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Joe Biden, the former Vice President of the United States, has risen exponentially in the Democratic Party presidential primaries since his convincing victory in South Carolina. Prior to winning the state, he was widely reported to have been on the brink, both financially and electorally. Despite national name recognition, and an early frontrunner status, his low placings in the Iowa and Nevada caucuses, as well as the New Hampshire primary, meant that he trailed democratic socialist Bernie Sanders in both the popular vote and pledged delegates.

However, his South Carolina win, which was heavily propelled by the African-American vote, followed by his near-sweep of Super Tuesday states meant that he regained the frontrunner status from Senator Sanders. With further victories in states such as Florida, Biden now leads Sanders by over 300 delegates and is projected to easily win the Democratic Party nomination, even if coronavirus hampers proceedings.

Although Vice President Biden still needs to win around 800 pledged delegates to be nominated at the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee, his presidential candidacy is looking more and more likely. He possesses a broad coalition of Democratic voters, consisting primarily of black and older Americans, which has allowed him to win in places as diverse as Massachusetts, a progressive New England state and home of Harvard University, and Texas, a Southern and famously conservative state. Sanders, on the other hand, relies heavily on the youth vote, which is often said to be notoriously unreliable. Furthermore, Biden’s chances were massively bolstered by the dropping out of fellow centrists Michael Bloomberg, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar, who all subsequentially added to his impressive list of Washington endorsements. This effect is likely to be significant, given that the splintered moderate field was believed to have significantly contributed to Sanders’s early success. With the primary now a two-horse race between the two septuagenarians, a brokered convention now seems out of the question and a Biden nomination is near-imminent.

Applicants for Politics can consider how candidate momentum can affect the complexion of political races in a variety of contexts.

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