Reflecting on Super Tuesday 2020 | New Hampshire Public Radio

Reflecting on Super Tuesday 2020

Mar 4, 2020

Analysis and reflecting following Super Tuesday voting in fourteen states and one U.S. territory. More than 1,300 delegates — about a third of the total — are decided on Super Tuesday, more than on any other day in the primary election.  We examine the impact of huge states like California and Texas, and discuss results out of  Massachusetts, home state of Senator Elizabeth Warren and former Governor Bill Weld, whose primary challenge against President Trump continues.  

Air Date: Weds., March 4, 2020

GUESTS:

  • Rachel Bitecofer - Senior Fellow, at Niskanen Center in  D.C.; Assistant Director of the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University, where she teaches political science. 
  • Anthony Brooks - Senior political reporter, WBUR Boston.
  • Dante Scala - Professor of Political Science at the University of New Hampshire and a fellow at the Carsey School of Public Policy.

Transcript

  This is a machine-generated transcript and will contain errors. 

Laura Knoy:
I'm Laura Knoy and this is The Exchange. Delegate math is the name of the game now in the Democratic presidential primary. After 14 states and one U.S. territory voted in a giant Super Tuesday set of primaries and one caucus, the delegate numbers can't be considered final until California comes in. But what we can say is Joe Biden had a great night and won a lot of states. Well, Bernie Sanders appears poised to gain many delegates in California. Meanwhile, on the GOP side, Republican Bill Weld had a poor showing in his bid to challenge President Donald Trump. Today on The Exchange, Super Tuesday results and your reactions to them. We have two guests for this first part of our show. Joining us from D.C. is Rachel Bitecofer. She's an election forecaster and a senior fellow at the Niskanen Center in D.C. And Rachel, really nice to have you. Thank you for being with us.

Rachel Bitecofer:
Well, thank you so much for having me.

Laura Knoy:
And joining us from UNH is Dante Scala. He's a professor of political science at UNH and a fellow at the Carsey School of Public Policy. And Dante, good to have you, too. Thank you very much.

Dante Scala:
You're welcome. Good morning, Laura.

Laura Knoy:
Well, and Dante, lots to sum up, many states all over the map. What's your broad reaction first, Dante?

Dante Scala:
Broad reaction is whiplash in terms of how this process turned on a dime just over the last several days. We went from Bernie Sanders being the frontrunner with a chance to at least keep it close in the decisive South Carolina primary or perhaps even win to Joe Biden winning by 30 points in South Carolina and then the moderate wing of the party. You know, the moderate candidates of the party consolidating behind Biden, withdrawing, throwing their support to Biden. And with the results being last night where we saw across the south, Joe Biden racking up victories, including the state of Texas, where Sanders was widely regarded, you know, last week to be in the driver's seat there and left. And importantly, Biden's success even went as far as Maine and Massachusetts.

Laura Knoy:
Well, and Joe Biden barely had a campaign in some of these states, Dante. But he won anyway.

Dante Scala:
Yeah. This is a really. Yeah, it was a really good example of how campaign organization doesn't matter. Yeah, maybe on the margins. Does paid advertising matter? Perhaps somewhat. But what really matters is being the candidate with momentum at just the right time and gaining all of that free media. And Joe Biden had the really he had the 72 hours from South Carolina to Super Tuesday. He had the 72 hours of his political life.

Laura Knoy:
Well, we'll talk a little bit later about. You mentioned campaign advertising. All that money that Michael Bloomberg spent on Super Tuesday didn't yield very much for him. But you're right, it's a remarkable turnaround. And I want to play for both of you just a little bit of Joe Biden speaking to supporters in California last night, rejoicing in this newfound momentum report.

News clip:
We are very much alive. Make no mistake about it. This campaign will send Donald Trump packing. This campaign is taking off. People are talking about a revolution. We started a movement. We may increase turnout. The turnout's turned out for us!

Laura Knoy:
Again, that's Joe Biden speaking last night in California, sounding pretty excited. Rachel, what's your big reaction from last night? What's the big takeaway for you?

Rachel Bitecofer:
Yeah. So it's been a great a great night and a cycle now for the negative partisanship model and for this idea that what's really driving the structural, you know, system here is is backlash to Donald Trump and not to take anything away from the campaigns of Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, the other impressive candidates in this field. But the electorate's responding to the very different circumstances of 2020, where Donald Trump is an incumbent. He's not a hypothetical. That's actually a far off hypothetical. Now he's in office and the electorate is extremely risk adverse. So I am not surprised at all to see this massive course correction. I think the the appetite for disorder and revolution and chaos is much lower in the electorate now in 2020 after having lived under it for three years. And so I'm not surprised at all to see the electorate really realigning itself in a risk averse way under a very stable and moderate Joe Biden.

Laura Knoy:
Interesting. And were there any states, Rachel, in particular, that you were watching or were you sort of just looking at the big picture?

Rachel Bitecofer:
You know, after the South Carolina comeback, I expected Biden was going to have a much better night than we had been, you know, anticipating when it looked like Bernie was doing very well there after his wins. And, you know, New Hampshire and the performance in Iowa, Nevada. So far, what I thought was the most likely scenario was for Biden to come out with not much of a delegate disadvantage. And, you know, as soon as the Virginia polls closed and they were able to call the race, I knew right away it was going to be a much different environment that potentially we're all going to be looking at Biden dominating the night and coming out with a delegate lead. Ultimately, the California votes may end up pushing Sanders back into the lead. But I think they're going to be so close that it will be inconsequential. And as we move into these next contest, Biden could have a huge advantage. These next contests are much more favorable. And given that Sanders lost states like Oklahoma and, you know, states like Minnesota, Massachusetts, those are just it's not a good sign for him going forward.

Laura Knoy:
Well, and so far, this is what I have from the Associated Press with 76 percent of precincts reporting in California. So it's not finished yet. But it does reflect what you just said, Rachel, that so far and, again, this is preliminary, Sanders seems to have 72 delegates to Biden's 21 so far in California. So it'll be close. Then we'll see. Some of these states haven't completely finished their counting yet. How about you, Dante, were there moments or states where you like Rachel thought, OK, this is going to be a good night for for Joe Biden?

Dante Scala:
Well, certainly, you know, Virginia coming in so strongly was one thing. But then to see that duplicated again and again across the south. And, you know, Rachel mentioned, you know, that risk averse voters. And that's really important. And the most prominent, I think, risk averse group over the last week are African-American voters, especially in the South. And they proved to be the real kingmakers in the Democratic Party, not Iowa, where Joe Biden finished out of the money. Not New Hampshire, where Joe Biden finished out of the money. But African-American voters proved to be decisive in saying, look, we need a moderate alternative to Bernie Sanders and we're going to make a decisive voice for that one candidate, and then it was just remarkable how all the other dominoes fell into place. Once African-Americans spoke so loudly and clearly and no one was expecting that a week or so ago. But when they did, everybody listened.

Laura Knoy:
Wow. Interesting. So risk averse, Dante. Rachel, I'll throw this to you, means basically these voters, no matter what their position on particular issues, from education to health care to housing, their number one priority is getting rid of this president. So they are averse to anything that might seem risky. Is that what you're saying, Rachel?

Rachel Bitecofer:
Yes. And let's be clear. I mean, nominating somebody who is an actual socialist is about as risky as you can get. I mean, Sanders, had he been the nominee, would have been the most ideologically extreme nominee put forward by a party since the Barry Goldwater nomination in the 60s. And we're talking about, you know, I think there actually had been quite a appetite in the electorate still for a very liberal platform and a very Liberal candidate. So ultimately, I think that Sanders is just a as a bridge too far because of the socialist label. And I think, you know, with risk aversion, you know, that's just you know, I think many, many Democrats, rank and file Democrats, I'm not talking about party elites here, I'm talking about voters saw that as as a potential weakness that they just could not ignore.

Laura Knoy:
Wow, well Sanders supporters would certainly take issue with what you just said, Rachel, saying, you know, we need a full revolution here, you know? No sort of half measures. But you as somebody who forecasts and looks at the data are saying uh-uh.

Rachel Bitecofer:
Well, yeah as an expert in public opinion and the distribution of the American electorate. I mean, keep in mind what we're looking at now is the manifestation of that segment, not even be able to exert a plurality or a majority of the Democratic Party electorate, let alone the American electorate. And, you know, people end up tending to see the world through their own preferences, in their own lens. So it doesn't surprise me that very Liberal Bernie Sanders supporters have a view of the world in which they want more people to share their viewpoints. But in the polling, it's quite clear that Medicare for all, abolishing student loans are not policies that enjoy robust support. Even here in Virginia, in which the electorate is decisively center left and robustly in support of other liberal agenda items like gun control, I found very, very tepid support for those policies.

Laura Knoy:
Well, Senator Sanders last night spoke to supporters in Vermont, making the case against what you and others have said, Rachel, that he he, not Joe Biden, is the best equipped with that electability factor. He's the best equipped, he said, to bring Democrats to victory in November. Let's hear.

News clip:
You cannot beat Trump with the same old same old kind of politics. What we need is a new politics that brings working class people into our political movement, which brings young people into our political movement. And which in November will create the highest voter turnout in American political history.

Laura Knoy:
Again, that's Senator Bernie Sanders speaking to supporters last night. Today on The Exchange, we are looking at the results from Super Tuesday, recognizing that these results are not final. So, Dante, there you had it from Senator Sanders saying, no, no, I have the electability factor. Look at this big, big coalition that I have managed to put together.

Dante Scala:
Yeah, well, I mean, that's the other story, besides Joe Biden's great success in the last 72 hours, is Bernie Sanders' failure to build a majority coalition within the Democratic Party. He hasn't been able to. You know, he does have a base, that's for certain. We saw that in New Hampshire a few weeks ago and we saw that last night. You know, young voters, very progressive voters, Latino, Latino voters and so forth. That's true. But that's not enough to win a majority of delegates for the Democratic convention. And so now what we're seeing is that Biden is building a coalition of his own among African-American voters. Yes. But also, we saw last night college educated whites who live in suburban areas like around Virginia, for example, where Rachel is and in other places as well. And we also saw that in New Hampshire. Remember a few weeks ago, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar did very well in densely populated suburban areas of New Hampshire, and Bernie Sanders did not do well. Sanders has failed to build to convince those voters to get on board with him. And as a result, he's got a faction of the party supporting him, but not a majority.

Laura Knoy:
Got a couple e-mails here I'd like to share with both of you. Alex in Epsom says, The primary cycle so far has shown how outdated and broken the current nomination system is. This long, drawn out cycle has done nothing for the Democratic Party besides validate what the polls were showing months ago and drive deep and bitter divisions in the electorate. The party ought to disperse, excuse me, dispense of these many small contests and switch to a national same day primary with ranked choice or approval voting. Alex also says the New Hampshire Democratic Party needs to be ready to run its own primary in 2024 because there's zero chance the DNC will allow Iowa and New Hampshire to go first. Alex, thank you so much. And Rachel, any comment from you on what these results last night mean for New Hampshire? And I guess Iowa, too, even though, you know, our primary ran a lot better than their caucuses.

Rachel Bitecofer:
It sure did. Right now, you can call it the stunted cousin there. Right. So the. Yeah. Here's the thing with the national primary idea, as attractive as it is, we would see many more of Joe Biden nominations than anything else in a system like that. Because ultimately, I mean, really, what we're seeing with Biden are two things. Number one. I mean, we just cannot ignore my research argument about negative partisanship and Trump and this like really unique time period that we're living in is a huge factor of how Biden was able to overcome having no resources in any of these Super Tuesday states and still dominating the way that he did. But ultimately, what we see in these primaries is the same story play out year after year. People who come in with high name I.D. at the beginning tend to win in the end. Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Mitt Romney, Joe Biden. And in a national system winner, everybody went on the same day, that condition would be even more pronounced because the rare occasion where someone like Barack Obama manages to come in and kind of watch, you know, for the system would basically be eliminated.

Laura Knoy:
Alex, thanks for writing in. And here's another one from Bob that I really want to share with you. Bob says, Bernie has massive support, the largest mix of demographics and overwhelming support by the largest voting bloc in the country, independents. Bob says no one talks about the insane amount of suspicious election manipulation in 2016, such as exit poll discrepancies in the double digits when 2 percent is highly suspicious of election fraud. This is Bob talking, not me. Bob says Biden has rallies that are dwarfed by Bernie's and he was all but a lost cause. And then all of a sudden he grabbed states like Massachusetts and Texas that had overwhelmingly supported Bernie. Bob says, I just feel the lack of transparency and the lack of trust in the DNC makes it hard to believe this isn't just another robbery of the American people. Bob, thank you so much. And you know, Dante, the last time Senator Sanders supporters had real concerns with the way that delegates were chosen and it was confusing. There were major changes made in the delegate process because of those concerns last time around. But here's my question for you, Dante, based on what Bob wrote and Bob, thank you so much. How much do you expect Sanders supporters to continue to distrust the process, even though the senator did make some, you know, successfully, some pretty big changes in that process?

Dante Scala:
Well. No one likes losing. And when a campaign loses there there can be a lot of finger pointing either as a candidate or as a political party itself.You know, all of that happens and it will be an interesting test going forward whether Biden will be able to unite the party, including a lot of Sanders supporters, you know, and I'm sure there will be a hard core of Sanders support. You know, perhaps Bob is one of those who will would not be reconciled ever to abide nomination. That said, I mean, you know, these primaries have taken place, that they haven't been run by the DNC. Right. They're being run by states just like New Hampshire with government officials running things and so forth. And it just important to keep in mind that, as I mentioned earlier, primaries can turn on a dime. And the fact is that there was evidence as early as New Hampshire that an awful lot of voters wanted an alternative to Bernie Sanders. And they just could not agree on who that should be. And South Carolina helped to clarify things. And then in addition, candidates got other candidates, Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg, out of the way and gave voters a pretty clear choice on Super Tuesday. So. But nonetheless, there's going to have to be you know, there's there's a lot more primaries to go. And the question will be whether all of this action divides the party or at least that Sanders wing of the party and causes people to stay home. But there was an equal chance that a lot of suburban voters were going to be turned off by the prospect of a Sanders Trump election.

Laura Knoy:
And Rachel Bitecofer, I know you've got a action packed day today, and I understand we have to let you go. We really appreciate you being with us this morning.

Rachel Bitecofer:
Oh, yes. Thank you. It's a pleasure to join you.

Laura Knoy:
We'll talk to you again.

Laura Knoy:
All right. Thank you.

Laura Knoy:
That's Rachel Bitecofer. She's an election forecaster and a senior fellow at the Niskanen Center in D.C.. You're listening to The Exchange on New Hampshire Public Radio. Dante, here's another email. This is Alan in Durham who says it'll be very interesting to see if the next several rounds of primaries continue the trend of Tuesday, especially since none of the pivotal, decisive states which will decide who wins the big prize in November, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Florida, even voted yesterday. Alan, it's a great point. I'd love your thoughts, Dante, on sort of where these candidates, this small group of candidates go from here.

Dante Scala:
Right. I mean, Alan's absolutely right. And I think that this nomination will be decided, especially in those Midwestern states like Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio. You know, those are places what we've seen so far is that Sanders doesn't do very well in southern states. He does better up north, and so the Midwest is not only has general election implications, but also that's a place where Biden needs to prove that he can win in the industrial Midwest. You know, throw Pennsylvania in there as well. Florida looks like it would be a very good state for Joe Biden. A lot of older Democratic voters there and a lot of Florida voters may have been turned off by Sanders comments, for instance, about, you know, Fidel Castro and the virtues of the Cuban regime and all that sort of thing. But those are those are key events coming forward, no doubt.

Laura Knoy:
Yeah. And everybody's going to be looking at the Midwest. Well, as this campaign continues, we will hear both of these candidates making the case that they are the ones that are the most electable. And we'll be looking more at the delegate numbers, too. Why is this delegate process so confusing, Dante? Why did Democrats do it this way?

Dante Scala:
Well, they're doing it because they have an emphasis on fairness, meaning proportionality and whereas Republicans are more open to having so-called winner take all contests where if a candidate wins a plurality of the vote, they get all of the state's delegates, Democrats are more proportional. It works in terms of winner taking most or plurality of the delegates, but not all of them. And that works not only statewide, but by congressional district as well. Hence the complications than the long delays sometimes in calculating delegate, so forth.

Laura Knoy:
Ok. So it's a longer process. We will talk more after a very short break. Stay with us. This is The Exchange on New Hampshire Public Radio

Laura Knoy:
This is The Exchange. I'm Laura Knoy. Today, it's a recap and analysis of results from Super Tuesday, where the delegate count stands. What's next on the map for these Democratic candidates? Dante Scala, professor of political science at UNH and a fellow at the Carsey School of Public Policy there. And Dante, here's an email that came in from Terry who says, this is a repeat, this meaning Joe Biden surging and winning a lot yesterday. This is a repeat of last election with Democrats picking someone they are not very excited about for fear if they choose someone with new ideas, they will lose against Trump. Well, Terry asks, who is president now? Like I did last election when I voted for Clinton, I will sadly drag myself to the polls and vote for Biden if he is the Democratic choice. But if Bernie is the Democratic nominee, Terry says, I will vote for him with joy and hope. Terry, thank you very much for joining us with that comment. It sounds similar to what we heard from Bob before the break. What do you think, Dante?

Dante Scala:
Yeah, I mean, there's a there were a lot of candidates, including a lot of new faces. When we started this a year ago, more than a year ago now, and there was, you know, a lot of thought and I was among them who thought perhaps the Democrats will go for a new face, a more exciting face, a less familiar face than Joe Biden or perhaps, you know, Bernie Sanders as well. It's really striking to me how persistent Sanders support has been over the past year, how his supporters have stayed with him. But then also, again, the kind of return to a familiar face with Joe Biden, despite the presence of newer alternatives. You know, Amy Klobuchar from Minnesota and Pete Buttigieg finished far ahead of Joe Biden in New Hampshire, and they were moderate alternatives. But, you know, they were it's very important, especially for a moderate, to be able to appeal to African-American voters who are moderate, even conservative, for different reasons. Perhaps they're very pragmatic because of their political and social history in the country. But it is you know, it's all said and done. We're coming back to, you know, Joe Biden and a familiar face.

Laura Knoy:
Well, and from here on out, it seems like just listening to the speeches last night, that we're going to be hearing a lot of, you know, mirror, mirror on the wall. Who's the most progressive of all? I want to play a little bit from Joe Biden speaking in California last night, pushing back on the narrative that his policies aren't progressive enough.

News clip:
Our agenda is bold. It's progressive. It's a vision where health care is affordable and available to everybody in America. I'm going to start by rejoining it now, but I put together the Paris Climate Accord and we're going to move it a long way. A country where the quality education will not depend on your zip code. Middle class built this country.

Laura Knoy:
And again, that's Joe Biden speaking in California last night, saying that his policies are, as he said, bold. But of course, we also heard a lot of pushback from that from Senator Sanders. Here he is speaking to supporters in Vermont last night and describing his contest against Joe Biden as what he called a contrast of ideas won or lost in this race led the opposition to the war in Iraq.

News clip:
You're looking at one of us stood up for consumers and said we will not support a disastrous bankruptcy bill. And another candidate represented the credit card companies and voted for that disastrous bill.

Laura Knoy:
And again, that's Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden last night talking about their approach to policies and making the case for their the progressiveness of their policies. What's your take on that? Those clips we just heard?

Dante Scala:
You know, I think you'll be interesting to watch the next debate between Sanders, Biden, you know, perhaps Warren, perhaps not perhaps Michael Bloomberg, perhaps not, but one on one. I do think they present a clear contrast, despite the fact of Biden talking about his progressivism and so forth. And, you know, there's a clear contrast in terms of style, in terms of ideology, in terms of, you know, Biden's rationale is, let's go back to Obama. Let's go back to his agenda and move it forward, but get the country back on track. Whereas Sanders wants to go in, you know, I have a very different direction. And it's definitely there are more differences and similarities there, although, you know, obviously they both have more in common with each other than either does with the president right now.

Laura Knoy:
Joining us by phone now is Anthony Brooks. He's senior political reporter at WBUR Boston. He joins us from Michigan, where he's been covering the campaign of Massachusetts U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren. Tony, good morning. Thank you for being with us.

Anthony Brooks:
Good morning. Nice to be here.

Laura Knoy:
So not only did Massachusetts reject its own senator, voters chose Joe Biden over Bernie Sanders, even though your state, Tony, has a reputation as a very liberal state. Did you see this coming?

Anthony Brooks:
No. The Joe Biden thing was a complete surprise. You know, we did a poll just two days before the election and it looked like a contest between Sanders and Warren with Sanders having the edge. Joe Biden is a complete surprise. According to CNN exit polls, more than half of Massachusetts Democratic voters made up their minds just in the last few days, and it was Biden more than anyone else benefited from those last minute decisions. And, of course, for Elizabeth Warren, it not only not winning her state, but coming in third. It's pretty devastating for her.

Laura Knoy:
Yeah, The Boston Globe described it. She didn't just lose. She was humiliated. So what's the reaction in the Bay State to this news, Tony?

Anthony Brooks:
Well, you know, in truth, I'm out in Detroit, so I haven't. Yeah, we hear from folks on that, they say. But I think there is real surprise. But, you know, I think what happened in Massachusetts among Democrats is what happened all across the country. I think there's a real sort of existential kind of coming to terms with how do we beat Donald Trump? And a lot of the exit polls, voters felt that Joe Biden could do that. But, you know, Warren has been suffering unhappy setbacks, really beginning with the Iowa caucuses and then New Hampshire. She she had a disappointing result. Of course, Nevada and South Carolina and now her home state. So this disappointment has been brewing for a while. It's something we're hearing last night. She was talking about continuing on and she plans to return to then. And, you know, they have a lot of money and still they're continuing to fight, although they haven't focused exclusively since the result. Last night, right before people went to the polls yesterday were still talking about carrying on. And she's been urging voters to vote their heart and not to get so complicated about what the pundits are saying and who they should vote for and so on and so forth. So it'll be interesting to see what Warren says the next time she emerges in public about this disappointing result.

Laura Knoy:
Yeah. What her impact will be on the campaign there in Michigan. Since you mentioned that, Tony, let's hear just a little bit from Senator Warren here. She is campaigning last night in Detroit after, as we've said, very disappointing results for her from Super Tuesday.

News clip:
Being here with you tonight is about two things. For me, it's about the fight, but it's also about the hope. It's about what we will be able to do together.

Laura Knoy:
Again, that's Elizabeth Warren campaigning in Michigan last night. Catherine writes us on Facebook. I supported Warren liking much of the progressive agenda and respect what Bernie Sanders that Bernie Sanders calls out issues of vital importance to a segment of the population. Catherine asks, What is the likelihood that, if successful in getting the nomination, Joe Biden will get a progressive partner on the ticket, as well as pressing for adaptation in the platform of many of the concerns of the progressive candidates. Catherine, thank you very much for writing in. And Dante, what's your response?

Dante Scala:
I think that's plausible that Joe Biden will pick a running mate who would compliment him.

Dante Scala:
And I think there is a high probability that it will be a woman on the ticket. I think there's a good chance it could be a woman of color on the ticket. And also, it will be someone who could help to mend the rift in the party and unite the moderate and progressive wings of the party. That's that's all possible, I think. And now it's a tall order for just one person. And sometimes there's also those intangibles about, well, can I get along with this person for four years? Will this be someone I can work with in the White House? So there's a number of. But I think I do think those things are on the table. If Biden is the nominee, that he'll look for someone who is an ideological complement as well as a complement in terms of gender.

Laura Knoy:
Ok. And I read a couple e-mails earlier from strong Sanders supporters who really want to see him be the nominee. Here's Linda on Facebook who says Bernie Sanders is not a Democrat. He is a socialist. He did not win in many areas because we do not want socialism spoon fed to us. Those who want something for nothing. Need to learn. There is a cost to everything. Democrats are Democrats, Linda says. And there are lots of us in Vermont, too. So that's Linda on Facebook. Of course, Senator Sanders did win in Vermont and other states. But as we said earlier, Joe Biden pulled in a lot of big states and did did better than many people expected. California's still outstanding, but it seems like Senator Sanders is on track to win the most delegates by far there. And, of course, those states those numbers are not updated yet. Tony Brooks, I have to ask you about another Massachusetts politician, and that's former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld, who has continued to stay in the race. He's launched a longshot bid to, if not unseat, then at least unsettle Republican President Donald Trump. How did he do yesterday? You're a former Bay State governor.

Anthony Brooks:
Yeah, well, he did do. He didn't do that. Well, I mean, it's been interesting watching Bill Weld. He's a very affable guy and he seems to keep on keep on going. And, you know, I bumped into him when I was covering the lead up to the Iowa caucuses, and he was just sort of sauntering along a street in downtown Des Moines looking, you know, the bookstore. And I had a nice talk with him. So there doesn't seem to be this great sense of urgency by Bill Weld. On the other hand, you know, he's absolutely committed to representing that sort of former Republican Party that almost doesn't exist anymore. He didn't do that great, he won 9 percent of the vote. You know, Donald Trump has really managed to get the Republicans everywhere, including in Massachusetts, to coalesce around him and didn't have any problem not withstanding the challenge from from from former Governor Bill Weld.

Laura Knoy:
And so, Anthony, one more question for you, please. So there you are in Michigan. You'll be watching Senator Warren. What are you expecting to hear from her and her supporters today? What's sort of the agenda first?

Anthony Brooks:
Well, I think that it's really interesting. I mean, I you know, I can only imagine that they're asking themselves after what, yesterday's really disappointing result. If there is a way forward, so far they seem to be continuing on. I mean, we have we got word yesterday that Warren is going to be returning to Michigan, which votes a week from yesterday. And she's going to be continuing on to Arizona into a number of other states. You know, after that really impressive debate performance in Nevada, the money poured into the race. 30 million dollars, almost 30 million dollars in the month of February. Only Bernie Sanders did better than Warren, who she still has his core of very committed supporters, small donors. He also has a super PAC now that some putting advertisements on the air.Some, I think, surprising this may move to what happened last night. She's going to continue going and try to be a factor for a little bit longer at least. I mean, the memo that came from her campaign on Sunday that they have the move to go all the way to the convention and try to have an impact there. It's difficult to imagine that she can do that given what happened on Super Tuesday. But as as we're speaking right now, there's no indication from the campaign that they're about to fold up their tent and go somewhere else.

Laura Knoy:
Ok. Anthony Brooks, thank you very much.

Anthony Brooks:
My pleasure.

Laura Knoy:
That's Anthony Brooks. He's a senior political reporter at WBUR in Boston. As we heard, he's in Michigan right now covering the campaign of Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. You're listening to The Exchange on New Hampshire Public Radio. So Dante, if Elizabeth Warren continues in this race, as Anthony Brooks told us, it looks like she wants to, at least for now, wo might she pull votes from, Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders or Michael Bloomberg?

Dante Scala:
I think likely more votes from Sanders than anyone else. And I think there will be a lot of pressure on Warren to get out of the race in order to support the progressive cause. I saw some of that already from a Sanders supporter this week. And because the argument is, well, look, moderates, you know, Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg, they stood aside for Joe Biden when he proved he was the best candidate in South Carolina. Our problem as progressives is that we couldn't consolidate the way the moderates did. And therefore, you know, Elizabeth Warren will be singled out as the person who is putting her own self-interest in front of the progressive cause. Now, the reality might be a little more complicated. I think there are a lot of Elizabeth Warren supporters out there who, yes, they're at least somewhat liberal, if not very liberal. But they also saw something in Warren that they didn't like. And Bernie Sanders, you know, perhaps these voters are Democrats and they're not, but they want to stay within the Democratic Party and they see Sanders as a step too far. Maybe they were committed to having a very well-prepared female candidate as president. And the fact that Warren, you know, is not getting that chance doesn't necessarily lead them all to go to Bernie Sanders.

Laura Knoy:
Well, and this morning, some Warren supporters are saying that misogyny was the reason that she did so poorly yesterday, that she wasn't taken seriously as a female candidate, that after the defeat of Hillary Clinton in 2016, her gender was considered too much of a liability in a race against Trump. That's some of the you know, that's some of the chatter among Warren's supporters. What's the research or polling, Dante, on the so-called woman factor and the electability factor?

Dante Scala:
You know, I think that Warren supporters have reason to be upset. I think that compared to Bernie Sanders, I think Warren often was held to a higher standard in terms of how the level of specificity and the implications of her policy positions. And I'm thinking especially about, you know, Medicare for all, which when Warren was discussing that last fall, she ran into some trouble because, you know, she didn't have the detailed plan that she had for other things. And it took a while to learn about what the plan was going to be. And she faced a lot of criticism for it. Whereas Sanders, you know, when he's been asked about how much will this cost and so forth, he's tended to kind of wave all that aside until very recently. So I can, you know, see and, you know, basically a lot of I think Warren's supporters said, well, OK, maybe Hillary Clinton lost because of the baggage that she herself carried, and maybe Elizabeth Warren will be treated differently. And now they wake up and see that, you know, the nominee of the Democratic Party is not going to be a woman. It's going to be a very old white man, most likely. And, you know, they say, you know. Women, especially college educated women, are very important to the Democratic Party, why aren't we getting our due in terms of a nominee?

Laura Knoy:
All right. We will talk more after a short break and we'll take a lot more of your comments. And you're listening to The Exchange on New Hampshire Public Radio.

Laura Knoy:
This is The Exchange, I'm Laura Knoy. Today, what happened on Super Tuesday in the Democratic presidential nomination where the race goes from here? Dante Scala, right back to our listeners. And Bill's calling in from Portsmouth. Hi, Bill. You're on the air. Welcome.

Caller:
Thanks for taking my call. Sure. You know, on the subject of Elizabeth Warren. I think it's pretty incredible how she has just disappeared from the media landscape. Story after story, whether it's broadcast or electronic or print, she's just not there is not mentioned. Pretty amazing. I like the previous caller who talked about a possible running mate. So you got two old white men. You got three. But I think one of them probably isn't going to last too long. They're both from the East Coast. My thought would be Kamala Harris, who I thought was a terrific candidate, couldn't get any traction. Women seem not to be able to do that kind of strange. So that would be my thought about a running mate. And finally, you know this. What is this party? What is this party going to do about the fact that the youth vote is so important and. We're running off right now.

Laura Knoy:
You know, this is a great question, Bill. Yeah, I really appreciate you calling. And you know, Dante, I've got the same question. I mean, the Democratic Party prides itself on being younger and more diverse than Republicans. Democrats, you know, sort of brag about this all the time. What does it say that it's top three contenders right now anyway are all elderly white men, all of whom would celebrate their 80th birthdays in the Oval Office if elected?

Dante Scala:
Yeah, it's it's a puzzle, to be honest. I mean, and one of those three is there, ironically, because he has the fervent support of voters under 30. And that's Bernie Sanders. And that's one of the striking things about this nomination cycle is, you know, one of the best predictors of how someone might vote about Bernie Sanders is how old that voter is. And we've seen this. You know, I've seen this here personally at UNH, but it shows up in the exit polling as well that Sanders does very well among younger voters, not so well among older voters. But what's striking, though, is that Sanders hasn't been able to use his popularity to expand the electorate in ways that he's promised to do in order to beat President Trump. And, in fact, he hasn't even been able to do that in order to win primaries against Joe Biden. Someone who appeals to older voters.

Laura Knoy:
Wow. Bill, thank you very much for the call. And here's a Facebook comment from Doug in Mason. While the schedule isn't certain, we do know what the results of ignoring climate change will be. Former Vice President Biden has said we can find common ground with the fossil fuel industry, which Doug says has clearly demonstrated their profits are more important than the welfare of the planet. To paraphrase Barry Goldwater, extremism in defense of the climate is no vice. Moderation in defense of the planet is no virtue. So there's Doug in Mason saying, you know, no time to go sort of middle of the road in terms of climate. And then we've got Jeff in Hillsboro who says, I don't necessarily disagree with a lot of Bernie Sanders' ideas. However, Jeff says, it's gonna take a majority in Congress and the Senate to go along with him and pass his ideas into the law of the land. Jeff says, I think we are a long, long ways away from that in this country. In the meantime, Jeff says, I am hoping to see a return of, quote, things getting done, deals being made in Washington. Jeff says, I will vote for whoever has the Democratic nomination in November. Thanks to Doug and Jeff for those comments. I did want to ask a little bit, Dante, about Michael Bloomberg and you and our caller Bill alluded to Mr. Bloomberg. Again, three elderly white men, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Michael Bloomberg. What did Michael Bloomberg get for all that money he spent on the Super Tuesday states?

Dante Scala:
Well, he had a very, very strong support performance in American Samoa, where he picked up a few delegates. And other than that, you look around the country and you see a number of third place finishes, including out in California, where he's currently sitting third with 14 percent of the vote. And I think one is saying, you know, we often look back and we political scientists back on the primary cycle and, you know, count our own wins and losses in terms of what we were right about what we weren't. And there was a lot of skepticism among political scientists that someone like Bloomberg could skip the first four events on the nomination calendar and make up for it by spending a ton of money in later contests. But it was a good experiment in that regard to see whether actually someone could pull it off with an seemingly unlimited amount of funds. And it appears as if the answer is pretty, you know, clearly no, that it was a one big mistake at least to skip the state of South Carolina, which is where Biden finally got some leverage and turned the race around. Another thing I think we've learned is that there's no substitute for free media. You can have all the paid media you want in Bloomberg basically did in air in Super Tuesday states across the country. But the free media where you know, the debates, for example, where Bloomberg stumbled in his initial debut, the free media, where Biden was able to kind of ride a wave for against 72, 96 hours. All of that overcame Bloomberg's very sizable financial assets.

Laura Knoy:
Well, and we see so much advertising these days. I mean, every time we we open up YouTube or we look at our look at our e-mail, I mean, so maybe paid advertising, as you said, Dante is just kind of washing over people because we're awash in it.

Dante Scala:
Well, I think that's right. And it's and it's ephemeral. I mean, it's a you can make short term gains with paid advertising, but the effect wears off after a while. And, you know, we've talked a little bit about Elizabeth Warren here and there today. And, you know, people lamenting her candidacy. But she she really shined in the last couple of weeks on the debate stage when she took on Michael Bloomberg, you know, very squarely. And as often happens in these debates, the the person who goes on the attack doesn't always benefit from it. But make no doubt. I think she was instrumental in getting Bloomberg off to a very rough start that he did. And in effect, negating his great financial advantages. Now, of course, that all that went up doing was handing the race to another moderate, Joe Biden. But it is striking how there have been a couple of very key moments in debates. They don't always happen. In fact, they rarely happen. But when they do, they can be decisive.

Laura Knoy:
Well, here is a bit of Michael Bloomberg campaigning last night in Florida. That's a another big state coming up next. And showing no signs of getting out of the race.

News clip:
I came here because winning in November starts with Florida. And if I'm the nominee, let me make you this promise, we will beat Donald Trump here in Florida and swing states around the country. Now, the night the polls are still open in a number of some Super Tuesday states. And as the results come in, here's what is clear. No matter how many delegates we win tonight, we have done something no one else thought was possible.In just three months, we've gone from 1 percent of the polls to being a contender for the Democratic nomination for president.

Laura Knoy:
Again, that's Michael Bloomberg speaking to supporters last night in Florida after a very disappointing night on Super Tuesday. You're listening to The Exchange on New Hampshire Public Radio. So Dante, there we heard him say the road to victory November begins in Florida. Earlier he said the road to victory begins on Super Tuesday.

Dante Scala:
Right. All right. Well, the dilemma for Bloomberg is, you know, Florida is two weeks away. And the question for him now is he said that he wanted to support the Democratic Party's nominee regardless of whether it was him. Now, you know, perhaps not Bernie Sanders, but, you know, Joe Biden is very compatible with Michael Bloomberg in terms of ideology and temperament, so forth. And so the big question for Bloomberg is, is he going to continue to spend money to now be in the role of the spoiler and not spoiling Bernie Sanders campaign, but spoiling Joe Biden's running campaign? Is that really what he wants to do or does he want to spend his money on defeating President Trump? So he has some key decisions to make. Because regardless of his financial advantages, you look at where he is in the delegate count and now he's several hundred delegates back and doing the delegate math. That's at this stage, given the rules of the game, that's insurmountable. I mean, it would have to be a contested convention in order for Bloomberg to be in it, become the nominee, let's say, on the second or third ballot so that the math is really working against him here. He needed to do very well and he needed he needed Joe Biden to collapse and to take his place. And instead, Biden did just the opposite just over the past week.

Laura Knoy:
What happens to the delegates who were assigned to Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar and Tom Steyer, who have since gotten out of the race? Where do their delegates go?

Dante Scala:
Well, it depends. It's that's a little complicated. Let me walk through. So basically, it depends on what kind of delegates they are. So there are delegates that are assigned in terms of congressional districts and then there are delegates who are assigned to statewide. And then there are, of course, the unpledged or the super delegates, which we're not really talking about this at this point. So some of them you know, it basically delegates that Buttigieg and Klobuchar have earned. They're only bound by a pledge of support. So they're not you know, it's not that it's not a leagality. So they're not bound legally to them. So basically, Buttigieg could say to his delegates, hey, you're freed from your pledge and they can go about their way and choose whom they like. And he can recommend someone to them. But in reality, those delegates are more of free agents and they could basically decide what they want to do anyway on the very first ballot. And so that's that's the way that works.

Laura Knoy:
Wow. Well, the whole delegate math and how it works sounds like it's worth another show because it's complicated. I really appreciate you being with us this hour. I know, Dante, it was I know it's a late night for you. A big day, Super Tuesday. Thanks a lot for your time.

Dante Scala:
You're very welcome.

Laura Knoy:
That's Dante Scala, professor of political science at UNH and a fellow at the Carsey School of Public Policy.