as simple as just to say the black vote or the Latino vote, and where it’s going. I think there’s a lot inside of there that we miss, trying to do this broad stroke. Agree or disagree?
Marcus Ferrell: I agree to a certain extent. If you think about the African-American vote, if you think about younger black voters, younger black voters are going to be split a little bit more than older black voters who definitely swing over to Joe Biden. Listen, I take away this right here. You need to have a bold agenda for African-Americans, or you need to have a very long relationship with African-Americans. I think some places where the Senator might have messed up is, is not being a champion of some of the things that African-Americans were intrigued to see. Like possibly, reparations. Right? Possibly explaining what Medicare for all actually means for black voters, and sitting and sticking in South Carolina and Southern states with the message of, this is Medicare for all.
And meanwhile, I’m pushing Medicare for all. And this is what it means when Joe Biden wants to take away your Social Security. And explaining that in a language that African-Americans would understand. And that language is simple. It’s time, and it’s building the trust up. I don’t think he completely ignored the African-American community, but when I think about the amount of resources and time that you need to spend in the Southeast, it’s more than just the election period. Bernie probably should have stayed in the South from 2016 to 2020 to do that. Latinx voters are the same exact way. I mean, you have some Latinx factions that consider themselves black, if you look at Puerto Ricans and Dominicans.
Marc Steiner: Right.
Marcus Ferrell: Some of those folks vote the same exact way the black folks vote, because they identify as black first, then Puerto Ricans. So there’s no dynamic that is the same between any culture. The only thing is, you need to build up time and trust. Because black folks are the most hurt people in the history of America, and no longer trust any word that anybody just says. So instead of bringing up anything new, we will go with familiarity and we’ll go with something that we believe can trust and that is safe. And in this case and in Super Tuesday’s results, that person happened to be Joe Biden.
Marc Steiner: And if you look at the California results, Jaisal, it was interesting that the Latino vote in California and the Asian-American vote in California, which they actually analyzed, went for Sanders. What’s your analysis of all that?
Jaisal Noor: Well, I think Sanders has been an outspoken critic. If you talk to his supporters in the Latino community, he was endorsed by a lot of Latino groups. He’s been an outspoken critic of deportations in the recent years. Joe Biden, obviously he’s positioning himself as the vice president to President Obama, which gives him a huge advantage there. But it was Obama’s administration that Latinos will not forget, that deported some two to three million people during his tenure. That memory is still fresh.
A lot of the infrastructure that Trump is using in this truly horrific way was created under president Obama. So you have that. And also, at least according to recent polls, and I haven’t seen any in the last few days… But recently, Bernie Sanders was still up nationally among black voters. So I think a lot… But Biden’s vote in the Crime Bill was raised. Bernie Sanders also voted for that bill. I think it’s going to be a struggle. I think for black… I’m not going to speak for black voters. But I think for black voters, there’s a good piece in the nation actually, which pointed out that black voters are voting for the safe choice because they are facing a President Trump, who is just an out-and-out racist, a white nationalist. So they have to protect their interests. They’ve been let down by politicians for so many years.
The piece the nation pointed out that they’re not… black voters are not convinced that white voters will support this progressive agenda, which is going to be about redistributing wealth from wealthy people, which are disproportionately white, to people that are less well off. And I think the fact that Bernie Sanders hasn’t become a champion of reparations is also hurting him as well.
So let me close with this larger question, where both of you think this is going from here, and what chance does Bernie Sanders really have at this point to win the nomination? If you have a mostly established candidates gathering around Biden, if this momentum keeps up. And then what could happen if Biden becomes a nominee? What happens to all the folks who backed Bernie? Are they going to back away and not vote again, and Trump wins? And the other side is true as well. We get a lot of moderates saying, “I can’t vote for Bernie.” So there’s going to be a pitch-battle between now and November between these two men. Probably more than even Warren, unless something drastic happens for her.
So where do you both think this goes? And again, we’ll do the same order here. But I mean, Mark, let me start with you. We’ll close out with Jaisal. Marcus, I mean, you worked the Bernie campaign. You’ve been inside of politics, Jaisal’s been covering this stuff. Let’s get your analysis. Marcus, go ahead.
Marcus Ferrell: Okay. I think Bernie has an extremely good chance of still winning the nomination. And that’s because eventually if it’s a message of Bernie versus Biden and there’s nobody else, then we have an opportunity… Bernie has an opportunity to clearly identify what his message is and show the rest of America that his message is stronger… and what he believes in is stronger, and what he’s trying to do is unify the country and actually give the country an option besides the same-old, same-old. If he can manage to do that in a clear room where there’s no other candidates, meaning, if Elizabeth Warren does decide to jump out. Because if Elizabeth Warren stays in until the convention, I see the road being a very tough road to go ahead.
Also, the main thing is, if you want to see what happens with Bernie Sanders’ supporters, then the DNC better do a damn good job with making sure that that convention up in Milwaukee is clean, fair, and the media narrative is not Bernie got screwed. Because if that happens, then you’re going to see a low turnout no matter what kind of gas lighting, no matter what kind of pressuring the establishment is going to do on more progressive voters at that time. So it depends on what happens at the DNC convention, to be quite honest with you. If it’s ugly, if it’s nasty, if they’re keeping people like Nina Turner off the stage again, they’re keeping people with more progressive voices off the stage again… then you’re going to see a very disappointed group of voters that can literally give you the nomination.
Also, lastly of course, turn out. Talking to the Latino voters, talking to African-American voters in the general election. If they’re not able to do that and they can’t bring out a message that works, they’re in trouble.
Marc Steiner: Not just… Everybody is in trouble. This country’s in deep trouble if that happens. And you see Obama’s hands already on the scale. He’s talked to Buttigieg and Bloomberg, talking to Klobuchar, and they all made this decision about who they were going to back. Jaisal, your thoughts.
Jaisal Noor: So if you listen to Bernie Sanders, his campaign message, his path to victory, he said it again and again, a multiracial coalition bringing out people that don’t normally vote. His problem has been, is that turnout and increasing turnout. His problem has been so far, that hasn’t happened. We have a lot more clarity now, now with the field consolidated. We have another debate March 15th. There might be only two or three candidates on that stage if Elizabeth Warren drops out. She hasn’t indicated she’s going to do so yet. But again, if Bernie can take off the gloves and talk about Biden’s record around healthcare, around Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, he’s running those ads where Biden is bragging in his own words that he promised to cut those things… the race is really going to shape out.
I’d agree with the assessment that the DNC needs to end. Even Elizabeth Warren in 2016, Donna Brazil in 2016, said that the DNC had their finger on the scale. And so that’s right, they’re going to have to work really hard to make this a clean and transparent process. And if no candidate gets that 1,991 delegates, there’s going to have to be compromises on both sides. The thing that we haven’t talked about yet, which is definitely worth mentioning as far as a potential victory in November, is going to be voter suppression. We saw those long lines in Texas, people waiting seven or eight hours in line. Not everyone has that ability to stay in line for those hours. We know that something like two dozen states have passed restrictive voting laws. Even in places in many states where they have Republicans in control, make it harder to vote. Especially for older voters, African-American voters. I think ultimately, it’s going to come down to that. And of course, we know that the selection is going to be decided by the electoral college.
So we’re going to see if the Democrats make the same mistake in not campaigning hard enough in those states where Trump pulled out those victories. Those big swing states like Ohio, Michigan. Are they going to put forth a nominee that can really win those states, win over those working-class voters, increase turnout. I think it’s going to come down to that.
Marc Steiner: Well Jaisal Noor, great to have you on as a guest. Our correspondent here for The Real News, has been covering this election. And Marcus Ferrell, political consultant and a former both Sanders’ and Abrams’ campaign director. Good to have you with us as well. Marcus, thank you so much.
Marcus Ferrell: Awesome. Every time.
Marc Steiner: And I’m Marc Steiner here for The Real News Network. Please let us know what you think. Go to our website, send us a note. How you think this coverage is going, where you think we should be going. We want to hear from you. Take care.
Studio: Bababtunde Ogunfolaju, Will Arenas
Production: Genevieve Montinar, Will Arenas, Andrew Corkery