FiveThirtyEight Politics Podcast: The Democratic primary is no longer competitive

The crew reacts to the latest round of Democratic primary results, in which Biden far outperformed Sanders.
32:07 | 03/11/20

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Transcript for FiveThirtyEight Politics Podcast: The Democratic primary is no longer competitive
Hello and welcome to this late night primary reaction edition of the by equity politics podcast I'm Gayle injury. It's been another good night for Joseph Biden. As of the time of this recording at 1030. Have all been called for Biden Michigan was set up to be the name test of the evening a state party Sanders won in 2016. And the state with the most delegates of the evening. And as of right now at the time of this recording Biden is leading Sanders by fourteen. Points there so. As people may be able to tell on YouTube or if the audio sounds a little bit different. We are all in our own apartment that evening reporting ourselves want because it's late but also because we're testing our remote capabilities just in case. You know things were. Just in case the situation with rotavirus hires us to work remotely. We're testing out our capabilities and so here with me tonight. During that at discussing it democratic primary our editor in chief gates over the tyranny. I'm an African office. Emily no explosives resulted germs. Well your the one group or Kuwata must all work remotely. Just or about your safety. Europe Canada guys not being diseased actors for the rest of America. I guess that's a sleazy yeah all clear that's its either politics or an equivalent variant. And managing editor record Karen Perrier. Panic apologies if you can hear my dog balked at parking in the background. OK so to start things off Nate. Is the twenty Tony democratic primary over. If don't answer that question name I mean Democrats. If I have to cream yes and oh yes. And you don't have to pick between yes and now that's certainly what are our model but even before tonight. Kind of as conservatives we would like to be weaving and about it way to keep things and that is being too aggressive about about Biden. When you saw Biden get actually very big Super Tuesday balance of when you saw all this case dropped out and then all seem to help Biden. And and you see some version of those results confirmed in the actual voting tonight. I mean the problem is like. The problem is like kind of mope Eiffel effort for Bernie number one. Almost half the country assorted now and it's clearly prefer Joseph Biden to Bernie Sanders. Number two. Even if something big shifted. Its probably too late and never three. The next. Fourteen days consist of really bad states for Bernie he's gonna lose Florida is gonna lose Georgia. Even if Arizona and Illinois and Ohio are compatible you can't feel great about them or Ohio based on machine tonight. You know these are not think we're gonna gain ground most likely in so and so. You know you would have to have the something kind of outside the scope. Of normal politics almost intervene right. Something like that could happen we have to bury old candidates there is infectious disease going around the country Ratliff speculate but like but like. If he's he's too far behind. With too many bad things coming up and too many parts to be having weighed in for it to be realistic in the normal state of affairs. Disease as anybody need silver making a lot of interest cost thing. Does anybody want to know what what debate and argument against the idea that this race is what it columns cute yes or now is this race over that the answers now. Well he answers yes I mean this this makes me. I agree with me. And I found Claire what you've gone over to the dark side. I mean is so so we're recording ends at 1030 we just saw that Biden's team said he won't appear tonight. It's make a statement. Sorry yet Sanders will pick appear tonight to make a public statement I think it's interesting I don't necessarily think. It means he'll drop out but it's certainly not. Confident. In the you know the action of a confident candidate. But I also it's helpful to remembered 2016. Five to 88 became sort of the favorite target of of Brindisi and her supporters in part because of our. Relentless. Truth about the math rate the the lack of that clear mathematical path for Sanders after a certain point in the primary to the nomination. But he stayed all the way Fujian in the contest. So it was to say he won't. State for a little while longer I'd kinda have a hard time seeing him staying until June barring anything. Really out of the ordinary happening. But in others debate on Saturday. Late Saturday that can silent Sunday Sunday Sunday. Maybe he'll stay in through that I'm not sure I mean it's not it's it was certainly not a promising night at all for Sanders. So the Tenet to jump in on this first question I think I think. The right answer is not to answer it as a yes or no question and instead do what we normally do and gives probability based in terror and the answers like what are forecast says which is like it's it's. All but over its 99 what ever percent over. That said. I don't think. I'd I think we should roll out the possibility that. The race gets far mess here and fight in doesn't. I don't think it's over that Biden wins the nomination super cleanly that make sense declares point. If something happens and added debate. I can imagine things. Swinging more toward San there is not a way where he wins a majority of pledged delegates but in a way where creates a much mess here narrative. Four presumably by then going into debt. General election so in that sense I think there's still stuff to watch. All right so the argument is that he could potentially get nasty from here. You know we don't have a Bob public and tell us how Sanders as director process this information and make decisions about the future. His campaign and his political career. Due to why would the Sanders. Reasoning for wanting to do that are there. Things at this point that are either encouraging him to stay in or get out of the race. While. I think what I'd say more is that. One nerd and real serious policy disagreements between Sanders and fight and there are a real serious ideological. Disagreements between Sanders and buy them. And so there are those reasons to stay in the race more than that you know one question is what Sanders does but there's also the question of what his voters do. You know I think in general the kind of like. The story line that. Conflict in a primary well party candidate and a general election those stories tend to be overblown. But we've seen Mike really. Big fault lines in the democratic primary around. Age around gender around race now I'm. And so you know and that kind of stuff you know what to young voters do in a general election a kind of stuff could persist. Claire you're saying that Sanders wasn't aren't to appear to speak this evening it. What do you make in terms of what would encourage Sanders to stay in or get out of the race at this point. Walt won a match is he's probably talking experiences. His team and I think that there's kind of they're sure to forces at work here rate there are EC a lot of people sort of these. For lack of better phrase Twitter circuits for Sanders. Sort of saying. Not very hopeful things about his path forward. And so there's an argument he made for him dropping out which is to say. The part he should coalesce behind a candidate. Come out early units furtive you know get a lot of Biden surrogates. To appeal to lots of slots a different factions of the Democratic Party because this was. A faction some fractious primary season and so you know someone like injury Yang who I think has a lot of crossover appeal this to Sanders voters. And came out and endorsed Biden on CNN I think that's interesting I think in some like that's a potentially interesting. Surrogate for her that senior supporters kind of salting the wound. You know money owed him I think it is what went mica says which is its real ideological differences. Its the fact that Sanders. Doesn't have the seem. Guilty to the Democratic Party that the other farmer 20/20 candidates who have dropped out now endorsed Biden. Do you have a so I mean it's it's it's. It's a I think it's sort of pragmatism verses you know the principled stance right now that's as that's the decision he sort of looking at. Nate Marie or I mean okay. The problem for Joseph Biden he's mean to come for Bernie Sanders is that like this could get pretty embarrassing. If you protect forward after Georgia. And then you have Puerto Rico which is increasing state and that's gonna go that you have Wisconsin since it's like that you Kansas and no Hawaii and Alaska. But let's think it was Boston tonight which does not report any results for the time that we are recording us right. That's hurts get pretty embarrassing Washington to be one of the best states on the map for Bernie Sanders. He's gonna lose Florida probably by thirty or forty points right what if he loses. Arizona and now it seems like oh this Hispanic permit coalition is enough for me. So there are some issue of like look this race is not his closest when he sixteen. 2016. You could kind of project were always there's a big shift involve a block its close fight. Joseph Biden is winning and all these placing Hillary Clinton lost a burning in 2016. It's a much more robust map. And so bears the risk of like. Bernie Sanders damaging his movement but by. Staying in too long and losing. You know. 28 of the remaining 31 states or something right. And meanwhile damaging potentially Biden has voted with this between sixteen and therefore further hurting his reputation. And the movement I mean I don't know right. You know I I I I kind of wonder like. If it were the west wing or something right. In. I don't know Benji Dunn say. Hey look you know. I will drop out now but I a gifted kick your VP year so the writer consultant your VP. What's that Clare. Lawler kept putting it involving a month after tonight act with its. Justin Fed's inning Aaron Sorkin as consultant to unite the picnic picnic at. So let me let me jump in then that in a somewhat more serious way which is when Nate said about the Sanders has future the future of his movement. End of the key question is interesting just because at that has now I think as Nate says this could start to get embarrassed thing. And you have to sort of wonder sand is really has built this. You know not a winning coalition. We've seen in and I am. But it but a coalition and a big one and and I think it is fair to call the movement and select what happens. To that. And how distinct is the Sanders. Movement. From verse just a progressive wing of the party those are obviously may be questions for our turner a later today but. But I think those are now on the table and given Biden's performance tease tonight. Nate you just brought up the fact that this recent looking to be. Less competitive than the 2016 primary which we yet 538 must Anderson's podcast will remember. Said was not particularly competitive. What is it about Biden's call election or Sanders weaknesses. Debt is meet gain this election. Now competitor. Biden's a man. That was Mike it and that was not made. Biden is winning. The rural. Mostly white counties also liberal most of my company's. You know look at the maps Biden is gonna win. He's winning all but two counties. In Michigan right now all but one county which is a college Tony in Missouri. Every counting on surprisingly Mississippi. I mean it's like kind of if you go at least west of the Ares to Mississippi like a kind of clean. Biden sweep right he run rural Maine for example. Heck actually even in Vermont unit Vermont Bernie Sanders got only cornucopia for the though he actually won Vermont by less than Biden won in Virginia. CEMEX S do with. Biden vs Hillary how much has to do with Clinton. Are the 2016 version of Bernie Mercer point when Ebert because he has. Move to his left on cultural issues being a much more kind of like. What campaign right and people might anything go before burning was like kind of you know. Not that different of the campaign expired but what I don't I don't think voters absorb it as a particularly different campaign from 2016 I think it's it's expanded its. Its efforts with. Like black voters for instance it's as much better than it did 26 team but I don't think your average American voter. Sees. A great deal of difference between the Bernie Sanders trying sixteen to 20/20 campaigns. I would like see some polling on that. But you know we're like. May well also be you know like it's hard to portray Joseph Biden is a figure of the establishment he kinda has this comeback reputation. Now it's hard to shake off at least for the first couple of weeks after that occurs. He gives people kind of warm Fuzzy memories of Obama. I guess I mean look we're credit. Dancing around the fact that like. This election's been consistent with an interpretation of events where by Hillary. Was an underperforming candidate. And accusing under performing access allows for multiple lanes of interpretation ranging from. She's a woman people are ready for that. Team he just isn't likable woman is her fault. I don't know right way to media covered her whatever pops is that you want to write spotlight but surely the most thing that jumps out is like toy sixteen was more about. Clinton's weakness than standards and strength number one and number two. Sanders kind of assume that hey we're gonna kind of take we have less time and build on it. For our analysis about 20% of his voters last time or people who were just never Clinton voters and they're the ones who have. Fled to either Biden and a voting use that part of the coalition and all of a sudden you don't have that strong. Constituency. Show. Did it the entire Democratic Party. And maybe the broader media to just misjudged what happened in 2016. Because after Hillary Clinton lost the race. You know. Nancy Pelosi Chuck Schumer a lot of the Democrats added a running for president. All rallied around Sanders and kind of put him front and center in front of the cameras and you know saw him as helping them chart a path forward in. Our unit trumps America its outer are. Was is all based on. In an assessment of the 2016. Election. On. Well in politics. Or political media has an email last longer than four years right. And people endlessly in political media beat themselves up. Over uncertain outcomes in the evening quirky and say no now the new lessons apart so that left as the senate Democratic Party. Which is not a let's not look very couldn't when he teen for example so I kind of blame like. Media coverage that was very and I just need to covers also within the party that was very nearsighted. The fixate on one interpretation. That apply in one election that Clinton won anyway the nomination. And you know didn't look at the kind of broader sweep of history which says that actually probably. Is helpful to be the candidate who is most aligned with the kind of media and Indiana voter. Ice. I think this is bin. Though the wait that the senators. We talked about this before but the weight of the senators who ran for president position themselves. Seemed to be a fundamental misreading of how liberal the democratic base was. And so. You know six months ago seven months ago when people are scoffing at Biden's. Both sort of present to let presentation a sort of a moderate not super PC guy with kind of a moderate record. People are like this he's totally out of step of the Democratic Party and their campaign kept on saying. Their whole line was you know. Traditional relay for probable. We're doing fine it turned out to be true right days sort of just it's to eat it weathered the summer of of racial controversies with Biden. Got through it. You saw Pete that a judge sort of the blank slate of the campaign moved from a sort of more progressive position candidate to be more of a moderate lane. Candidate and I connected it was interesting because it seemed to be a recognition from a candidate who could give it and decided he would. That that it need political sense to do so and I and I kind of wonder if some of the senators. Art kicking themselves seven months later saying he actually misjudge things. Yeah I think I think that's totally right I think this declares right to point is senators but I guess I I don't think. Sanders. Falling short again in 220 and validates. The story line up kind of a rising liberal talk about it all in the Democratic Party right at night I'm we have plenty of evidence to show. That that's true and real. OI what do you mean this is like a pretty bad result for the last. What could not show her party has become the voters is in the party. Or the past decade of increasingly identified as. Liberal or very liberal not end here. Maybe then he needed him out of his lines Barbara Hillary Clinton but Clinton also limiting anyone else and if you're cherry picking. Well if you're taking just these the primary presidential primary results that also ignores the past decade of of you know. Of those numbers from voters and people could be doing and probably are doing some pragmatic voting which doesn't necessarily represent their ideological interest right because we've. We've had democratic voters from the very beginning say that they want someone who can beat trump. Before they want some and who shares their ideology perfectly. Fight I think that's toderat think it's it's one of the simplest explanations. The simplest explanation of the primary is that the V. The most liberal wing of the Democratic Party is not a majority. That can be simultaneously true width. The liberal wing of the Democratic Party as has grown in in recent years I think it's also true that. You know. Okay exit polls some might say one thing more general national poll and another thing but just like look at how congress. Has behaved and voted and spoke in. Over you know how that has changed over the past decade act I don't think it's really in doubt that. That the party has grown more liberal biting himself. Has shifted to the last over the last over this past couple years you know from the Hyde amendment and so on to like ot. In the in the same spirit of what Nate set up like. A lot of the misunderstandings. And the Democrat Democratic Party and electorate came from miss learning in over learning and over correcting. From past elections like let's not go crazy in this moment and be like oh you know actually the parties not gotten more love. They're like people bent over backward. I mean I think are really amazing things about what Sanders has done. Including being a real. Multiracial coalition of younger voters on the left write an age thing is significant but like. But what he's going to wind up. Probably lose in this primary pretty badly I mean I think I think. This is turned into the and we'll see what happens next week but. Potentially turn to such a landslide so quickly that like this is really bad for Bernie you might only win like four or five states. Against the candy you and we have been one of the place that we'll say that pay Joseph Biden is overlooked and underrated he's also not. Second coming of Ronald Reagan or Brack Obama as a politician right. Your losing to like it'd kind him. Competent generic. Democrat right like that's not. Good for Bernie it's not. I mean if he were winning if we were trading punches and winning Michigan. And winning Texas rate you lose the nomination by hundred delegates are so that's a different story than what might wind up happening this year. It's an interesting question I mean I had am. I ahead. A conversation a couple weeks ago with someone who used. You know an activist and strategist on the progressive left. And I said something to the effect of I think Bernie Sanders will probably we'll probably look back and think of him as one of the more important. You know political figures. Did in a couple generations and he said that a little but that. So I mean that's that's kind of maybe what what Nate is sort of tonight you know march 10 sort of thinking about must not miss it you're making that declaration. But. Yeah I'm sure at you know I take your point that people will will be. Looking at the legacy of Sanders. Yes now I feel like I mean I do like the legacies gonna be very significant and he maybe it had more influence on. On American politics in the past five years of anybody not named Donald Trump. But look. The senator's campaign very pointedly and Gary deliberately. Felt like I mean literally like a back to like the rally as Ellington that I and in New Hampshire electorate like we did anyone else were big enough we shot to turner voters out right. Establishment and the almost like. Brady used F word like literally in the manner that he was like kind of trolling the Asselta for not being able to get its act together. Which is kind of not attrition weighty win nomination there's like a little bit of like. A flying too close to the sun thing right let's but I don't know right. Like I come sprinters at the left is a a sizable let me mica said this we're all agree it guys looked as a sizable but not majority part. On the coalition there for you have to find out ways to reach out to people might be sympathetic to parts of your agenda or your candidacy. And they haven't focused on that. Very much. And Elizabeth Warren kind of try to acute other problems to do so I mean that's it's kind of combination of Sanders a strategy seemingly failing. And Warren strategy kind of failing that like would be a little bit. Worrying to me if I were on the left. So Nate you mentioned exit polls and also when we've been talking about Vick coalition of Biden vs what's advertised. A lot of the commentary. In the past two weeks has revolved around you know whether or not. Biden is attracting voters who used to be case sick for. Jeb Bush Republican primary voters in suburban areas. And polls or in some of these open primaries of course you can have independence war even Republican voters. Vote on the democratic side so how different is the electorate in this primary compared way of 2006. Team. Is it. The same electorate to begin with like is that another complication in comparing the two elections. So I think gets I think Nate correct me if a minor back I think gets in in some of these states and obviously depends on the state and what kind of prime minister it has but I think in a lot of these states. It's been wider. More independent leaning more moderately -- because where there are open primaries says not a competitive Republican election. And so that does use. Change change the baseline electorate although Sanders does better with independents so. That's not a bad thing for him either it in this state senate let independence. But I know I think I think that misses the forest for the trees some I saw him trying to find that I saw some and Somalis throwing around the stat. That. Non college educated white voters in Missouri. Swung 55 points. Away from San there is between 2016. And 20/20 I'm. I'm looking at are looking at exit polls and among white men Micah yeah that's the but whiteman Missouri. In 201661%. Sanders 30% Clinton in 20/20. It's there at 49% Biden 45% Sanders. Yes I was looking at. A note from crying Ryan struck who's at CNN now I'm and he was pointing to white men with a college degree. In Missouri so in 2016 at similar and 2016 it was 64 Sanders 36 Clinton. In twenty twining it was sixty died in 33 Sanders. I got that good right man win a college degree. Yet with a college degree sorry yeah area. That's with a college degree and not without a college degree. But I think I can act I can try to pull up nine college numbers or some else talks but like I think. I think you can't I think we already knew that it big chunk of Sanders his coalition in 26 team. Was more about never Hillary. Then about Sanders and I think we knew that a big part of that never Hillary coalition was about gender. I think. Tonight's results the Super Tuesday results like to me is the common nail in the coffin of any counter argument against that I'm not sure there weren't a lot. But I don't know hot. I think that that has to just be a huge explanation. For part. The reason Biden as outperforming Sanders an all these places. I'm sorry Biden is outperforming. Clinton in all of these places and I would go to an explanation like that. Well before I I. I checked out the list to something like well there's not a republic competitive Republican primaries this year although I'm sure that that's a fact or you know. Are well it's starting to get weak here and we've. Almost you know started reflecting more on that primary overall than we have on. Tonight's results but looking ahead to Washington and Idaho North Dakota. Nate what do we expect. Out of voters races can we say much at this point -- the polls are. Closing just now in Washington. You may know what happens there we don't know is a recording us. Our model had. Sanders. As they narrow underdog in Washington. A somewhat bigger underdog in Idaho. Actually decently size underdog in North Dakota. Do you North Dakota and Idaho really matter of mean elect Idaho tonight's state record podcasting when time. Go boys see. They're now there are delegates but Washington might be a state where like where like if Sanford leaves Washington. Which in our demographic ranking disposed of like that fourth or fifth best state. In the country for him. Then. You might. C culture would get out I don't know I think I mean it's kind of discussion we're having right is there are some miracle brings it back to life. OK you can have a conversation. But otherwise like. That kind of this conversation about like how one's gonna continue. The the Washington State. Exit poll I guess it's it's a telephone pole net. Yet the telephone poll the exit poll had. Biden up a little larger than it would have thought but also have like Elizabeth Warren getting a bunch of votes than like yeah I'm not totally sure that. You treated any more than like a high quality phone poll that had Biden had much to which the other polls that anyway. But you know but still I mean that's a place that Bernie really should mean even with this new. Coalition and not that we've seen coalition. Do you think his campaign is waiting for the Washington results to decide whether and a spin on it I think it's pretty inauspicious that he is not. Speaking tonight via. What. He's also how old is pretty when Richard get this right Cindy original. You missed 38 year old person. Who at a severe medical condition last year. Who has been crowding around the country working extremely vigorous schedule. Going to rallies where he is. Literally in contact with thousands of people at a time when you have the epidemic. Disease outbreak right and probably most of drugs to be shut down but like but at some point it's like okay is Bernie like. Gonna take risks to it on his health bite campaigning for. There's probably wouldn't take those risks the book canceled rallies in Ohio tonight. Is a campaign no longer. Feel less fulfilling if you're not able to because these rallies are really pretty impressive things right. They are really kind of like a literally almost like produce like rock concerts or something and like you can imagine that like Bernie you're seeing all these are people of different races. Listen to him and like it's got to be really fulfilling. But he can't have that if you want to have a you're pretty your help terrorists and like that's certainly a reason to it to. To maybe leave when you would stay if not for corona virus. All right well. We will find out soon enough what the future of Sanders as campaign looks like we're gonna leave things better for now they today. Thank you doing. They declare. Pink skin. And thank you Micah. Thank you. My name is Gail and drip Tony chow is in the virtual control room this evening you can get in touch right emailing us at podcast at 530 dot com. It also of course greeted us with questions or comments. If you're a fan of the show Vivus or reading a review in the apple podcast store or tell someone about us. Thanks for listening and policies. I.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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