Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar announced she is ending her presidential bid Monday with less than 24 hours until the nationwide contests on Super Tuesday where more than a third of the Democratic delegates will be decided.
In declaring her exit, the campaign confirmed that Klobuchar will be flying to Dallas on the eve of the biggest day of the Democratic primary to endorse former Vice President Joe Biden on stage in the prize state of Texas slated to vote on Tuesday.
Klobuchar’s decision came one day after former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg also dropped out of the race on Sunday, though Buttigieg has yet to make an endorsement.
The two candidates survived after strong performances in Iowa and New Hampshire, but plummeted after subsequent contests in Nevada and South Carolina, where Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders captured the western caucus in a blow out and former Vice President Joe Biden took the first southern primary by a similar margin.
Klobuchar and Buttigieg’s removal from the race however, is no small feat, as each candidate garnered nearly 15 percent support collectively in RealClearPolitics’ latest aggregate of polls.
Their decisions to leave the race now liberates a game-changing amount of supporters to be eagerly claimed by the few remaining candidates seeking to clinch the nomination in their absence.
‘Moderates’ Coalesce To Stop Sanders
In the New Hampshire Democratic debate on Feb. 8, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos asked the candidates if any of them were concerned about having a self-identifying socialist lead the Democratic ticket as Sanders appeared to be emerging as the new frontrunner. Only Klobuchar raised her hand on the stage of seven candidates. She warned that nominating a far-left senator would alienate centrist voters.
“Donald Trump’s worst nightmare is a candidate that will bring people in from the middle,” Klobuchar said, arguing that someone like Sanders would push people out.
Klobuchar will now endorse Biden after the former vice president’s earth-shattering win in South Carolina has breathed new life into his drowning campaign to stop Sanders from running away with the nomination.
On Sunday, CNN reported that while Buttigieg has yet to make an endorsement, the former midwestern mayor cited his own desire to keep Sanders from reaching an “insurmountable” delegate lead on Super Tuesday as a reason for dropping out.
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is now the remaining wild-card “moderate” in the race who has sharply cautioned the Democratic Party from getting behind socialism, citing Biden’s fallout and Sanders’ rise as reasons for getting into the contest in the first place.
“I can’t think of a ways that we make it easier for Donald Trump to get re-elected than to listen to this conversation. This is ridiculous,” Bloomberg charged during his February debate debut in Las Vegas. “We’re not going to throw out capitalism. We tried that. Other countries tried that. It was called communism, and it just didn’t work.”
Depending on how Bloomberg does Tuesday, the New York billionaire could see little reason to stay in the race considering his presence could hamper Biden’s revival as the best chance to stop Sanders.
Buttigieg And Klobuchar Exit Could Prolong Primary, Boost Bloomberg
To the contrary of their intended effect to help Biden, Klobuchar and Buttigieg leaving the race could bolster Bloomberg just enough to siphon off increasingly scarce delegates in Tuesday’s primaries that would otherwise go to Biden.
Professor Jacob Neiheisel at the University of Buffalo, an expert in political behavior and elections told The Federalist that at this point, voters are likely narrowed down to two clusters. One was either “probably a Bloomberg/Biden person or a Sanders/Warren person,” Neihasel said.
Though voters don’t often remain in the ideological lanes carved out by candidates and the media, beating Trump is a top priority, and Biden and Bloomberg each tap into the anxieties of Democratic voters worried over what nominating a self-proclaiming socialist would do to the party’s chances of winning this fall.
In this year’s primary, no state is a winner-take-all contest, opening the door for lower-performing candidates to win proportionately allocated delegates if they meet the 15 percent statewide threshold for at-large delegates, or a 15 percent threshold in congressional districts for district-level delegates.
Bloomberg might not capture a first-place win anywhere on Tuesday, but he is polling just two points above or two points below the magic number of 15 percent in several key states. In RealClearPolitics’ latest aggregate of state surveys, Bloomberg is averaging at 13 percent in California, little more than 13 percent in Massachusetts, 16 percent in North Carolina, nearly 17 percent in Texas, and 17 percent in Virginia.
If enough supporters bounce to Bloomberg, it could strip Biden of vital delegates and prevent each from reaching the 1,991 of the 3,979 needed to fend off a contested convention in Milwaukee.
As of Monday, Sanders leads with 60 delegates to Biden’s 53.