While Biden’s campaign engine gained considerable steam on Tuesday, Sanders picked up wins in his home state of Vermont and in Colorado and Utah, in addition to delegate-rich California. Early Wednesday, Biden remained ahead of Sanders in an overall contest that requires 1,991 delegates to secure the nomination ahead of the convention. The tracks to the Democratic nomination stretched into the horizon of a slate of other primaries over the next few months.
Six more states will hold primaries on March 10. The next major test will come on March 17, when a second Super Tuesday of sorts will test the contenders: 10 states with 577 pledged delegates will be up for grabs. Biden likely has an advantage in a handful of those states, including Ohio and Florida, where polls show him in another double-digit lead over Sanders.
Part of Sanders’ struggle in Florida may come from a Latin American immigrant community concerned over the admiration he’s expressed for dictators like the late Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro. Sanders’ embrace of democratic socialism may also be unpopular among immigrants and others in Florida keenly aware of the implosion of the socialist state of Venezuela.
Sanders has tried to distinguish democratic socialism from other forms of socialism, but Biden has picked up on some voters’ unease with Sanders’ views. In stump speeches, Biden has started slipping in phrases about fixing problems “but not with socialism.”