Super Tuesday is here, and voters in 14 states and one territory are heading to the ballot box on what could be the most important day of the Democratic presidential primary.
Listen to NPR's live coverage of the Super Tuesday races here.
Follow along with our live blog for the latest updates, analysis and results.
The field of candidates has shrunk considerably since South Carolina's primary just four days ago. Billionaire businessman and activist Tom Steyer suspended his campaign on Saturday after failing to receive any delegates in the state's primary. Meanwhile, former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., both suspended their campaigns on Sunday and Monday, respectively.
Voters will also find a new name on their ballots: former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who didn't compete in any of the first four states, but who has spent hundreds of millions of dollars saturating the airwaves with ads in Super Tuesday states.
ARI SHAPIRO (HOST): Virginia, North Carolina and Alabama have gone to former Vice President Joe Biden in the first winds of a long night. From NPR News, this is live Special Coverage of Super Tuesday. I'm Ari Shapiro.
LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO (HOST): And I'm Lulu Garcia-Navarro. Fourteen states vote tonight. Polls have closed. In more than half, Senator Bernie Sanders went into the evening with a delegate lead and has won his home state of Vermont.
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BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT, SEN/DEM PRES CAND): We are going to bring our people together around an agenda that works for all, not just the 1%.
SHAPIRO: Vice President Biden is counting his own wins tonight after an overwhelming victory in South Carolina.
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JOE BIDEN (DEM PRES CAND): If Democrats nominate me, I believe we can beat Donald Trump.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Tonight, one-third of the delegates are up for grabs. We'll bring you the latest from coast to coast.
SHAPIRO: Stay with us.
We're joined here in the studio by NPR's Domenico Montanaro. Domenico, why don't you just give us an overview of what we know so far at this early point in the night?
DOMENICO MONTANARO (BYLINE): Well, this early point in the night we have a call for Vermont with Bernie Sanders, Virginia and North Carolina for Joe Biden. And this hour, we have, at 8 o'clock, the polls closing in Alabama, Maine, Massachusetts, Oklahoma and Tennessee.
So far, it's been a fairly big night for Joe Biden. He's been able to sort of ride that momentum from South Carolina, and he's, you know, hoping to do better and do well and maybe split all of the delegates outside of California. Of course, a lot of the states that are going to matter later on in the evening, like Texas and California, have a significant share of delegates later on.
SHAPIRO: So some decisive wins early on for Joe Biden. Can you attribute that to anything specific so far?
MONTANARO: Well, Virginia and North Carolina have significant shares of African American populations in the Democratic primary, and Biden won them overwhelmingly. And, you know, I think that what's happening here - and you're seeing this with the fact that Amy Klobuchar, the former Senate - I'm sorry - the senator from Minnesota dropping out, Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., dropping out and endorsing Joe Biden - you're seeing a coalescing of a lot of those moderate voters and the people who were unsure of who to vote for going in.
Mike Bloomberg has spent hundreds of millions of dollars. A lot of people were considering Mike Bloomberg, but his favorability ratings have tanked. He was 58% unfavorable rating in Virginia, 60% unfavorable rating in California, for example. So as he's fallen away and the other two candidates fall away, it's starting to look like a Bernie-Sanders-versus-Joe-Biden race.
SHAPIRO: Elizabeth Warren is still in the race. Michael Bloomberg are still in the race. What role do you think they could play as the night goes on?
MONTANARO: Well, Elizabeth Warren, I'm interested to see how she does in California. I'm going to be interested in this hour to see how she does in Massachusetts, her home state. She's got to do well there. She hasn't won a state yet. If she wants to still be considered somebody who could win the nomination or be in the discussion for that, she's going to have to win somewhere. And Massachusetts is a good place to start as any with its 91 delegates, a fairly significant share - but Bernie Sanders really threatening to beat her in her home state.
SHAPIRO: Is victory tonight based on demographics? Is it based on policy positions? Is it based on the left-center divide? I mean, what do you think is going to chart the path through this map of 14 states this evening?
MONTANARO: Well, we're seeing a lot of the things that have held in the first four states that have now also continued into this evening. Joe Biden did exceptionally well with black voters in South Carolina. Looks like he's doing very well with black voters again tonight. Bernie Sanders did very well - very well with Latinos in Nevada, won half of them. And if he's able to continue that in California and nobody else is able to pick up a significant share of the vote outside of that - and they're expected to be potentially a quarter to a third of the vote there - he could run up a score that is very difficult to catch. And that's why Joe Biden has to do well.
We're also seeing with young voters, those under 30 years old, they haven't really been a huge source of turnout in this election. Bernie Sanders promised that they would be a group of voters that he could turn out. They're voting overwhelmingly for Bernie Sanders even tonight, but they're not making up significant shares of the electorate.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: One of the things that I found really interesting is that everyone talks about how important it is to get communities of color out to vote. But we're seeing a real divide in what communities of color prefer. We're seeing Latinos go for Bernie Sanders. We're seeing African Americans go for Joe Biden. What do you think that means going forward?
MONTANARO: You know, the fact is those are two major pillars of the Democratic Party.
MONTANARO: And the Democratic Party needs to get all of them onboard to be able to vote. You know, there was a line that former Governor Jim Hodges of South Carolina, who's a Biden supporter, said on our air on live coverage last time, where he said that if you're a nominee and you can't win over black voters, then you can't really represent the party. And that seemed to be the line that Biden supporters were going to start using toward Bernie Sanders.
But if Bernie Sanders is able to run up the score with Latinos in the way that is expected, then there is the question of whether or not you can have a nominee who can't win over Latinos. And that is where this sort of divisive marriage is going to have to take place between the end of April, when we will have 90% of the delegates allocated by, and July, when the convention happens in Milwaukee.
SHAPIRO: Let's turn to two of our reporters who are out with these campaigns. Scott Detrow is with Sanders in Essex Junction, Vt., and Asma Khalid is with Biden in Los Angeles, Calif. Hello to you both.
ASMA KHALID (BYLINE): Hey there.
SCOTT DETROW (BYLINE): Hey, good evening.
SHAPIRO: Asma, even though it's early Biden, has had a good night. The AP has called races for him in Virginia, North Carolina and just now Alabama, all three rather quickly. How do you think his campaign is feeling right now?
KHALID: They're feeling really well. We were just at a local stop with him at a chicken-and-waffle restaurant here in Los Angeles.
SHAPIRO: So he's still campaigning out there in California.
KHALID: He is. He hasn't yet gotten to his party. And he was asked about this. He's excited. He's enthusiastic. He had early on in the night projected that he was going to do well in Virginia and North Carolina. He projected even possibly Texas he would do well, though he isn't saying that he's going to win the state. But, look, they feel overall the momentum, the wind is behind their back. And as a reporter having gone to some of his events in Iowa and New Hampshire, there is a noticeable difference in the enthusiasm of the crowds and in Joe Biden's comfort himself on stage as he's campaigning now over the last couple of days...
SHAPIRO: One week ago, they did not feel the wind was at their backs.
KHALID: You know, a lot can change. (Laughter) And I think a lot has changed in major part because of his resounding - I mean, this was a landslide that he had in South Carolina.
KHALID: And we saw that he had a clear strength with African American voters. No other candidate in the field has been able to pull off that level of support with black voters. And as we - you know, you all were just saying, black voters are a pillar of the Democratic Party. And so we quickly saw a coalescing of moderate support, other candidates drop out of the race, like Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and quickly decide to put their support behind Biden as the single alternative to Bernie Sanders.
SHAPIRO: Scott Detrow, jump in here. How does that compare to the sentiment at the Sanders camp in Vermont tonight?
DETROW: You know, throughout the past few days, traveling all across the country with Bernie Sanders, at the same time it felt like he was surging and that the walls were closing in on him. It was a very strange duel feeling. Event after event, 10,000 people, 13,000 people, the sign that Bernie Sanders had really gone up to the next level, especially in the western part of the country, places like Utah, like California, where he spent a lot of time campaigning.
But yesterday, when you saw Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O'Rourke all come together, the campaign really wasn't quite sure what to make of it. Bernie Sanders initially dismissed this surge, saying, I was never going to get the establishment endorsements. The party leaders, the establishment, the corpulent elite, as he puts it, are coming together to stop me. Then at the end of the night, he made this broad, open appeal to supporters of Buttigieg and Klobuchar. So I think, so far, early in the night, their March 3 confidence has been hit just a little bit, especially with these very early calls in Virginia and North Carolina.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: I'm enjoying that music.
SHAPIRO: It's good music.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: It's good music.
SHAPIRO: So why it might be premature to call this a two-person race, I'm sure that Sanders and Biden are both going to be arguing tonight that they are the front-runner. Asma and Scott, could I ask you each to put on your hat of the campaign surrogates that you've been talking to for these last few weeks? What is the argument that each of these campaigns is making right now? Asma, how does the Biden campaign argue that they are the front-runner?
KHALID: Well, they see themselves as being the person who's been able to bring together a number of the other candidates who've dropped out of this race, and that is true. You know, you had Beto O'Rourke, Amy Klobuchar, again, Pete Buttigieg quickly back him. But beyond that, he's pulled together, I think it's over 50 endorsements from members of the House, another, say, half-a-dozen-plus from senators. And so his message has largely been one of uniting the country. And when you talk to surrogates, they will say that they feel very strongly that both his support among African American voters as well as his ability to, as it seems in the last couple of days, kind of quickly coalesce that moderate support...
KHALID: ...Will be a strong sign leading into next Tuesday's race.
SHAPIRO: And, Scott.
DETROW: That Bernie Sanders represents the base of the Democratic Party, the energy of the Democratic Party in a way that Joe Biden doesn't. Increasingly, he's been really extending his attacks on Joe Biden, talking about Biden's support for the war in Iraq, votes for trade agreements like NAFTA, past support for curbing in or for restraining Social Security and Medicare. Sanders says he's the one who can energize and excite the key base. The thing is, though, up through tonight, we have not seen that enormous leap in young voters and first-time voters that Sanders keeps promising.
SHAPIRO: NPR's Asma Khalid and Scott Detrow, more to come.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: And we're going to bring - we're going to bring now into the conversation Anna Greenberg. She's a pollster partner at Greenberg, Quinlan and Rosner - and Ron Elving, NPR's senior Washington editor. And he's in Nashville, Tenn. - and Juana Summers who covers demographics for our politics team. And she is here in the studio. Welcome to you all.
ANNA GREENBERG (GREENBERG QUINLAN ROSNER RESEARCH): Thank you.
RON ELVING (BYLINE): Good to be with you.
JUANA SUMMERS (BYLINE): Hi there.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Anna, I'm going to start with you. I mean, first of all, what does it tell you, these early wins of Biden?
GREENBERG: Well, I think it tells you what certainly I've heard more than a year ago from Democratic primary voters, which is that they really, really, really want to support someone they think can beat Donald Trump. And they're not particularly interested in sort of liberal litmus tests, and they're not interested in taking a chance.
And I think that when the news was clearly sort of pointing to a Sanders surge, that voters started thinking about this strategically. And I think both Buttigieg and Klobuchar dropping out pushed people to Biden because, again, these are not sort of standard-type voters. But, I mean, this was in the cards a year and a half ago. I mean, I worked for John Hickenlooper when he was running for president. And I did focus groups with Democratic primary voters last January, and they said, we just want someone who can beat Trump.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: It also is sort of remarkable that exit polls show that many people decided in the last few days who they were going to vote for. What does that tell you?
GREENBERG: Well, again, I think that probably this year will be the most significant in terms of strategic voting, which doesn't happen very often, right? Most people vote their hearts.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: But might it suggest that the support is soft for Biden?
GREENBERG: Well, I think that is strategic voting, and people are trying to figure out who is the person who can beat Trump. Are they believers in Biden as the candidate, in his platform, etc., etc.? I think that will come later. I think right now they've made a calculation that he's a better candidate than Bernie Sanders against Donald Trump.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Ron Elving, let's bring you in. You are in Nashville, which we should say has just been hit by a devastating tornado. What are you seeing there?
ELVING: Well, there's a lot of damage here, unfortunately, Lulu. This is a city where 48 major buildings have been very heavily damaged, many homes lost. Twenty-one voting sites today could not be opened. They could not be operative. And so as a result, the governor has extended the election hours tonight. They're going to go until 10 o'clock, and they're going to allow people - that is to say in Davidson County here in Nashville where there are five super-voting sites. There are some liberal hours elsewhere in the state. And the destruction did spread across much of middle Tennessee.
So a very sad night here in Nashville, but nonetheless, the voting goes forward. And we don't expect to get the statewide result quite as early as we had thought we would. We may get some indication from exit polls and other sources as to whether this state will continue the run for Joe Biden that we've seen. About a third of the Democratic electorate here in 2016 was African American. That pattern has helped him in other states.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Ron, you're at member station WPLN, and I'm wondering if you had a chance to speak to voters at all and what they've been telling you.
ELVING: The voters here in Tennessee are much like the voters everywhere else we've been talking to in the last month, and they are looking for someone who can beat Donald Trump. Now, they don't necessarily expect to beat Donald Trump in Tennessee. This is one of his stronger states. He did very well here in 2016. He's projected to do well here this year. That does not mean that the Democrats here don't want to find someone who can beat him in enough other states and do well enough in Tennessee to protect some of the offices they do still hold here in Tennessee. They want to see the same thing other Democrats do, hope for the defeat of Donald Trump.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Juana, I'm going to bring you in here. Half of the states tonight have significant shares of African American voters. In three of the states tonight, Latino voters are key. What are you looking for tonight as we learn how those people are voting?
SUMMERS: Yeah, so one of the biggest things I am looking for is whether or not Latino voters are something of a firewall for Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. He has talked about them as such nationally, but particularly in California, where they make up 30% of the Democratic electorate. And he's been working to activate them across the country. If you think back to the first state, Iowa, though it is overwhelmingly white, he was the force behind having his folks come out and make sure there were Spanish-language caucus sites in Iowa. So he's really been putting in the work on the ground.
Polling has consistently shown us that Latino voters in Texas and California list health care, economic inequality, immigration as some of their top issues. But, as we know, they're not a monolith. So seeing how they express those desires and what candidate they turn out for is really crucial.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: And I think there is a big difference between Latinos in Texas and Latinos in California.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: They're going to vote very, very differently moving forward, and I think that's going to be something that's significant and we're going to definitely have to watch for.
SHAPIRO: Some stations are going to take a short break now. Stay with us. You are listening to special live coverage of Super Tuesday from NPR News.
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SHAPIRO: Now let's go to Anthony Brooks, the senior political reporter at member station WBUR in Boston. But tonight, he is in Detroit with Elizabeth Warren's campaign. Anthony, I understand you just heard from Warren. What did she have to say?
ANTHONY BROOKS (BYLINE): Yeah. Good evening, Ari. Yeah, well, she's urging voters to vote their heart, to give up these complicated games about trying to figure out political strategy and really vote, you know, for somebody that they believe in. We've got a little bit of tape that sort of expresses that point. Here it is.
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ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA, SEN/DEM PRES CAND): So here's my advice - cast a vote that will make you proud.
SHAPIRO: Anthony, what does it say that she is in Michigan, not one of the states that is voting today on Super Tuesday?
BROOKS: Yeah, well, it's interesting, isn't it? Michigan is voting next week. She's not in Massachusetts, where she's in a pretty tight race with Bernie Sanders and possibly Joe Biden as well, according to exit polls. So Massachusetts, her home state, is not a sure bet.
And, you know, a couple of things are going on there. Massachusetts has been very fertile ground for Bernie Sanders. He's been campaigning there since 2015 and notwithstanding the fact that it's Warren's home turf. And something that our polling showed last week is Sanders does very, very well with younger voters in Massachusetts, picking up something like 50% of voters under 45. So that's all created a big challenge for Warren in her home state of Massachusetts.
SHAPIRO: The general assumption is that Sanders and Warren are competing for the same pool of voters who are to the left of the Democratic Party as a whole. You've been covering her campaign for months. For a while, she appeared to be something close to a front-runner. Do you have a sense for why these voters seem to have broken more for Sanders than for Warren?
BROOKS: Well, a couple of things. I mean, I think a lot of Sanders - so early on, I think there were a bunch of Sanders supporters who gave Warren a really close look. But I think they came home to Bernie Sanders. I think that's one of the thing and so - one of the things that happened. And then Warren sort of got pinched, if you will, between those progressive voters who went with Sanders and, for a long while, some voters who went with people like Pete Buttigieg on the other side. So she was sort of boxed in.
And I think after she was the front-runner briefly, sort of in late summer, early fall, she got into a kind of a bind about Medicare for All, and I think that is when her support began to fade a little bit. So you put all those things together, and, yeah, she sort of fell off that lofty perch that she was enjoying for a while.
SHAPIRO: Just briefly, after Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar dropped out of the presidential race, is Warren under pressure to join them?
BROOKS: Well, if she is, she's not listening to that pressure. She's planning to go on, fight on, and she's making it very clear that, if necessary, she will take this all the way to the convention and try to have an influence there. And she's got the money to do it.
SHAPIRO: That is Anthony Brooks, senior political reporter at member station WBUR tonight in Detroit, Mich., with the campaign of Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren as we watch Super Tuesday results come in. Anthony, thanks very much.
BROOKS: Oh, my pleasure, Ari.
SHAPIRO: This is live Special Coverage of Super Tuesday from NPR News. We'll be right back.
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GARCIA-NAVARRO: You're listening to Special Coverage of Super Tuesday from NPR News. I'm Lulu Garcia-Navarro.
SHAPIRO: And I'm Ari Shapiro. Vice President Joe Biden has notched significant victories so far with polls closed in just over half the states in play tonight. He has won in Virginia, North Carolina and Alabama.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Senator Bernie Sanders has won his home state of Vermont, which offers just 16 delegates, but he's expected to pick up more delegates later tonight, especially in Western states like Utah, Colorado and California.
SHAPIRO: Meanwhile, former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Senator Elizabeth Warren are both hoping to meet the 15% viability threshold in some states to pick off a few delegates from the front-runners.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: We're joined now by NPR's Debbie Elliott who's in Mobile, Ala. Hi.
DEBBIE ELLIOTT (BYLINE): Hi there.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: So big news - the AP just called Alabama for Joe Biden. Was it a hard-fought contest?
ELLIOTT: You know, there was a sense here that he was certainly the front-runner in Alabama. He's well-known to Democrats here. He got support from a lot of the major Democrats in the state, including Senator Doug Jones. The state's only black member of Congress, the only Democrat in Congress, Terri Sewell, had backed him. So it's really no surprise.
Now, Michael Bloomberg spent a lot of money here. I actually live in Alabama. My phone has been full of robocalls from his campaign. My husband was getting texts from his campaign - lots of effort spent trying to woo voters here, but it just didn't work. I talked to one black voter today who talked to me about being a little miffed that somehow someone thought they could just spend money and buy a vote without spending time talking to voters on the ground.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's an interesting distinction that voters are making, that while they were flooded with ads, they didn't really maybe see a lot of Bloomberg, you know, shaking hands, pressing flesh.
ELLIOTT: Right. He did show up Sunday in Selma for the 55th anniversary of the voting rights march, when they reenact that historic march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. He showed up at a African American church in Selma, a historic church and actually some of the people in the audience stood up and turned their backs on him. So he didn't really get a warm reception when he did come down to Alabama...
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Now the...
ELLIOTT: ...Whereas Joe Biden is well-known here. You know, he...
ELLIOTT: He was a vice president, you know, under President Obama. So with the Democratic voters in Alabama, they went with who they knew best.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: And the South is important during this primary season, and it historically has gone for more moderate candidates.
ELLIOTT: Exactly. No matter whether you're - where you fall in the Democratic demographics - right? - voters in the South tend to be more conservative both on the Democratic side and on the Republican side. So I think Biden's moderate appeal, his appeal that he can do things worked for the voters here.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: It's not just the presidential primary on the ballot here and there in Alabama. It's also a competitive Senate race with some well-known names. Can you tell us where you are right now and what you're watching for in that race?
ELLIOTT: Right. I'm in Mobile at the headquarters for former Attorney General Jeff Sessions. He is in a hotly contested GOP primary here trying to win his old Senate seat back. It's likely to head to a runoff, but we'll find out when the votes all come in. But right now, he is in a tight race with a Republican congressman from the Mobile area, Bradley Byrne, and a newcomer to politics Tommy Tuberville, a former football coach at Auburn University.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's NPR's Debbie Elliott in Mobile, Ala.
SHAPIRO: And now let's bring in Tom Perez, chair of the Democratic National Committee. Big night for you, and thank you for spending part of it with us.
TOM PEREZ (CHAIR, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE): It's always great to be with you and your listeners.
SHAPIRO: I know you got an earful in Michigan this week from Detroit voters who are really worried about the party's ability to coalesce around a single candidate. What can you say to assuage those fears?
PEREZ: Well, I think our unity is our greatest strength, and I would look at 2017, 2018, 2019, Ari, and what all those years have in common is Democrats wanted scale. We came together. We had great candidates. We organized early. We organized everywhere, and we talked about health care. We talked about making sure if you have a preexisting condition, you can keep your coverage. We talked about making sure that you don't have to choose between your insulin and your monthly rent.
SHAPIRO: Of course, the difference is in 2017, 2018 and 2019, you could field candidates who reflected the local demographics. In 2020, you have to choose one candidate to represent the entire country. How do you do that without alienating part of the Democratic base?
PEREZ: Well, by understanding what our united values are. And one value that unites everyone is we need to take back the White House because Donald Trump is an existential threat to our democracy. And regardless of who you vote for in the primary, everybody understands that, yes, we have some differences on health care, but the differences are how to get from 85% coverage to where we are now - which is where we are now to the top of the mountain of universal coverage. We have differences of opinion, but there's no difference of opinion on the imperative to get to the top of the mountain. And the Republicans want to take us to the bottom of the mountain again.
SHAPIRO: You know...
PEREZ: Now, what unites us I think is what's going to continue to unite us through November.
SHAPIRO: You and the DNC set the rules for this campaign before you knew how it was going to play out. Now that you've seen how it played out with the number of people on the debate stage, with the compressed calendar, with the caucuses going awry in Iowa and, to a lesser extent, in Nevada, do you have regrets about the rules that you set?
PEREZ: No, I think we were very, very inclusive. I have regrets that Iowa was - it didn't go well. And we made a lot of mistakes in Iowa, and we'll learn from that. So, of course, we have regrets about that. But in terms of the process that we put forth, we had an unprecedented field of candidates. What we needed to do is make sure that the voters decided. And so we created very inclusive criteria so that voters could kick the tires of all the candidates. And that's what they've done.
It's the voters who are making their choices today and over the course of the next few months. And I think that whoever ends up being the nominee, I'm really confident that folks are going to come together. And because of our rule changes, we've really returned power to the people. That's what we wanted to do, make sure the grassroots had their voice.
SHAPIRO: Are you at all disappointed that the most diverse field of candidates in history was narrowed down to some people in their 70s, some white people in their 70s?
PEREZ: Well, you know, what I'm excited about is, look at the record turnout. Look at South Carolina last weekend. People said you could never, Ari, get beyond the turnout levels of Barack Obama in 2008. And we did just that last weekend in South Carolina, record turnout in New Hampshire. What all the voters understand is that every single candidate for president understands that civil rights is the unfinished business of America. Every single candidate for president is going to fight for opportunity for people in every ZIP code, not just people in the richest ZIP code.
PEREZ: And so that's what excites me is that voters are coming out everywhere. There's record turnout, and it's going to continue to be that way.
SHAPIRO: I know that your role is in part to be a cheerleader and put on the best face. But how much of a headache would a contested convention be for you and the party if no candidate comes out with more than 50% of the delegates?
PEREZ: Well, every four years, Ari, this question gets asked. I'm looking at a headline from February of 2008, "Brokered Democratic Convention Looking More Likely," "Obama And Clinton Heading Toward Contested Convention."
SHAPIRO: All right, so I'm going to take that as a - as a hope that it doesn't happen this year.
PEREZ: Well, listen, you know, again, now we had a brokered convention in 1952. We haven't had one...
SHAPIRO: Tom Perez, I hate to interrupt, but Mike Bloomberg is coming out to speak to supporters. We appreciate your time tonight.
SHAPIRO: We're going to take his remarks, and thank you very much for joining us.
PEREZ: Have a good night. Take care.
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MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (DEM PRES CAND): Phil Levine, Bob Buckhorn, Keith James and Congress members Ted Deutch and Stephanie Murphy - let's hear it for them.
BLOOMBERG: Now it's great to be here in this beautiful state. I know you're not used to seeing a New Yorker in Southern Florida in late winter.
BLOOMBERG: But unlike the president, I didn't come here to golf...
BLOOMBERG: ...Or to reveal classified information to Mara Lago members. I came here because winning in November starts with Florida.
BLOOMBERG: And if I'm the nominee, let me make you this promise. We will beat Donald Trump here in Florida and in swing states around the country.
BLOOMBERG: Now, tonight the polls are still open in a number of 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% of the polls to being a contender for the Democratic nomination for president.
BLOOMBERG: Enthusiasm they don't lack. All across America, I've been talking with voters, and my message is simple. I am running to beat Donald Trump.
BLOOMBERG: And to start rebuilding our country and to start getting things done. And I mean big important things like stopping gun violence...
BLOOMBERG: ...And fighting climate change...
BLOOMBERG: ...And finally achieving affordable health coverage for all Americans.
BLOOMBERG: This is a campaign for change, a campaign for sanity, for honesty, a campaign for inclusion, compassion, competence and a campaign for human decency.
BLOOMBERG: And this is a campaign to bring our country back together and put the united back in the United States of America.
BLOOMBERG: That's the message I've been delivering not only to Democrats, but also to swing voters who will actually decide who will be our next president.
BLOOMBERG: And tonight, we proved something very important. We proved we can win the voters who will decide the general election. And isn't that what this is all about?
BLOOMBERG: Now, while my fellow candidates spent a whole year focusing on the first four states, I was out campaigning against Donald Trump in the states with the election will actually be decided, like Wisconsin and Michigan and Pittsburgh and Ohio and North Carolina and of course Florida.
BLOOMBERG: President Obama proved that a Democrat can win all of those states, but in 2016, we lost them all. Well, I'm running to win them back.
BLOOMBERG: And together - and together we're going to get it done.
BLOOMBERG: Now we all know Trump's strategy - attack Democrats, make their plans look unrealistic, unaffordable and undoable. That won't work against us. Our plans are sensible, workable and achievable. And we have the record and the resources to defeat Trump in swing states the Democrats lost in 2016, like Florida.
BLOOMBERG: I know we can do it. And you know who else knows it? Donald Trump.
BLOOMBERG: And that's why he keeps attacking us on Twitter. Today he sent a tweet out urging people not to vote for us. Gee, I wonder why. Clearly Trump is scared stiff of facing us and for good reason. In every campaign I ran for mayor, we built a broad coalition that brought Democrats and Independents and moderate Republicans together. Donald Trump the other day called me short. I said, Donald, where I come from, we measure people from the neck up.
BLOOMBERG: That's how we're going to beat Donald Trump. I believe we need a letter - leader who is ready to be commander in chief not college debater in chief.
BLOOMBERG: So if you want someone who talks turkey and who has a record of accomplishment on all the big issues facing our country and who has the resources to beat Trump, I'm your guy.
BLOOMBERG: And while Trump tweets, I follow facts, respect data and tell the truth. My whole career, I have been a doer, and I believe we need less talk, less partisanship, less division, less tweeting. In fact, how about...
SHAPIRO: You're listening to Mike Bloomberg addressing supporters in Florida, and this is live coverage of Super Tuesday from NPR News.
BLOOMBERG: Now, you've all heard our campaign slogan, Mike will get it done. Well, let me tell you what the it is. It means winning this November and sending Donald Trump back to Mara Lago permanently.
BLOOMBERG: But that's just the beginning because getting it done means finally providing health insurance to every American who lacks it. Getting it done means passing common-sense gun-safety laws that protect our children and communities. Getting it done means making America a global leader in the fight against climate change.
BLOOMBERG: Getting it done means creating good jobs with higher wages.
BLOOMBERG: Getting it done means addressing discrimination and inequality.
BLOOMBERG: Getting it done means creating a path to citizenship and finally fixing our broken immigration system.
BLOOMBERG: And getting it done means protecting a woman's right to choose.
BLOOMBERG: Our campaign is a fight for America's ideals and values.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: You're listening to Mike Bloomberg, and this is live Special Coverage of Super Tuesday from NPR News. We'll be right back.
SHAPIRO: We're going to go now to NPR's Sue Davis who is there with the Bloomberg campaign. And, Sue, this was the night that Bloomberg sunk hundreds of millions of dollars into. So far, what does he have to show for it?
SUSAN DAVIS (BYLINE): Well not much, Ari. A lot of the states that he tried to compete in most strongly, states with lots of college-educated voters, places like Virginia and North Carolina, pretty quickly called for Joe Biden. Pretty early sign that Mike Bloomberg is probably not going to have a very good evening and is not expected to win in any of the 14 states having contests tonight. And his campaign manager this evening was talking to reporters and really setting a very different tone. Clearly, Mike Bloomberg on stage right now sounds very optimistic. But his campaign is telling us that they're going to reassess the path ahead once all the votes are counted this evening.
SHAPIRO: And does that mean he may not be in the race after tonight?
DAVIS: They did not rule that out. The only thing that Kevin Sheekey, his campaign manager, laid out was that he would not drop out tonight. He said absolutely not. Bloomberg is headed back to New York this evening. He is technically - he already has his schedule. He's supposed to go out to Michigan and Pennsylvania. He's got some Florida events, but those things can change. And he hasn't really invested more campaign-ad spending going forward. They have a decision to make. They also made clear that if he is not the nominee, he's going to continue to spend the resources that he has to get the Democrat elected. And Kevin Sheekey said that he believes that if it is not Michael Bloomberg, it will be Joe Biden.
SHAPIRO: All right.
DAVIS: If it is Bernie Sanders, he said he would also put his resources beside him.
SHAPIRO: That is NPR's Sue Davis with the Bloomberg campaign, where it is very noisy after Bloomberg addressed supporters on what looks to be a disappointing evening for him after he spent hundreds of millions of dollars on Super Tuesday. You're listening to live Special Coverage from NPR News. We'll be right back.
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SHAPIRO: You're listening to Special Coverage of Super Tuesday from NPR News. I'm Ari Shapiro.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: And I'm Lulu Garcia-Navarro. Polls have just closed in Arkansas, and voting ends soon in Colorado, Minnesota and parts of Texas.
SHAPIRO: Former Vice President Joe Biden has the lead so far in the South, where he hopes his strength with black voters will propel him to victory. He's won Alabama, where one-third of the electorate is black.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Senator Bernie Sanders has won Vermont, as expected. We're waiting for calls in Maine, Massachusetts, Oklahoma and Tennessee, where the polls have already closed.
And we're going to bring in now the mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio. He's the former Democratic candidate for president, and he endorsed Senator Bernie Sanders. Good evening.
BILL DE BLASIO (MAYOR, NEW YORK CITY, NY): Good evening, Lulu.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: So Biden won in Virginia, Alabama, North Carolina. Those are big wins. Your response.
DE BLASIO: It's a two-person race. It's Bernie Sanders versus Joe Biden. I mean, tonight, look, the real big action is coming later. The largest state in the country by far, California, the second-largest state in the country by far, Texas and the biggest delegate hauls are up ahead. I think Bernie's going to be very, very strong in both those states, and I think what it means, it sets up a clear two-person race.
No other candidates are really registering at this point, and it's a stark, stark contrast. I think Joe Biden will be the candidate of the status quo, of the establishment. Bernie Sanders will be the candidate of change. And, look, you've got...
DE BLASIO: ...A week from now, big states, the week after that, you know, even more big states - so a lot to play out here.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: But Bernie Sanders doesn't have the African American vote, which is key. They're the backbone of the Democratic Party. Isn't that a problem going forward?
DE BLASIO: Listen. Here's what we know so far. Bernie Sanders clearly has performed very, very well in the Latino community, with younger voters, with working-class voters. It's too early to say where he's going to go with the African American vote outside the South. The Southern states have their own reality. We're going to see in California and Texas, two states that have major, major African American communities, how he does there.
But what's clear is Bernie has been assembling a multigenerational, multiracial coalition. And what's clear is he still has up ahead tonight the two biggest states in the country, where he's had an extraordinary ground game for the last year and has a ton of enthusiasm on his side.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Quick question - would you like to see Elizabeth Warren drop out of the race?
DE BLASIO: Look, I was a candidate myself. Every candidate has to make that decision very personally. I think she's an extraordinary leader. I would like to see the two great progressives in America, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, ultimately combine their forces, combine their delegates in common cause. I hope that will happen. But she has to make that decision in her own time.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: We're going to bring in now Domenico Montanaro, NPR's senior political editor, and Mara Liasson, NPR national political correspondent to talk with us with Bill de Blasio. Any questions for Mr. de Blasio?
MARA LIASSON (BYLINE): I have a question for the mayor. Mayor de Blasio, one of the things that Bernie Sanders says is kind of the way he's going to beat Donald Trump is by bringing out millions and millions of new voters, presumably young voters. We just haven't seen that in the contests that we've had so far. Where are they?
DE BLASIO: Look. I think it's a fair question, but I want to strongly suggest that a lot of voters are waiting for things to settle and really are interested in the fight against Donald Trump. In 2016, by contrast - and we know this - unfortunately, our party did not reach, as Obama did in '08 - Obama reached young voters, turned them out, African American voters, turned them out. 2016, that did not happen nor with Latinos and progressives - lots of drop-off. I guarantee if it's Bernie Sanders versus Donald Trump in a general election - well, first of all, we've got almost 60 major national polls showing Bernie Sanders wins versus Donald Trump. But I guarantee there'll be tremendous enthusiasm, particularly among younger voters in that situation. And I think he'll also be transcendent in terms of changing the politics of Latino turnout, which bluntly, the Democratic Party has not done well around the country. Bernie Sanders has shown he knows how to do that.
LIASSON: So even though they're not coming out in big numbers in the primaries, they're going to magically turn out in a general election for Bernie Sanders when they didn't turn out for him in the primaries?
DE BLASIO: I understand. I obviously understand the question. But listen to the difference I'm putting forward here. Primaries are for people who are that much more involved. Primaries also come with having to deal with a number of candidates. I think a lot of Democrats across the board want to see this thing settle out, have not been particularly inspired by 10 people on the stage etc. When it's one-on-one, Democrat versus Donald Trump, it's a whole different discussion.
The difference is I think Bernie is speaking to people's lives much more energetically than mainstream Democrats are. He's actually getting passion from people about things like health care, where you absolutely know he's going to change our health care system. In a general election scenario, I think he has a much greater chance of turning out younger voters, Latino voters, African American voters, progressive voters, than the reality we all experienced painfully in 2016. And he has proven the ability to cross over to a lot of working-class voters that we've lost to Trump in places like Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania. And the polling shows that as well.
MONTANARO: So let me ask you, Mr. Mayor, after tonight - two questions - where do you think Bernie Sanders will do well? You know, you're in New York. Does he win New York? Will he win your home state? And, you know, do you think that if Sanders somehow doesn't wind up with the pledged-delegate lead that you would back Joe Biden?
DE BLASIO: So on the first question, the path to victory - first of all, the two biggest states in the country later on tonight I think will yield very well for Bernie. Going forward a week, I think Michigan and Washington state are even going to be very strong for Bernie. Going ahead a week after that, places like Illinois and Ohio I think offer tremendous opportunity to him. I say he wins New York, absolutely. He has extraordinary presence on the ground in New York. And I think he can turn that into a statewide victory. So he's got a lot he's going to cash in on up ahead. I'm very confident that can add up.
But, look, I'm clear. Whoever is the Democratic nominee, I'm going to support them. I think whoever has the most votes should be the nominee. That should be the simple concept here. We should avoid this being a choice by the brokered convention, the establishment, the power brokers. This should be about who has the most votes. And I say that, as a Bernie Sanders supporter, I'll live by that standard either way, but that's the standard I think will yield in favor of Bernie.
MONTANARO: Is that votes or delegates?
DE BLASIO: It's votes that extrapolate delegates, as opposed to if there is a clear plurality for a candidate, the notion that the convention could deliver a nomination to someone else. I think that's very, very disturbing. I think whoever, at the end of the day, has won the most votes...
GARCIA-NAVARRO: What does a clear...
DE BLASIO: ...And I do think...
GARCIA-NAVARRO: ...Plurality look like...
DE BLASIO: ...It correlates to delegates.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: ...Though? Is that, you know, plus-one? I mean, what does a clear plurality look like look?
DE BLASIO: Look. Fair question. If it's razor-thin, that's a different equation potentially. I'm saying if we clearly have one candidate who has outperformed the other - and again, I am absolutely stipulating a two-person race. I believe in a matter of days, potentially, it could be a literal two-person race. I think functionally it already is. If one or the other clearly has outperformed the other before you ever get to the superdelegates, we should do this based on democracy, whoever has the most electoral strength through the primary process.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: I'd like to ask you about your predecessor, Mike Bloomberg. How do you think he's done?
DE BLASIO: I think no one in the history of the republic has ever come close to spending this kind of money, and it's not getting him a whole lot. And I think this is really actually affirmational of our democracy. We - a lot of your listeners, I think, would agree with me. We've been pained the last few years to see our democracy under assault.
Well, here's a different kind of assault. One of the richest people on Earth, literally, trying to buy the election outright with the kind of money that no campaign has ever amassed from any sources, and it didn't work. I mean, this is actually an amazing moment for our democracy.
That first debate - and I give Elizabeth Warren in particular tremendous credit for raising Michael Bloomberg's contradictions. That first debate had more impact than hundreds of millions of dollars of advertising. And all of the pundits in the world who loves to tell you about the power of paid media, I think they've all gotten a comeuppance here. The people are actually paying a lot of attention, and Michael Bloomberg could not answer fundamental charges like, why did you do a racist policy of stop and Frisk? And why have you treated women in such a derogatory fashion?
GARCIA-NAVARRO: We should say you've been coming after him pretty hard on Twitter.
DE BLASIO: Unquestionably, and listen. I'm not - it's not even in the sense of being a partisan of Bernie Sanders, which I am. I was one of the chief opponents to Michael Bloomberg when he was in office, and I ran on a platform to undo a huge percent of what he did. And that's what I've been doing for six years. But to this point, the people in New York City rejected his policies when they elected me. But I almost thought he was going to get away with airbrushing history. And the stop-and-frisk issue really caused people all over the country to examine what happened. And they found what he did to be inappropriate.
LIASSON: Mr. Mayor, can I ask you another type of...
DE BLASIO: Sure.
LIASSON: ...Bloomberg question? I mean, putting aside how he's doing as a candidate - doesn't look like he's doing so well - he might turn out to be an extremely important factor in the general election because he has said no matter who's the nominee, he's going to spend whatever it takes to defeat Donald Trump. Now, Bernie Sanders has said, I don't want his money. I don't want his help. Do you think that Bloomberg should try to help the Democratic nominee or he should stand down? Do you want - you want nothing to do with his money at all.
DE BLASIO: Oh, no, no, no, no. Allow me to be practical...
DE BLASIO: ...In the name of the republic. No, no. He - look, I...
LIASSON: 'Cause Bernie doesn't want his help.
DE BLASIO: And I'm going to respectfully disagree with Bernie on this. I - I'm someone who has real differences with Michael Bloomberg, but I can tell you when he's done something right. And at the time he made that pledge - and it was very important when he not only said it, but specified if it was Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren - he's had beef with both of them - that if either one of them won, he would still extend the same offer. I thought that was actually a very positive thing, and I commended him for it.
Of course, we need all hands on deck to beat Donald Trump. I respect Bernie, and it is very consistent with Bernie's values to say he doesn't want that kind of support. Obviously, that support could go any number of other kindred places to the Democratic Party and all sorts of other allied organizations rather than directly to a campaign, but...
GARCIA-NAVARRO: We'll have to leave it there.
DE BLASIO: Well, I say we take it.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Well, he hasn't ruled it out. That is Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City joining us as well as Domenico Montanaro and Mara Liasson. Thank you all very much.
DE BLASIO: Thank you.
SHAPIRO: And we're joined now by NPR's Sarah McCammon, who is spending tonight with Democrats in Charlotte, N.C. Hi, Sarah.
SARAH MCCAMMON (BYLINE): Hi there.
SHAPIRO: I know you've been doing a lot of reporting in Charlotte over the last week or two. This is a state that's been called for Joe Biden. It could also be a key swing state in the fall.
SHAPIRO: Given what you've heard from voters over the last week, were you surprised by tonight's results?
MCCAMMON: Not really. I mean, what I've heard from voters parallels so much of what we've heard really all over the country - just a ton of indecision and division among Democrats and that huge debate that's going on about the future direction of the party. But I do think the endorsements that Biden got in recent days and his success in South Carolina likely played a role here.
I did meet some voters this evening who were lined up to vote in Charlotte and said they were still deciding, but at least one of them was leaning toward Biden because she felt like he could win. And tonight, I met a gathering of local Democrats here in Charlotte, as you said, and I've heard more of this division. Deborah Winokur (ph) told me she is not pleased with Biden's win tonight here in North Carolina.
DEBORAH WINOKUR (NC VOTER): I'm really disgusted because I wanted Bernie Sanders to win or Elizabeth Warren. And he stands for nothing. What does he stand for? Zero. I have no idea why he's - why he's even running.
MCCAMMON: And she said she likes Sanders' or Warren's positions on issues like health care, and she's unsure if she'll vote for Biden in November if he's the nominee. But then I talked to Tim Ahern (ph), who was standing there listening to this conversation. He is very pleased to see Biden win.
TIM AHERN (NC VOTER): I think he can beat Trump. I think he's the best guy we've got to beat Trump. I don't think the others have a shot of beating Trump.
MCCAMMON: And I asked him about the criticism of Biden by some of the progressives in the party, and Ahern said, I think it's progressive to get things done.
SHAPIRO: You know, Mike Bloomberg put a real emphasis - meaning cash - in the Charlotte area, and it looks like he might wind up in third place in North Carolina. What impression did his campaign make with voters there?
MCCAMMON: You know, this doesn't surprise me. I, anecdotally, did not meet a lot of voters who supported Bloomberg. I've been here a lot in the past couple of weeks. When I stopped by his campaign office tonight, it was very quiet. His staff told me that volunteers were out canvassing, but it was really quiet on the evening of the primary.
He did make a huge push here - spent something like $15 million on ads as of last week in North Carolina, opened his first field office in the country here in Charlotte, more than 100 paid staff in the state. And this is a really unique strategy, to skip the early primaries and focus on Super Tuesday on states like North Carolina. But as these results come in tonight, it is looking more and more questionable how much that strategy is paying off for Bloomberg.
SHAPIRO: And then on the other side of the aisle, you were at President Trump's rally last night. How is his campaign focusing on North Carolina?
MCCAMMON: Right. He was here in Charlotte, and he has, of course, been making kind of a tradition of going to states with key Democratic primaries the night before Democrats go to the polls, holding these big rallies. Trump used last night to attack the front-runners for the Democratic nomination. He mocked Biden and Sanders and also took some jabs at Bloomberg.
And, you know, he won North Carolina by a little more than three points in 2016, but this is a diverse state with a growing number of younger people moving here, especially to the Charlotte area. And so there's also a tough Senate race and a gubernatorial race this year, so North Carolina will really be a battleground on many levels in 2020. I would expect to see a lot more attention from both the Trump campaign and the Republican Party regardless of who the Democrats nominate to run against him in November.
SHAPIRO: Busy year ahead for NPR's Sarah McCammon, who is watching results come in tonight with Democrats in Charlotte, N.C., a state that was called pretty early this evening for former Vice President Joe Biden. Lots more to come. Stay with us.
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GARCIA-NAVARRO: You're listening to live Special Coverage of Super Tuesday from NPR News. We're joined now by Miles Parks, who covers election security for NPR. Hi.
MILES PARKS (BYLINE): Hello.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: So how's it been going?
PARKS: Actually, quite well. I think there's been some isolated reports - California, Texas, Minnesota - of specific technology issues. In Minnesota, we saw a website there that was supposed to help people find their polling place go down for a few minutes. California, we've seen some really long lines related to some issues with some connectivity issues with these new systems they've installed.
But overall, I was at a briefing today with the Department of Homeland Security, and they said they just seemed thrilled about how things were going. They had a war room set up with election experts, voting vendors. They were all kind of watching, talking to people, on the phone with people in the states, and they basically said, we have no evidence that there's been any sort of scaled-up cyber - attempts...
GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's good news.
PARKS: ...At cyberattacks. It's great news. That being said, it's not perfect. You know, you have to remember we're in March. We've got a long election year ahead of us that election administrators are going to be in charge of protecting. And there's still some agitation happening on social media, which is...
GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's what I was going to ask you about because, of course, a lot of this does play out on social media because they want people to sometimes not come out to vote...
GARCIA-NAVARRO: ...To get agitated. I mean, there's a big fight, obviously, brewing between Bernie and Biden. So what have you seen?
PARKS: Well, we're still seeing the same thing we've seen for the past couple of years. And the Department of Homeland Security said the same thing. What the director of the cybersecurity and information security agency said today was the Russians never left. This has been going on consistently for four years. They're trying to push polarization, and it's happening today. They haven't seen any acute action, is the way they said, any acute increase today on Election Day.
But we were - I've been hearing from voter advocacy groups saying they've seen a lot of misinformation on social media. And they also have put in a complaint with the FEC about a robocall that went out to some voters saying the election is on Wednesday and not on Tuesday. So all that sorts of information - whether it's where to vote, how to vote - all the federal agencies are saying you should go to your local elections office to get that information. Don't get it from your neighbor on Twitter or on Facebook...
PARKS: ...Or anything like that.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: You know, when we're looking at this, do you think that this will be deemed a success? Obviously there were a lot of problems early on with the caucuses. Is this now something that the Democrats can say, listen, we do know how to vote in private? (Laughter).
PARKS: Well, I think it's important to remember - right? - that today, all of the elections that have been run - most of the - I should say most of the - all the elections in the continental U.S. were run by election administrators, whereas in Iowa and in Nevada, these were caucuses run by party officials. So now we've got, you know - what the election administrators will tell you kind of off the record is, now we've got professionals running the show. And so that's a really good thing.
These are people who have, oftentimes, decades of experience. And that's going to be the case going forward in most of the elections. So we should expect what happened in South Carolina, what happened today - probably a smoother process because you're not seeing technology, basically, that's never been tested being used in a high profile election.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's NPR's Miles Parks, who covers election security. Thank you so much.
PARKS: Thank you, Lulu.
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GARCIA-NAVARRO: And this is live Special Coverage of Super Tuesday from NPR News. We'll be right back.
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SHAPIRO: It's Super Tuesday, and voters in 14 states have spent the day casting ballots. From NPR News, this is live Special Coverage. I'm Ari Shapiro.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: And I'm Lulu Garcia-Navarro. Former Vice President Joe Biden has won Virginia, North Carolina and Alabama. Senator Bernie Sanders has won Vermont and - this is new - Colorado.
SHAPIRO: Other candidates are still pushing on. Here's former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg in Florida tonight.
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BLOOMBERG: Our plans are a sensible, workable and achievable. And we have the record and the resources to defeat Trump in swing states the Democrats lost in 2016 like Florida.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Senator Elizabeth Warren also spoke to supporters.
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WARREN: This is our moment to choose courage over cynicism. This is our moment to dream big, fight hard and win.
SHAPIRO: Stay with us for more results and analysis throughout the night.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: And we're joined now by Domenico Montanaro, our senior political editor. Let's talk about Colorado. What do we know?
MONTANARO: Colorado - Bernie Sanders has won Colorado according to the Associated Press. And, you know, we talked about as we moved west tonight that there could be the possibility that Bernie Sanders does better. He was supposed to do fairly well in California. They're also banking on Texas. Why is that? Because of Latinos. He did very well in Nevada with Latinos.
And Colorado is one of those places where the Latino vote was expected to be a key factor or at least one key factor. Not as many as in California or Texas, but tonight it looks like about 1 in 5 voters were Latino. And Bernie Sanders overall looks like he won nonwhite voters by a very significant margin, something like 30 points according to the exit polls...
GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's huge.
MONTANARO: Yeah, it's huge - according to the exit polls that are conducted by Edison Research and paid for by some of the big TV networks. That is a huge number. And if that continues through Texas, through California, we're going to start to see the narrative sort of shift a little bit tonight as we head into tonight and into tomorrow about who's got what delegates.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: When we look at this, it does look like Biden has strength in the South with African American voters, and as you mentioned Bernie Sanders has got strength with Latino voters in the West. You know, if that plays out like that, what is - where does that go from here? (Laughter).
MONTANARO: You know, if you combine the two, that's a pretty good coalition to win the nomination.
MONTANARO: But that is a divide, clearly, and that is going to be a thing that's going to have to play itself out. I am watching Texas, though. Let's see where that winds up being 'cause I think that that could be the state that is the narrative shifter or changer tonight. If Bernie Sanders blows out the margins there, I think we know what that narrative is. It's kind of similar to what was coming in, and if Joe Biden holds his own or wins Texas, I think that could be what is the pivot point for the narrative and for the other kinds of endorsements and establishment figures who might come out in his favor.
Remember, we have 60% of the delegates to go...
MONTANARO: ...After tonight, including a lot of places, by the way, at the end of April, that are pretty favorable to Joe Biden if he can continue to hold some of that momentum.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yeah, we've got a long night ahead of us. That's Domenico Montanaro, senior political editor. Thank you.
MONTANARO: You're welcome.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: And now we're joined by Danielle Kurtzleben, and she is with Elizabeth Warren in Detroit. Hi.
DANIELLE KURTZLEBEN (BYLINE): Hello.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: OK. Warren is not in a Super Tuesday state. Michigan votes next Tuesday. She spoke to supporters earlier. What did she say?
KURTZLEBEN: You know, tonight didn't feel so much like a results-celebration party or anything like that. It was a very much a vintage-Warren stump speech. She did a lot of the speech that we heard early on on the trail really about inequality and working families. But one big, notable difference. She started it off with a piece giving voters some advice about electability, saying, really don't strategize. Just vote who you like.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: It's interesting in part because Massachusetts is a key voting state. And I'm just wondering what their expectations are there.
KURTZLEBEN: Well, you know, ahead of tonight, they had said that they really expected some big delegate pickups in a lot of these big states and presumably Massachusetts as well. But, you know, looking at the results right now, I realize we don't - we only have very few votes in for Massachusetts, 8%. But right now, looking at our results, she has 24% of Massachusetts, a little ways behind Sanders and Biden.
KURTZLEBEN: So even in the state where she's a senator, she's not ahead at least right now - of course, lots of votes still to come in.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: So, Danielle, looking forward, what's your strategy then? I mean, she insists she's soldiering on.
KURTZLEBEN: Right. She does. She put out a travel schedule for post-Super Tuesday just tonight, coming back to Michigan, going to Arizona, going to several states. And of course, her campaign also put out a memo just this past weekend saying, listen. We don't expect anybody to get an outright majority of delegates. So we are pretty much looking forward to a contested convention in Milwaukee in July. So that is what they say they're basing their strategy around right now. Of course...
GARCIA-NAVARRO: The idea that she would be some sort of consensus candidate if no one can back one side or the other.
KURTZLEBEN: That seems to be it, yes. But we do not have further information on exactly what that strategy at the convention would look like.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: What states are you watching particularly closely as the results come in? I mean, if she hasn't won Massachusetts, what particular electorate might be amenable to Warren now?
KURTZLEBEN: I mean, this is a pretty simple answer, but California because, first of all, it has a lot of delegates. Second of all, you can't tell a lot from one rally. But looking last night, she got a very warm reception in Los Angeles and doing some Latino outreach there, especially. But also, you know, listen. In recent polls, she had been right on the 15% bubble there, that 15% threshold you have to reach to get delegates.
So I'm wondering how well she does, and honestly a thing I've also been wondering since Pete Buttigieg dropped out as well as Amy Klobuchar, but Warren and Pete Buttigieg shared a sort of constituency of educated, white voters. So I wonder - yes, he endorsed Biden. But if maybe some of those swung to Warren because that is a constituency that has seemed to like her.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's Danielle Kurtzleben who is with Elizabeth Warren on the campaign trail. Thank you so much.
KURTZLEBEN: Yes. Thank you.
SHAPIRO: And we have a call to make. Former Vice President Joe Biden has won the Oklahoma Democratic primary. This is breaking news. The Associated Press is projecting that Biden will win the Oklahoma primary. And we are joined now by Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger, a Democrat from Virginia. She is in her first term, and she has just endorsed Biden today. Welcome.
ABIGAIL SPANBERGER (D-VA, REP): Thank you very much for having me.
SHAPIRO: Well, let me first just get your reaction to Biden's decisive early win in your home state tonight.
SPANBERGER: Well, my initial reaction is I'm not surprised. I think that Senator Biden - or excuse me - Vice President Biden spoke to an earnest desire that people have across the commonwealth of Virginia, to have someone who leads with their heart, who focuses on strong policy, who talks about uplifting all Americans. And I think that that's what the vice president did, and I think particularly in his South Carolina speech, that passion was evident.
SHAPIRO: Some of your moderate colleagues from Virginia in Congress - Representative Elaine Lauria, Jennifer Wexton - endorsed Biden earlier, sharply criticized Sanders. And that could have had an impact on the outcome of the voting. What kept you from doing the same? You waited until today to offer your endorsement.
SPANBERGER: Well, I actually waited until the polls closed to offer my endorsement...
SPANBERGER: ...For a couple of reasons. One, across our districts, the level of enthusiasm on the ground for all of the candidates has been impressive. People have been door-knocking and phone-banking and, you know, excited about their individual candidates. And I didn't want my personal preference to weigh on their minds as they headed to the polls. And in fact, actually a couple weeks ago, I cast my ballot early 'cause we're in Washington this week. I cast my ballot early for Senator Klobuchar. And so I didn't want to muddle the waters, at least not in my district, knowing how excited everyone is. And, you know, other people's districts are different. But I really wanted people to go to the polls and vote for the person that they felt was the right choice without having my opinion weigh on them. And, you know, and after my dear friend Senator Klobuchar left the race, you know, I was excited to get - I am excited to be supportive of Vice President Biden. And I look...
SHAPIRO: Let me ask...
SPANBERGER: ...Forward to running alongside him.
SHAPIRO: Let me ask how you feel about Senator Sanders because you flipped your district by just a few thousand votes, and Republicans are...
SPANBERGER: Six thousand. (Laughter).
SHAPIRO: Six thousand, right. Republicans are trying to win it back. Do you fear that Bernie Sanders as a nominee could alienate some of the suburban voters who were key to your winning your district?
SPANBERGER: I mean, my real priority here is winning the presidency. And for many of us who stepped forward in 2018 to run, it was because we were responding to what we saw nationwide as a challenge to democratic values and the rights of Americans and the, you know - the priorities of Americans. And so I, you know - I'm a supporter of a public-option health care plan. I'm a supporter of strengthening the ACA. I'm a supporter of making college loans more affordable. But I'm not a supporter of single-payer. I'm not a supporter of free college. And these are the ideas and the policy priorities that, generally speaking, align with the folks in my district.
SHAPIRO: Mara Liasson has a question. She's here in the studio.
LIASSON: Hi, Congresswoman...
SHAPIRO: Mara, go ahead.
LIASSON: ...Spanberger. I'm Mara Liasson. Thank you for being with us.
SPANBERGER: Hi, Mara.
LIASSON: Hi. I have a question about what you want to see from the Biden campaign going forward. There are a lot of people who have been supporters of him - first and foremost, Jim Clyburn - who have been very candid, you could say even brutal, about the way he's performed on the stump - last couple of days being the exception to that. What do you want to see the Biden campaign do differently and better going forward?
SPANBERGER: Well, I think I want to see the Biden campaign build on what Joe Biden's strengths are. Joe Biden's strengths are his seemingly limitless empathy, his ability to connect with people, his ability to talk about what's at the heart of people's concerns and hopes and dreams. And when you pair that with good policy and you recognize that when you're uplifting and creating opportunity in our community, you're connecting with people - you're helping people. You know, I want to see the passion that he has for the individual brought to the policy that's going to help that individual.
SHAPIRO: Domenico Montanaro, I believe, has a question as well. Domenico.
MONTANARO: I wonder about Senator Sanders. If you know him very well and whether or not running on a ballot with him at the top of the ticket makes you and some of your colleagues who are more moderate candidates who won and helped win the House in 2018, if you're nervous or if you welcome Senator Sanders being at the top of the ticket.
SPANBERGER: I mean (laughter) not a lot - I'm a former CIA case officer. Not a lot makes me nervous these days. I think what I would say is, you know, I have the things that I'm focused on, and I'm running - I intend to be running against who the Republican nominee is in my congressional district. And, you know, in any case, it would be - it would be desirable for me to be aligned on policy with the person at the top of the ticket because it's just one less conversation to have. You know, when I'm differentiating, well, this is what, you know, the presidential nominee believes, but this is where I differ, you know, then it's - you're talking about differences as opposed to kind of joint visions for where the country goes. So, you know...
MONTANARO: When people attack him as a socialist, does that affect you down-ballot in your race?
SPANBERGER: The reality is in my race in 2018, they attacked me for anything any other Democrat did. They attacked me. They constantly looped me in with, you know, name the kind of top Democrat at the time. In my debate, my opponent called me Nancy Pelosi 26 times. You know, they're going to nationalize the race. So that's going to - that is going to happen, frankly, regardless of who's at the top of the ticket.
SHAPIRO: That is Abigail Spanberger, a Democratic congresswoman from Virginia. Thank you for joining us tonight.
SPANBERGER: Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.
SHAPIRO: Mara and Domenico, let's take a moment to just recap what we've learned so far tonight because we entered the evening with a lot of questions to answer, and some of them have been answered. What have we learned?
LIASSON: We have learned about the power of earned media. Jeez. I mean...
SHAPIRO: As opposed to paid media.
LIASSON: As opposed to paid media. We saw Michael Bloomberg spend half a billion dollars on paid media, and we saw Joe Biden spend only about $233,000 on ads in Virginia. He won that state resoundingly. He also won a bunch of other states where he not only hadn't spent very much - North Carolina and Alabama - he spent about combined, like, $500,000 on media. And he only - we don't know what's happening in California. He only had one field office in that state. So we've been told that field organization, grassroots organizing is the most important thing. Maybe earned media is more important.
SHAPIRO: And, Domenico, you've been looking at exit polls. What reasons did voters in those states give for making this break to Biden?
MONTANARO: Late deciders - I mean, late deciders are a huge factor here. I mean, in a lot of places, half of the voters were late deciders, decided in the last few days.
SHAPIRO: And many of them influenced by the coronavirus, interestingly.
MONTANARO: You know, that was really interesting, in a couple of states, seeing that more than half said that they were - that the coronavirus was an important factor in their vote. And they overwhelmingly went with Joe Biden as their candidate. And I find that really fascinating. I mean, maybe a place like Virginia is already sort of leaning toward Biden, but, you know, normally experience doesn't win out in elections. It's change that wins out in elections. But when a country is faced with a crisis, then experience tends to crop up higher as something that voters want.
SHAPIRO: Just briefly New York Mayor Bill de Blasio called it a two-man race at this point. Do you think that's premature?
SHAPIRO: All right. You're listening to live Special Coverage of Super Tuesday. Some stations are going to take a brief break now. This is NPR News.
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GARCIA-NAVARRO: And we're going to go now to Ashley Lopez, political reporter at KUT in Austin, Texas. Hey there.
ASHLEY LOPEZ (BYLINE): Hey.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Texas - really important state, second only to California. What have you seen so far? What's the turnout been?
LOPEZ: Well, I mean, people are still in line at the polls, and so the polls close at 7. And lines here in Austin and Houston, I heard even in Dallas, there are people still queued up, which means there are a lot of people still casting their ballots. There's a little bit of excitement going on, and I think the best, in terms of numbers - the best numbers we have are early-voting numbers.
And compared to 2016, Democrats are definitely seeing a surge. About 2 million Texans voted early in those two weeks of early voting, and it's split almost half, like a million Democrats and a million Republicans. And that's kind of significant in Texas 'cause usually Republicans blow out Democrats in primaries.
LOPEZ: But again, there's still a lot of people voting. So who knows? I mean, here in Austin, just as many people voted before the polls closed today as did in those two weeks of early voting.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: You know, Democrats, as you're sort of intimating, see Texas as a state that might be turning their way - you know, maybe not blue, but maybe purple. And, you know, the demographic shift is a big part of that. There are many Latinos there, and they're voting in a more pronounced fashion. What are you seeing in terms of where they might be voting? Because Latinos are different in Texas than they are in California. They tend to be more conservative in Texas.
LOPEZ: Yeah, and, you know, under the Trump administration, that's been changing a little bit. You know, Latinos are voting more for Democrats than they have in the past. You know, we don't have good exit polling for Latinos. I mean, I think this is true nationally, but like, in Texas...
GARCIA-NAVARRO: I wonder why.
LOPEZ: (Laughter) Yeah. I mean, this is a signal to Democrats that they probably should be spending more money on things like that to figure out, like, where the best place to put your resources are, is, like, an argument I think a lot of political strategists would make. But, you know, they've been voting slightly more, moderately more under the Trump administration.
And, you know, also as more young people are voting, it's also brought in more Latinos because Texas's young - like, young population is very Latino, too. So that's been really interesting. But, you know, in terms of geography, like, the place that's been really interesting for - you know, for Democrats to see a lot of wins is in the suburbs. I mean, that's a national story. But, like...
LOPEZ: ...There are a lot of suburbs around these big cities in Dallas and Houston where Democrats have been making pretty significant inroads, and I think that's where actually Republicans are the most concerned.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Well, you've been speaking to people, and just briefly, what have they been telling you about what matters to them?
LOPEZ: Well, health care is a big issue here in Texas for Democrats, specifically. And immigration, if you talk to Republican voters, that's still the thing that's sort of, like, leading them to the polls and is their big issue.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: That is Ashley Lopez, political reporter at KUT in Austin, Texas. Thank you very much.
LOPEZ: Thank you.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: And you're listening to live Special Coverage of Super Tuesday from NPR News. We'll be right back.
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GARCIA-NAVARRO: You're listening to Special Coverage of Super Tuesday from NPR News. I'm Lulu Garcia-Navarro.
SHAPIRO: And I'm Ari Shapiro. Polls have closed in almost every state that votes today. Colorado and Vermont have gone to Senator Bernie Sanders. Alabama, Virginia, North Carolina and most recently Oklahoma go to former Vice President Joe Biden. An enthusiastic crowd out West in Southern California is waiting for the vice president to speak.
UNIDENTIFIED CROWD #1 (CROWD): (Chanting) Let's go, Joe. Let's go, Joe. Let's go, Joe.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Polls are open for nearly two more hours in California, which has 415 pledged delegates up for grabs. Senator Sanders has an extensive ground game there and a lead in the polls. Meanwhile, President Trump has breezed through the Republican primaries as expected.
SHAPIRO: And we are joined now by NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith, who has been following the Trump campaign. Hi, Tam.
TAMARA KEITH (BYLINE): Hi.
SHAPIRO: Interestingly, Trump seems to have been following the Democratic campaign schedule. Tell us about what he's been doing.
KEITH: Yeah, he's been bird-dogging them. He's been going to the states where they have primaries and holding rallies typically the night before. So he was in North Carolina last night. He was in South Carolina on Friday night, and he's been doing this. He has a bus tour for women for Trump coming up in Michigan. So essentially, his campaign is going where these primaries are.
They're also, though, going to places, you know - he didn't have a rally in California. He is going to places where he hopes to win in November, places where he needs to build support. And what they're doing with these rallies is scooping up data. They are getting a ton of information about everyone who even wants to go to a rally, and not everyone gets a ticket. But everyone gives them their phone number.
SHAPIRO: And technically he's not actually unopposed for the Republican nomination here.
KEITH: That's right. He has an opponent, but it's not really much of a fight. Former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld is still running. I checked in with his campaign. Of course, Massachusetts is a state that was voting today, and President Trump is projected to have won that state among all the others. And Bill Weld will not even get any delegates in the state that he used to be governor of. But his campaign says that he plans to stay in regardless of the result.
SHAPIRO: Tam, you covered the Trump campaign four years ago when it was run on a shoestring. It was an upstart campaign. It was an outsider campaign. He's now the president of the United States. Can you compare the two experiences?
KEITH: These are very different campaigns. The previous campaign was sort of rebels or, you know - it was - they were flying a Millennium Falcon, and they were putting it together with duct tape. And this is different this time. They have this big, sleek office in Northern Virginia. They talk about their data. They are opening storefronts in states with African American populations, in cities with African American voters, trying to win black voters, which is not something they particularly even tried to do last time. They say that they could potentially double their support with black voters.
Now, of course that is up for a lot of debate, and also their support was pretty minimal last time. So doubling it - you know, double not much is still not a ton. But you don't have to do much to sort of change around the margins and help him out in these key states.
SHAPIRO: In the last week, a lot of the White House's attention has been taken up with the coronavirus. How much is that affecting the campaign?
KEITH: Well, so I asked a campaign official about that tonight. Of course, governing is a key part of running for reelection. You know, presidents don't get to choose their crises. And what they are saying is that it hasn't really changed anything yet. And I'll give you a couple of examples of that. Vice President Mike Pence is heading the coronavirus task force, but he still has a pretty busy campaign schedule in the next few days.
President Trump hasn't canceled any rallies. They're not talking about canceling rallies. They say that health officials say, go about your daily lives. Their daily lives are running a campaign and helping the president win reelection. And so they say that they're going to keep doing that. But of course, a big part of President Trump's argument for reelection is the great state of the economy. And he, at campaign rallies for months, has been talking about, look at your 401(k). Look at the stock market. Well, he has dropped his that line.
SHAPIRO: Now he's saying, look at the unemployment rate.
KEITH: Yeah. He still has good numbers to point to, but the stock market is not somewhere that he's pointing right this second. The president has been badgering the Fed to lower interest rates, even after the Fed announced a pretty significant interest rate reduction today...
SHAPIRO: And stocks still fell.
KEITH: Stocks still fell, and President Trump complained that it wasn't enough, that he wants more. He wants them juicing the economy the way other countries do.
SHAPIRO: NPR's White House correspondent Tamara Keith. Thanks, Tam.
KEITH: You're welcome.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: And now we're joined by Ian Russell, former political director for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Good evening.
IAN RUSSELL (FORMER DIRECTOR, DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSIONAL CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE): Good evening. Great to be here.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Well, you are looking at these returns coming in. As a former executive director for the campaign arm of the Democrats, how do these numbers look to you so far?
RUSSELL: I think these numbers are really encouraging for several reasons. First of all, Democrats are fired up. You look at these turnout numbers. Across the board, Democrats are voting in very, very high numbers. I'm hearing from people on the ground that are trying to keep folks in line in Texas to vote because they're lined up ready to cast their votes. The Democratic Party has been focused on one thing for - really for the last 3 1/2 years, but especially for the last year and a half, defeating Donald Trump. And the level of turnout, the level of enthusiasm you're seeing right now is reflective of that. Also it's undeniably a good night for Vice President Biden.
RUSSELL: A lot of Democratic voters were waiting to weigh in. Everybody is an armchair pundit these days, analyzing the latest exit polls, analyzing the latest caucus returns, analyzing who's the best standard bearer against President Trump. You have seen in the last few days - and really was an amazingly choreographed effort in last 48 hours - many Democrats believe that guy is Joe Biden.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: I think one of the main questions, though, here is enthusiasm, yes. But is it enthusiasm for two very different wings of the party, and can the party coalesce around one nominee, whomever that may be?
RUSSELL: I think so. I think the greatest opportunity, the greatest push for unity we have, the chair of our unity commission is Donald J. Trump. I think that Democrats, no matter who our nominee is - and if nothing is done tonight, as you've been reporting, we have weeks probably to go before we even know the results of today - today's vote in California especially. We're in it for the long haul.
But every day when Democrats and Independents and especially a lot of these Democrats - a lot of these voters who lent us their votes 2018 to win the House of Representatives, when they get up in the morning and they see what is happening in the White House and the crisis of confidence they have in the direction that this administration has taken the country, that is the best thing to unify the Democratic Party we could have.
And when the dust settles, whoever our nominee is is going to have to take stock of where in the coalition they need to shore up their support. And that can happen. It happened with Senator Obama versus Senator Clinton. It happened with John Kerry. Going back years, Democrats have been able to unify around the cause of winning.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Michael Bloomberg is just saying now that he will reassess his campaign on Wednesday for the Democratic nomination for president. What does that tell you?
RUSSELL: I think that's a savvy move from a guy who has shown a lot of savvy in his career. He knows the value of a dollar, and he knows a good business decision probably when he sees one. And, you know, he's now broken all sorts of records for spending and has come up very, very short. I think reassessing is probably a smart move as the party seeks to unify to beat Donald Trump in the fall.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: So just looking at where things are at right now, where do you think this is going?
RUSSELL: Well, I think one of the one of the important things - and I was the national political director the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for a number of years - you are seeing Democrats running for down-ballot offices, be it Congress, be it state legislature. Redistricting is at stake right now. The winners of elections at the state level in 2020 will draw maps in 2021 for the next decade.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: So it's an important election.
RUSSELL: Incredibly important election. And there's been a lot of disquiet in the party as different candidates across the spectrum with a level of talent and ability, but bringing very different things to the table in terms of their vision for the party, the direction they want to take the country. There has been an amazing unification that has taken place. We're not fully unified. We don't have a nominee yet.
A lot of us - myself included - waiting to see who comes out of this. But it's very clear that constituent - many large constituencies in the party, like African Americans, suburban voters, especially those that propelled us to our victories in the House 2018 - they're weighing in, and they're weighing in a very large way forward for Vice President Biden. And that's good for those of us who are looking to win not just the White House, but win up and down the ballot for Democrats and set us up for redistricting for the next decade.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's Ian Russell, former political director for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Thank you very much.
RUSSELL: Thank you.
SHAPIRO: And we have another call to make. Former Vice President Joe Biden has won the Tennessee Democratic primary. This is breaking news. The Associated Press is projecting that Biden will win the Tennessee Democratic primary, cementing what looks to be a very good night for him.
Mara Liasson and Ron Elving, I'd like to get you both to reflect on a statement that the Bloomberg campaign manager, Kevin Sheekey, has put out tonight. I won't read you the whole thing, but part of it says (reading) we launched our campaign exactly a hundred days ago. In that incredibly short time, we've built a nationwide coalition. It goes on to say, (reading) we've done something no one thought possible. In just three months, we've gone from 1% in the polls to being a contender for the Democratic nomination.
Mara, Ron, at WPLN News in Nashville, does this sound like a statement from somebody who is going to drop out of the race?
ELVING: It does, rather. And he hasn't mentioned, but something else has happened that no one thought was possible a hundred days ago. And that is the resuscitation of Joe Biden. It was thought by Mike Bloomberg that by now there would be a desperate need for some alternative to Bernie Sanders. And perhaps there is in the minds of many in the Democratic Party, but that's turning out to be Joe Biden and not Mike Bloomberg.
SHAPIRO: And how remarkable is that? I mean, when you think back to New Hampshire and Iowa and how poorly Biden did in those two contests, it's really something to see this turnaround.
LIASSON: It's really something to see this turnaround without - what Biden did after three pretty dismal showings is he had a boffo win in South Carolina. And then he turned in two really good performances on the stump - his victory speech in South Carolina read off a teleprompter, and then the appearance in Texas where he was crisp and coherent. He delivered a very pointed message, really a contrast to the kind of meandering stream-of-consciousness, low-energy campaign events. But what's so interesting about Bloomberg is Bloomberg only got in because Biden looked like he was collapsing. And the left-wing candidates, which Bloomberg didn't think could beat Trump, were surging. What's happened now is that Biden seems to have gotten his sea legs under him. At least voters have decided he is the best candidate to take on Trump for now, or at least either he or Sanders are the two best candidates. And Bloomberg's maybe - we'll end up with Bloomberg's highest and best use, being the second thing he'd said he'd do, which is finance whoever is the Democratic nominee and make sure the Democrats have a level playing field financially to run this election.
SHAPIRO: And all this project cost Bloomberg was half a billion dollars.
LIASSON: Which is like pocket change to him. It's like the money you find in your couch cushions. I just - I don't think of it as - now, there's a lot of gloating - ha ha ha. The billionaire couldn't buy, you know, any victories. But in fact, Mike Bloomberg stayed out, based on a rational decision, when Biden looked strong in the polls. He got in based on a rational decision, when it looked like Biden was collapsing. And now he says he's going to be spending his money in the most effective way possible to defeat Donald Trump.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: And ultimately, Ron, question about Bloomberg's money and all those ads - could it have helped Democrats generally? I mean, the message was a Democratic message, ultimately, that it was going to be spread out over the airwaves to lots of maybe undecided voters.
ELVING: Surely did not do the Democrats any harm and probably won't going forward. And it's hard to overstate how much Joe Biden needs it because he just hasn't raised money. In South Carolina, for example, where he did win that smashing victory, as Mara said, he was outspent something like 25 to 1, by just one other candidate, Tom Steyer, who wound up with very little of the vote and dropped out. So Joe Biden has been doing this...
GARCIA-NAVARRO: And he's got...
ELVING: ...On a shoestring and on earned media and on the fact that he was Barack Obama's vice president.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: He's got one office in California, I think.
LIASSON: Right, but remember, he was Barack Obama's vice president. When he started the race and he was the head - at the head of the polls for months and months and months. He was still Barack Obama's vice president when he seemed to collapse in the polls. So what has changed? What changed is that he finally won and won really big.
You know, I remember in 2008 when African American voters in South Carolina were waiting to see if Barack Obama could win with white voters in Iowa. This year, African American voters in South Carolina - I'm sorry - this year, white voters in the rest of the country were waiting to see if Joe Biden could win with African American voters in South Carolina.
ELVING: Isn't that remarkable? And we should say...
ELVING: ...Four days ago - four days ago, Mara, Joe Biden had never won a primary in his life.
LIASSON: In his life after trying two other times...
ELVING: He'd run for president three times...
LIASSON: ...Over 30...
ELVING: ...Three times, and he had never won a primary. And as of now, it looks like he's going to win seven just today, just tonight.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: You're listening to live Special Coverage of Super Tuesday from NPR News.
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SHAPIRO: We're going to go now to Colorado where Bente Birkeland, political reporter for Colorado Public Radio, is at a Biden event in Denver. Hi, Bente.
BENTE BIRKELAND (BYLINE): Hi, Ari.
SHAPIRO: So you and I spent the last week together reporting in Colorado for the NPR project Where Voters Are. We spent a lot of time talking to people who today cast their votes, and the state went for Bernie Sanders. Does that reflect what you heard from the conversations that you and I had?
BIRKELAND: I think from the conversations we had, we heard Democrats struggling with the choices they may make, across the spectrum of who people were going to support. But based on how well Sanders did in Colorado in 2016 and the caucuses here where he won by about 20 points, people were expecting that Sanders would continue to do well. He held a rally in Colorado in mid-February. It had to be moved to a larger venue because there was so much interest.
SHAPIRO: This is interestingly one of the states that switched from caucuses to primaries, something that we may see more states doing up ahead.
BIRKELAND: Yes, and we opened up that process, and unaffiliated voters could participate. We saw a really big turnout, and we're a state that mails ballots to people. And so folks have been voting over a number of days, not just on the primary day.
SHAPIRO: What are the issues that Colorado voters have told you are most important to them?
BIRKELAND: For Democratic voters, No. 1 is getting Trump out of office, no matter what it takes, definitely differences in who they think the best person is to do that. For Biden supporters, they want someone who can unify the country, someone they feel will help these down-ticket races and a person they think that can bring moderates on board or maybe some Republicans who don't really want to vote for President Donald Trump.
Some of the Sanders supporters in particular really like his message. They want change, and they want someone that they're really excited and inspired to vote for.
SHAPIRO: I know gun issues are also very animating there. Colorado passed a red-flag gun law that has stirred up a lot of controversy.
BIRKELAND: Yes, and that's continued to be an issue in Colorado. We've got some divisions within the Democratic Party on whether the state has always done the appropriate level of enforcement there I guess. We've had two lawmakers who were recalled from office for supporting stricter gun laws. That's an issue we expect to come up again during our state's legislative session. So I think we'll see more gun bills, but I haven't heard a lot of voters actually bring that up as one of their top issues when I've been talking to folks.
SHAPIRO: Do you expect that Colorado will be a swing state in November? Historically, it has been, but recently, it looks a little more blue.
BIRKELAND: Yeah, I wish I had the answer to that question. I don't think we totally know. I think for the U.S. Senate race with Republican Cory Gardner, an incumbent who's up for a tough election, yes. At the presidential level, you know, I think it's going to be - time will tell.
SHAPIRO: Although, Trump was just there a couple weeks ago in Colorado Springs holding a rally. So he certainly hopes to turn it red.
BIRKELAND: And Republicans feel like it's definitely in play. Trump did better in Colorado than Romney did. So they see an opening there, and there's a lot - there's an Independent streak in colorado and definitely people who split tickets and don't just vote along party lines.
SHAPIRO: That's Colorado Public Radio political reporter Bente Birkeland at an event for Biden supporters in Denver. Thank you, Bente.
BIRKELAND: Thanks, Ari.
SHAPIRO: And you're listening to live Special Coverage of Super Tuesday from NPR News. We'll be right back.
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SHAPIRO: Former Vice President Joe Biden has won the state of Tennessee. You're listening to Special Coverage of Super Tuesday from NPR News. I'm Ari Shapiro.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: And I'm Lulu Garcia-Navarro. One-third of all pledged delegates are on the line tonight, but many contests are still too close to call - Maine, Massachusetts, Arkansas, Minnesota and Texas.
SHAPIRO: We do know that Senator Bernie Sanders has won two states, Vermont and Colorado. And Biden has come out on top in Tennessee, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Alabama and Virginia.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's a lot. Meanwhile, former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg has won nearly all of the six delegates from America Samoa. And we're joined now by Wade Goodwyn, national correspondent. And you are in Dallas.
WADE GOODWYN (BYLINE): Good evening.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Good evening. Texas is the second-biggest delegate prize in tonight's primaries. What are you watching for?
GOODWYN: Well, the first thing we're looking at of course are the Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden numbers. I mean, after the Iowa caucus, the polls in Texas had the two basically tied. But then about a week ago, Sanders started to pull into the lead. And then came Saturday, when Biden annihilated the rest of the field in South Carolina. And there is a sense that Biden is very much on the rebound in the Lone Star State. You know, the problem for Biden is that Texas had 12 days of early voting, and more than a million Texas Democrats voted already. So lots of Texas Democrats who voted last week for Buttigieg or Klobuchar or even Mike Bloomberg, who might have been Biden voters if they'd waited until today to vote, all those potential voters were lost to Biden.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: And what is turnout looking like there?
GOODWYN: It's good. I mean, right now, Sanders is leading with about 28.6% of the vote. Biden is in second with 22, Bloomberg close behind with 18, Warren with 13. But we've only got 30% of the vote in, and so a lot of big places are still to come. So I think we've got, you know, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Mike Bloomberg. And Sanders and Warren campaigns, they had good boots on the ground. Bloomberg had 130 paid staff and tens of billions of dollars in advertising.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: You know, when we talk about Texas, a lot of people have said that it's going to be very important because it is kind of democratically swinging in that sense that you have people who might vote more conservative and Democrats who might be more liberal. And so it's really unclear which way this is going to go. And also the Latinos there, many of them young, younger Latinos tend to go to Bernie Sanders. You know, what are you seeing?
GOODWYN: That's what we're seeing. We're seeing, you know, the Latino vote, the young, Latino vote is the backbone of Sanders support. But, I mean, look at Austin, Texas. I mean, big numbers for Sanders, not surprisingly, in and around Austin. You know, Biden's doing well in Houston, and Biden is doing well in Dallas. But Sanders is close behind in those places. So you see that Biden is - you know, in places that have, you know, large, black populations of voters, Biden...
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Like Houston.
GOODWYN: Yeah, and Dallas, too. And Biden is doing well there, and Sanders is doing well in the border, El Paso, Austin and Fort Worth. So, you know, it's a real close race here still.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: And I think one of the more interesting things, of course, about Texas is that the suburbs are increasingly Democratic and will be very important.
GOODWYN: You know, all eyes are on, you know, Texas suburban women. Will they give Trump the kind of support that he got in 2016 and carry him to victory? Or are they going to switch over to the Democrats? So, you know, that's one of the things that we'll learn more about tonight. You know, Biden has gotten a lot of endorsements. And I think they've made a difference here, like in South Carolina. They've added up to a strong surge here at the end. He's running second. So, you know, as we've seen in other Southern states, Biden's doing well. But it looks like Texas could well go to Bernie Sanders - too early to tell, however.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: That is NPR's Wade Goodwyn in Dallas, Texas. Thank you so very much.
GOODWYN: It's my pleasure.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: And we're going to stay with Texas. We have on the line representative Joaquin Castro of Texas' 20th in San Antonio. Hello.
JOAQUIN CASTRO (D-TX, REP): Yeah, good to be with you.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Thank you so much for being with us. You endorsed Elizabeth Warren. How are you feeling this evening?
CASTRO: Well, you know, I'm hopeful that she's going to surpass the 15% in Texas and still very hopeful about a lot of the states that are still out - that she'll be able to pick up delegates across the country and go forward from there.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: You know, many have called for her to step aside, that this is now a two-man race with Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden. Why do you think she should press on?
CASTRO: Because I don't see that right now there's anybody that's going to get a majority of the delegates needed to get the nomination - and that means that the race is still very fluid and very dynamic. And by the way, it also changes - the race is changing at this point from week to week. You think about it - the person that won the Iowa caucus, Mayor Buttigieg, has now dropped out. Before the South Carolina primary, some political analysts had left Joe Biden politically for dead. And now he's reemerged. So things can change very quickly.
CASTRO: And even after tonight, they're only going to be about a third of the delegates that have been assigned.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's true. But this Super Tuesday moment definitely has very diverse voters in it. It is more reflective of the Democratic Party as a whole. Elizabeth Warren has yet to prove that she can win big, not only among African Americans but also Latinos.
CASTRO: Well, it's about the accumulation of delegates. And I think after tonight's over, realistically over the next few days, with all these states voting and the tallies coming in, as they do, late, you know, she'll obviously have a chance to assess where she is. But we believe that she can accumulate delegates tonight and remain a contender in the race.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: If Elizabeth Warren does drop out, will you support whoever the eventual nominee is?
CASTRO: Oh, absolutely. Yeah. No. Whoever - whether the nominee is Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden - whoever it is, they have my wholehearted support. I'll do whatever I can to help our Democratic nominee defeat Donald Trump in November. And remember, the way I started out the race, I was sharing my brother's presidential campaign. He was in the race for about a year. And then shortly after that, I endorsed Elizabeth Warren. If she ends up, at some point, deciding to leave the race then I'm probably not going to endorse again in the primary.
SHAPIRO: Congressman, I...
CASTRO: But I certainly will help the nominee.
SHAPIRO: Congressman, I'm sorry to interrupt. I do just want to jump in to say that we have a call to make. Joe Biden has won the Democratic primary in the state of Minnesota, home state of Amy Klobuchar who, of course, had just endorsed Biden. This is breaking news. The Associated Press is projecting that Joe Biden will win the Minnesota Democratic primary.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: And that, again - big news for Joe Biden. Just quickly, let's just look at Texas more generally. How do you think it's going to go in the general? A lot of debate about whether Texas can actually go blue.
CASTRO: Yeah. I think we've got a shot, not only on the presidential race but also on the U.S. Senate race for the Democrat that will eventually take on John Cornyn. Texas is going to be close. You know, over the last few years, there's been a lot more infrastructure to mobilize voters, register voters that's been built up on the Democratic side. And that should pay dividends in November.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: That is Representative Joaquin Castro joining us from San Antonio. Thank you very much.
CASTRO: Thank you.
SHAPIRO: And we're joined now by another member of Congress, Representative Peter Welch of Vermont, who has endorsed Bernie Sanders. Thank you for joining us tonight.
PETER WELCH (D-VT, REP): Thank you.
SHAPIRO: What's your reaction to the results we've seen tonight where Joe Biden has done better than expected in some states where Bernie Sanders would have hoped or expected to have done well?
WELCH: Well, two things - number one - a very good night for Joe Biden - I mean, the consolidation of his support, the other folks dropping out and endorsing him has had an impact. There's no question about it. Jim Clyburn's endorsement was very big in South Carolina. But number two, it's a very good night as well for Bernie. He's won. And he's very - we don't know California. But he's doing great in Texas.
And the second point that I want to make is that what we're seeing is this race now narrow, I think, as a contest between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. And the reality is that Biden's strengths - traditional Democrats, African Americans, older voters - and Bernie's strengths are younger voters, Latinos, folks who are progressive and want a new agenda. At the end of the day, they're going to have an opportunity to debate who is the better person to represent the Democrats. And bring those...
SHAPIRO: When you describe this as a two-man race, would you like to see Elizabeth Warren drop out?
WELCH: She's going to make her own decision on that. She's run - she's just a tremendous person, tremendous senator. And it's not for me to tell her what to do. But my observation is that the voters have made more or less a decision - that they want to see this contest between Vice President Biden, who's representing, I think, his constituency, and Bernie. And that's what...
SHAPIRO: So you're describing these two separate visions of the Democratic Party. Are you confident that whoever ultimately does win the nomination can bring over the supporters of the other vision of the Democratic Party?
WELCH: The answer is yes. And the answer is, whether it's Biden or Bernie, that is the challenge each of them faces. Right now, they're in mortal combat about who is going to be the nominee of the Democratic Party. I am supporting Bernie Sanders. But in order for that nominee to be the president of the United States, we've got to bring those two wings of the party together. And I think that's very...
SHAPIRO: Mara has a question here.
LIASSON: Representative Welch...
SHAPIRO: And I just do want to let her jump in.
LIASSON: Yeah. Representative Welch, I have a question because in - polling shows that big majorities of Democrats say that - like, 80% say they'll support the nominee no matter who it is. But much smaller percentages of Sanders supporters say that. I've seen some polls that show only about 50%, 53% of Sanders supporters say they'll support the nominee if it's not Sanders. So...
WELCH: I understand that...
LIASSON: How much - how hard do you think that Sanders should be expected to work to - if he's not the nominee, to bring his supporters into the tent?
WELCH: Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
LIASSON: Do you think he'll do that?
WELCH: Whoever is the nominee, the existential question for us - I'm a Bernie supporter. I think he is the candidate who can win. But whoever our nominee is, our existential challenge is - as Democrats, is to defeat Donald Trump and restore democracy. So whoever is our nominee, we have to support. That nominee has to do his or her level best...
SHAPIRO: All right.
WELCH: ...To reach out to other Democrats.
SHAPIRO: Congressman Peter Welch of Vermont, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
WELCH: Thank you.
SHAPIRO: A bit of analysis now from NPR's Ron Elving at WPLN News in Nashville and Juana Summers, who is here in the studio - and what do you both see as the big headline of the night, so far, which we're admittedly still in the middle of?
ELVING: Joe Biden has won seven primaries. Up until last Friday, he had never won one in his entire career. And he had run for president three times. Then he won big in South Carolina and today has parlayed the kind of energy and the kind of coalition that gave him South Carolina into seven more wins - North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas - note all in the South - Oklahoma in the Southwest. And then Minnesota, which is clearly an outlier in this pattern of states...
GARCIA-NAVARRO: We're going to...
ELVING: ...Also has been called for him.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: We're going to...
ELVING: That's all...
GARCIA-NAVARRO: ...Break in right now. We have a call to make. Joe Biden has won the Democratic presidential primary in Arkansas. This is breaking news.
SHAPIRO: So from seven to eight, Ron.
ELVING: I've actually - I had Arkansas among my...
SHAPIRO: Oh, OK (laughter).
ELVING: ...My seven. But he is still...
GARCIA-NAVARRO: You called it for us.
ELVING: ...In the running in Maine. And incredibly enough, he is still in the running in Texas where, as we've heard from Wade Goodwyn, Bernie Sanders was moving away last week and, with his strong performance among Latinos, was looking to be very much in the driver's seat in Texas and, perhaps, running up a big margin there. But that race is still too close to call. At the same time, Bernie Sanders has won two states in rock-ribbed New England, Vermont and Massachusetts and two in the far Mountain West...
SHAPIRO: All right.
ELVING: ...Colorado and Utah.
SHAPIRO: We've got just about a minute left. And I want to give Juana a chance to offer what she sees as the big headline of the night.
SUMMERS: Yes. So I want to talk about Minnesota for a second. This is a state that scrapped its caucuses, moved into a primary system. And typically, what we saw from the caucus winners, in years past, is that the person who got the delegates was typically the person who was the most liberal, well-organized candidate. That is not what we saw this year. We saw this go to Joe Biden. This is a heavily white state. Bernie Sanders had been running strong here. Amy Klobuchar, of course, stepped out and endorsed him - just a big change and not what we expected from the polls that we'd seen in the state in the past.
SHAPIRO: And so looking forward at this bigger, more diverse, more widespread electorate, what do you conclude from what you see in Minnesota?
SUMMERS: From what I've seen in Minnesota is the fact that there are - there is - now that we've seen these other moderate candidates kind of coalescing around Joe Biden's candidacy, that is changing a lot of the dynamics. And I just want to say, in 2016, I believe Bernie Sanders won the state by about 20-some-odd points. So between the changing dynamics of this electorate and the change and the way that they conduct their elections in this primary, there's been a big difference here.
SHAPIRO: All right. We have a long...
LIASSON: Primaries and caucuses are not created equal.
SUMMERS: No, they're not.
SHAPIRO: We have a long night still to go. And this is a relay race. So I am going to pass the baton to Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep. Lulu Garcia-Navarro, it's been a pleasure joining you these last couple hours. Good luck as the night continues to unfold.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Thank you. It's been a pleasure having you.
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GARCIA-NAVARRO: And we're joined now by Kelsey Snell who is our congressional reporter to talk about some of the other races that are of importance today. Hey, there.
KELSEY SNELL (BYLINE): Hi there.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. Let's talk about some of these Senate races and what she's looking for.
SNELL: Well, I think...
GARCIA-NAVARRO: You're looking for, rather.
SNELL: (Laughter) I...
GARCIA-NAVARRO: She, you - it's a long night.
SNELL: We are watching a lot of races that have yet to be called. And we know the one that we do know for sure is in North Carolina where Senator Thom Tillis will be facing off against Cal Cunningham, the Democrat - is an Army veteran. And he has been endorsed by the Democrats' official campaign arm for the Senate.
This is one of those races we're watching really closely because Tillis narrowly won his seat in 2014. He defeated a Democrat, Kay Hagan. And this seat has been - sorry - this state has been trending more and more Democratic over the past couple of years. And so this is one of those areas where Democrats feel fairly confident that if this is a big year for the party at large, it could be an opportunity to pick up a seat in the Senate. Another place where we're paying a lot of attention is Alabama.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: I was about to say there's somebody that we all know who's running there.
SNELL: A familiar name (laughter).
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yes, indeed.
SNELL: We are watching Jeff Sessions. You may know him as the former attorney general. You may know him as a former senator running to retake this seat that he gave up. It is now being occupied by Doug Jones, a Democrat who defeated Roy Moore in a special election. Remember, that was a very controversial election. Republicans think they can run away with this seat. And it's been very interesting to watch Sessions who's in a three-way race here. And as the polls are coming in, he is very tightly in this race and may be headed for a runoff.
SNELL: Yeah. So this is a fascinating one to watch and one we may be watching for weeks to come.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Why is that? Is it something to do with maybe his relationship with the president?
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Could it be?
SNELL: That is a big part of it. And this is something that all three candidates ran on - is their relationship with President Trump and their support for him. And Sessions, as many people remember, recused himself from the Russian investigation and then was - and left the position under heavy criticism from President Trump. And he's had to defend his relationship with Trump, despite the fact that he was one of the president's earliest supporters. So this - the dynamics in that race have been really interesting to watch.
LIASSON: Has the president weighed in?
SNELL: The president has not weighed in (laughter).
GARCIA-NAVARRO: He has not. He's been...
SNELL: We were waiting.
SNELL: We are waiting to see how this will go.
SNELL: And we are - one of the questions that is being asked constantly in the Capitol is whether or not the president will get behind Sessions if he is the eventual person running there.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: And just briefly, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her influence...
SNELL: Yes, so...
GARCIA-NAVARRO: ...Has been felt pretty broadly.
SNELL: Well, yeah. She is now - has a PAC. And she is endorsing candidates. And we are watching her particularly in Texas right now because she has two candidates on the ballot, Cristina Ramirez who's running against M.J. Hegar for the - to be the Democrat to run against John Cornyn. And we're also looking at Jessica Cisneros who is mounting a primary challenge to Henry Cuellar who is expected to be - you know, he is one of those Democrats in Texas who has had a long history, who is well supported. There are a lot of questions about how successful she'll be.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: There - it is indeed. And now we are joined by Steve Inskeep up soon. This is live Special Coverage of Super Tuesday from NPR News. We'll be right back.
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GARCIA-NAVARRO: Joe Biden has won Minnesota and Arkansas. From NPR News, this is live Special Coverage of Super Tuesday. I'm Lulu Garcia-Navarro.
STEVE INSKEEP (HOST): And I'm Steve Inskeep.
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UNIDENTIFIED CROWD #2 (CROWD): (Chanting) Ready for Joe.
UNIDENTIFIED CROWD #3 (CROWD): (Chanting) Biden.
UNIDENTIFIED CROWD #2: (Chanting) Ready for Joe.
UNIDENTIFIED CROWD #3: (Chanting) Biden.
INSKEEP: People chanting ready for Joe there - Biden supporters waiting for the former vice president to speak in Los Angeles tonight. He has been winning states across the country on this Super Tuesday. That's after Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar dropped out of the race and endorsed him.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders has only won Vermont and Colorado. But he's hoping to take home a trove of delegates from California. Here he is yesterday.
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SANDERS: Let us win the Democratic nomination. Let us defeat Trump. And let us transform this country.
INSKEEP: Stay with us for analysis and results from some of the night's prize states, including Texas.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: And now we're joined in the studio by Juana Summers who covers demographics for NPR. All right. What are your takeaways? A lot of big - lots of big news.
SUMMERS: Lots of big news tonight - one of the big stories, of course, is about the strength of former Vice President Joe Biden who really just came out of South Carolina with some new momentum. Something that we're seeing from him in the spate of Southern states that he has won - so I'm talking about Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee - is that he is being lifted to victory by the state's African American voters - in a number of those states, picking up as much as 6 in 10 black voters.
Looking at the other side, Bernie Sanders picking up wins in Vermont and Colorado - something interesting that I'm seeing out of Colorado is, of course, he has done well with young voters. Some of that we see in national polling for him. But he was also competitive with former Vice President Biden with older voters, eating into his margins there as well and lifting him to victory.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: When we look at the states that are coming up, as you mentioned, I mean, these are states with very diverse populations. What do you think we're going to see that's different between California and Texas, the two big prizes?
SUMMERS: Sure. Sure. Sure. One of the biggest things - I've just been looking at some of the exit polling out of Texas. As of right now, Bernie Sanders winning Latino voters, has somewhere in 4 in 10 Latino voters - say they are backing him. They make up roughly a third of the state's population. Another really interesting finding - the exit pollsters, they asked voters about their opinions of socialism and whether or not that is something that they are interested in.
SUMMERS: And in Texas - this is specifically for Texas - 57% of primary voters in that state said they had a favorable view of socialism, 37% say unfavorable. So in a state where we know some of the Latino voters tend to be more conservative than other parts of the country, I'll be curious to see if we see any further breakdowns as to what that number looks like for those voters.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Lots to look forward to. That's Juana Summers. She covers demographics for NPR. Thank you very much.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: And now we're going to bring in Scott Detrow, who is covering Bernie Sanders, and Asma Khalid, who is covering Joe Biden. Hello to you both.
KHALID: Hey, there.
DETROW: Hey. Good evening.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Big nights for both candidates. But Asma, so far, it's been a really good night for Biden. You know, the quick way Virginia was called for him, winning Minnesota even though Sanders won it in 2016 - what's been the reaction there?
KHALID: I mean, overall, Joe Biden's been feeling really well. I was out with him at some local stops here in Los Angeles when some of the earlier states - Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama - were called. He was feeling good. You know, the people around him were feeling good. Really, I think this goes back to, though, Lulu, the fact that the last couple of days have been just such a stark contrast to the way this campaign felt, you know, two weeks ago. The South Carolina resounding victory helped a lot but then certainly just seeing a surge of endorsements as people decided to agree upon one single alternative to Bernie Sanders. And when I say as people, I mean the moderate candidates in the field and sort of the establishment voters as well.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: I mean, is this going better than they expected? I mean, what were they thinking going into this? Were they worried? I mean, is this a surprise to them as well?
KHALID: I mean, well, when we heard Biden earlier in the day, you know, he was asked about where he would expect, you know, kind of to do well. He pointed at Virginia, North Carolina. He thought he'd do pretty well in Texas. I would say, looking at the fact that he is leading in a state like Massachusetts, which is a state where he is reported to have not held one single rally - he did one kind of local stop. That's it. That's Massachusetts. Senator - I mean, Elizabeth Warren is in this race. And she's currently in third place. I mean, that is, to me, phenomenal.
You look at Minnesota. Minnesota's a - it was a state that was a caucus state back in 2016. But Bernie Sanders won it then by over 20 points. Same thing - Oklahoma's a state that Biden, you know, won tonight. It's a state that Sanders won in 2016. So it seems like the bump that we saw from these endorsements. I think he was expecting that and a lot of us were expecting that to make him just viable in more places than we thought he would be...
GARCIA-NAVARRO: And part...
KHALID: ...Meet that 15% threshold. We're seeing him across the board perform really well tonight.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: And possibly, he may have to give a very big thanks to black voters.
KHALID: That's certainly true. I mean, without South Carolina, I don't think that we would be at all in a position where the moderate candidates in this field had decided to drop out, some of them, like Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg. So it is certainly that he had a strong, you know, performance in South Carolina with African American voters. And then also if you look at some of the states where he performed really well tonight - Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama - that is because he has always been the candidate in this field who has the most support with black voters.
INSKEEP: Just got to interrupt you for a second Asma Khalid because Bernie Sanders is now about to speak. He's now at the lectern in Vermont. Let's give a listen - might take him a while to calm down the crowd the burning signs are waving. Here we go.
SANDERS: You know, it's a funny thing. Thirty-one years ago today, we won the mayoral race in Burlington, Vt.
SANDERS: And we won that race against all of the odds. Everybody said it couldn't be done.
SANDERS: And when we began this race for the presidency, everybody said it couldn't be done.
SANDERS: But tonight, I tell you with absolute confidence - we are going to win the Democratic nomination...
SANDERS: ...And we are going to defeat the most dangerous president in the history of this country.
SANDERS: We are going to win.
UNIDENTIFIED CROWD #4 (CROWD): (Chanting) Bernie. Bernie. Bernie.
SANDERS: We are going - we are going to defeat Trump because we are putting together an unprecedented, grassroots, multigenerational, multiracial movement.
SANDERS: It is a movement which speaks to the working families of this country who are sick and tired of working longer hours for low wages and seeing all new income and wealth going to the top 1%.
SANDERS: It is a movement which says the United States will have health care for all as a human right.
SANDERS: It is a movement that says we will bring major reforms in education, making sure that all of our kids can go to college without coming out in debt.
INSKEEP: Sanders generating a lot of enthusiasm this evening, although he has not won many states yet.
SANDERS: Now, what makes this movement unique is we are taking on the corporate establishment.
SANDERS: We are taking on the greed of Wall Street...
SANDERS: ...The greed of the drug companies who charge us the highest prices in the world...
SANDERS: ...The greed of the insurance companies...
SANDERS: ...And given the existential crisis of climate change, we are saying to the fossil fuel industry...
SANDERS: We are saying to the fossil fuel industry, their short-term profits are not more important than the future of our country or the world.
SANDERS: But we are not only taking on the corporate establishment; we're taking on the political establishment.
SANDERS: But we're going to win because the people understand it is our campaign, our movement which is best positioned to defeat Trump.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: And now we're joined on the line by Scott Detrow who is there covering Bernie Sanders' campaign. Hello.
DETROW: Hey, there. A lot of blue and white, waving signs and a lot of cheering people around me here in Essex Junction, Vt., right now.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yeah. I mean, you can hear the enthusiasm. He's had that enthusiasm from his supporters all along. But, so far, there must be some disappointment.
DETROW: For sure, one moment that you knew that things were going off-script for the Sanders campaign tonight is that his campaign manager, Faiz Shakir had to come out and speak to the crowd unannounced. He came out and said, we're having a good night. It's only going to get better. I think that second part is true. I think Bernie Sanders has a very good chance to win California, which is, of course, the biggest delegate prize at stake tonight. But this is not a good night for the Sanders campaign.
They have lost Oklahoma. They have lost Minnesota. These are two states that Bernie Sanders won in 2016. They have also lost, in big ways, states where Sanders spent a lot of time campaigning this week as I followed him around the country - Virginia, North Carolina, Minnesota. Twenty-four hours ago, 10,000-or-so people in St. Paul, Minn., cheering for Bernie Sanders. Tonight, he has lost it to Joe Biden after that big last-minute endorsement from Amy Klobuchar.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: I mean - and what's really interesting is Minnesota - right? - because this thing that's always been discussed is that Bernie Sanders has a strength with white, less-educated voters who only have a high school degree, that he is strong in the Midwest. And we saw there that that may not be true.
DETROW: Yeah. You know, this is - and there are so many things that have happened both last election and this election that really are a feast for political scientists to make sense of things. Bernie Sanders' campaign had focused so much on March 3. They had vastly outspent Joe Biden on advertising, on organizing in any way unmanageable - imaginable. And over the course of just three days, from Saturday to today, it looks like Joe Biden made up almost all that ground and was able to win big in a lot of states where he didn't show up or spend any money.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Lots more to watch. That's Scott Detrow there with Bernie Sanders. We'll let you get back to it. Thank you very much.
DETROW: Thank you.
INSKEEP: On this evening, Bernie Sanders' central message was, quote, "we are going to win," declaring that that is the case, that they're going to go on to the Democratic nomination, that he will go on to defeat President Trump this fall. But he is seeing some challenges here this evening. A couple of points to emphasize - as Scott Detrow noted, the biggest prizes are still in play, not just California but Texas. And it is entirely possible that by the end of the evening, we can learn that Bernie Sanders gains more convention delegates today than Joe Biden.
But in the states where the polls closed earlier, Biden has been doing substantially better. And we'll just review here by noting that Biden has won Virginia. Biden won North Carolina. Biden won Alabama with a huge percentage of the vote. Biden won Oklahoma, Tennessee and Arkansas. And there is also Minnesota, which has gone for Joe Biden. Let's turn to a supporter of Joe Biden, a former 2020 presidential candidate, Congressman Tim Ryan of Ohio. Congressman, welcome back NPR.
TIM RYAN (D-OH, REP): Thanks for having me.
INSKEEP: You must be pleased this evening.
RYAN: A monumental evening for Joe Biden - I mean, unreal to see him almost run the table here. I mean, we obviously don't have all the results in. But to see what he did in Minnesota, to see what he did in North Carolina, Alabama, some of these key states, I think shows a huge shift from just a week ago. And so anybody who's a student of politics, you got to watch this stuff and say, man, you never know which direction it's going to turn. But Joe Biden has clearly taken the lead in this campaign and really the man to take on Donald Trump.
INSKEEP: I would like to note that some of the things that are impressive about Biden's performance tonight could also be seen as a little bit troubling. Biden has hardly spent, compared to some of the other candidates, because he was not very effective at raising money up to now. He was not seen as very effective in presidential debates. He was not seen as very effective on the stump, and yet here he is. Is this really about Joe Biden at all?
RYAN: Oh, there's no doubt it's about Joe Biden. I mean, you know, look at the support he's gained. I mean, you know, look, like anything in life, the more you do it, the more you get comfortable with it. And the more debates he did, he got better. His best debate was his last one. His best speech was his last one. His best election was his last one, and isn't that what you want? You want somebody who gets better as they go.
INSKEEP: Congressman Ryan, we'll see if this interview gets better as it goes, if you can stay with us for a moment. We're going to come back after a brief break. We are talking with Tim Ryan of Ohio, a congressman who endorsed Joe Biden and is watching Biden win a lot of victories this evening. This is Special Coverage from NPR News.
And we'll continue now with Congressman Tim Ryan of Ohio. Congressman, thanks very much for your patience there. I want to ask, though, about something that you said when you were not endorsing former Vice President Biden. You expressed concerns at one point about his declining energy and his, quote, "lack of clarity." Are those criticisms still true?
RYAN: Well, I think they were a commentary on him in the early stages of the campaign. And, you know, look, we've all run campaigns. I ran the campaign. I ran for president. You want somebody who gets better as they go, and here's somebody, like I said - I mean, his last debate was his best debate. His last speech was his best speech. Every election he's getting better, and this is a marathon, not a sprint.
And so any criticism I had early on is something that clearly he's gotten better, and I'm proud of him. And we're going to roll, and we're going to continue to roll on. And we're going to beat Donald Trump, and Joe Biden is going to be the person to heal the country, unite the country and then rebuild the country.
INSKEEP: There must be some Bernie Sanders supporters in your congressional district. Suppose that Joe Biden goes on to be the nominee. How would you persuade a Bernie Sanders supporter to back Biden?
RYAN: Well, I would just say, look, Bernie Sanders has made an amazing articulation and contribution to the structural problems in the country. I mean, where I'm from, northeast Ohio, I mean, Bernie Sanders does focus in on and really articulate what the challenges are. And, you know, we just want to make sure that we're able to unite the country to really solve those problems to address those economic issues.
So this is not a we-hate-Bernie or I don't - I like Bernie Sanders, and I think he's done a great job. I don't agree with all of his solutions, but I would just say, look, health care is a right. We agree on that. Donald Trump doesn't. We believe in climate change, and we need to reverse it. Donald Trump doesn't. We believe in workers. Donald Trump doesn't.
So there's a million things that we believe in as rights and values that we all agree on, and let's work on solving those problems together because we're vastly different than Donald Trump.
INSKEEP: All right. Congressman Tim Ryan, it's always a pleasure talking with you. Thanks very much for joining us this evening.
RYAN: Thanks for having me.
INSKEEP: Tim Ryan of Ohio who endorsed Joe Biden for president. And we'll just note where we are this evening as we head toward a brief break for many of our stations.
Joe Biden - former Vice President Biden has won the vast majority of states that have declared so far. Bernie Sanders did win in Vermont where we heard him giving a speech just a few moments ago, but Biden has won Virginia with a majority of the votes despite a split field with many candidates. He won in North Carolina with about 40% of the votes. He won in Alabama with 62% of the vote. In Oklahoma, 38% for Joe Biden - Tennessee, 41% for Joe Biden - Arkansas and Minnesota also for Biden. Biden is leading in Maine and Massachusetts. Still up for grabs, though, the biggest states, Texas and California. It remains possible that Bernie Sanders could end up with more delegates this evening. This is live Special Coverage from NPR News. Polls have closed in every Super Tuesday state now except California. This is Special Coverage from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: And I'm Lulu Garcia-Navarro. Bernie Sanders has just finished speaking in Vermont, one of just two states he's won so far tonight. Sanders is expected to make up significant ground in California, but so far Joe Biden has dominated the night.
INSKEEP: Votes are still being tallied in many states, but Biden has won in some critical states tonight, including North Carolina and Minnesota. He was particularly strong in Virginia. With all the votes counted there, we're told Biden has won that state by 30 points. He's even leading in Massachusetts, a state that Bernie Sanders had been favored to win. Although, at this point, the race is too close to call.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: We're joined now by Mo Elleithee, senior spokesman and travelling press secretary on Hillary Clinton's 2008 campaign and a former communications director for the Democratic National Committee. Good evening.
MO ELLEITHEE (POLITICAL CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST): Hi. How are you?
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Very well. What is your take-away from the strength that Joe Biden is showing so far?
ELLEITHEE: Yeah. Look, I don't think there's any way to spin this other than a tremendous night for Joe Biden so far. And what's really striking me is the breadth and depth of his support in all of the states that we've seen so far. He's winning big. He's winning in incredibly diverse states, and his support seems to be pretty broad-based.
One of the big arguments of the Sanders campaign up until tonight has been that he is the one candidate who's able to win because he's the one that can grow the electorate. Well, the states that - where we have seen the greatest growth in the electorate over 2016 have been the states that Joe Biden's won.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: We're going to have to interrupt you here. Joe Biden is speaking. Here is Joe Biden.
BIDEN: The don't call it Super Tuesday for nothing.
BIDEN: By the way, this is my little sister Valerie, and I'm Jill's husband. Oh, no. You switched on me. This is my wife. This is my sister. They switched on me.
BIDEN: Folks, it's still early, but things are looking awful, awful good.
BIDEN: For those who've been knocked down, counted out, left behind, this is your campaign.
BIDEN: Just a few days ago, the press and the pundits had declared the campaign dead.
BIDEN: And then came South Carolina, and they had something to say about it.
BIDEN: And we were told, well, when it got to Super Tuesday, it'd be over. Well, it may be over for the other guy.
BIDEN: Tell that to the folks in Virginia...
BIDEN: ...North Carolina...
BIDEN: ...And maybe even Massachusetts. It's too close to call.
BIDEN: We're still waiting for Texas and California, a few other small states, to come in. But it's looking good. So I'm here to report. We are very much alive.
BIDEN: And make no mistake about it - this campaign will send Donald Trump packing.
BIDEN: This campaign is taking off. Join us. For those folks listening, go to joebiden.com. Sign up. Volunteer. Contribute if you can. We need you. We want you, and there's a place for you in this campaign.
BIDEN: People are talking about a revolution. We started a movement. We've increased turnout.
BIDEN: The turnout's turned out for us.
BIDEN: That can deliver us to a moment where we can do extraordinary, extraordinary things. Look. Our agenda is bold. It's progressive. It's a vision where health care is affordable and available to everybody in America...
BIDEN: ...Where we bring drug prices down, under control with no more surprise billing, access to hospitals in rural areas as well as urban areas, access to care. A bold vision - we'll invest billions of dollars to find - and I promise you - cures for cancer, Alzheimer's and diabetes - standing up to and beating the NRA and the gun manufacturers...
BIDEN: ...And leading the world to take on the existential threat of climate change. I'm going to start by rejoining an outfit I helped put together, the Paris Climate Accord. And we're going to move it a long way.
BIDEN: A country where the quality of education will not depend on your ZIP code. We'll be triple-funded for low-income school districts, providing raises for teachers, full-time school for 3, 4, and 5 years old - and increasing exponentially the prospects of their success - free community college providing credentials for every job in the 21st century - and significant reduction in the cost of going to college and your student debt. If you volunteer, you pay nothing.
BIDEN: Folks, we can do this.
BIDEN: Let's get something straight - Wall Street didn't build this country. You built this country. The middle class built this country, and unions built the middle class.
BIDEN: In the neighborhoods we come from...
SARAH SEGAL (ACTIVIST, DIRECT ACTION EVERYWHERE): Let dairy die.
SEGAL: Let dairy die. Let dairy die.
INSKEEP: I just want to note for those listening at home, there's a protester who's come on stage and is being, let us say, helped off by someone from security. There are more protesters now racing up on stage. That's what's been happening in the last few seconds here, but Biden has now resumed speaking.
BIDEN: ...Badly hurt. And guess what? The places we come from, many of you come from. It's where we were raised. The people, they're the reason why I'm running. They're the reason why I'm a Democrat in the first place.
BIDEN: These are the people who build our roads, repari our roads, keep our water safe, who teach our kids, who race into burning buildings to protect other people, who grow our food, build our cars, pick up our garbage, our streets, veterans, DREAMers, single moms. And by the way, every DREAMer, have hope because I'm coming, and you're not going anywhere.
INSKEEP: Joe Biden, although the evening is not over, claiming a victory - many victories here this evening. He's speaking in Los Angeles, Calif., a speech briefly interrupted by protesters - made a glancing reference to Bernie Sanders this evening saying people are talking about a revolution. But we, Joe Biden said, started a movement. And he has listed some of the things that he stands for.
We have a panel of our correspondents and editors who've been listening to this, including NPR's Domenico Montanaro, NPR's Mara Liasson and NPR's Ron Elving. And Domenico, let's start with you. What do you hear there?
MONTANARO: Well, look, clearly there's a two-person race that's going on. We've had Sanders supporters who even have come on our air to say that that's the case. And Joe Biden has done better tonight than his team could have hoped for. I mean, they were hoping to split the delegates, not seem too far behind, get some delegates out of California where they were polling below threshold - that's 15%. And if you don't get above 15%, you don't get...
INSKEEP: You get nothing.
MONTANARO: ...Any delegates. So look, tonight we have seen a fracture within the party. You have Joe Biden, who's coalesced black voters, moderates and older voters, Bernie Sanders, who has liberals, Latinos and young voters. And somehow those two things are going to have to figure out a way to come together. But we're going to see, over the next month and a half, a real fight between those segments.
INSKEEP: Mara Liasson.
LIASSON: We're a long way from them coming together, but this is an extremely clear contrast. It's an ideological contrast, not so much on the policies, even though Bernie Sanders wants a more ambitious version of everything that Joe Biden is offering. But it's also whether you want a fighter or a uniter and whether you want a revolution or you want a lot of reform. And that's what you're going to see over the next couple of weeks.
Joe Biden tonight not only poked a little bit at Bernie Sanders' revolution, he said, you talk about turnout? Well, we created turnout. They turned out for us.
INSKEEP: Well, let's...
LIASSON: And in the states that had the biggest bumps in turnout, those were the states where Biden won. And that's supposed to be Bernie Sanders' path to victory.
INSKEEP: Let's talk about the substantive differences between these two leading contenders who we've heard speeches from in the last half hour. We heard, I think it's fair to say, from Bernie Sanders' primary colors. He had an entire sequence about who had - different kinds of corporations that were greedy and an entire sequence about corporate greed and ended with saying that he was going to rein in energy companies that he blamed for climate change. Then you get Joe Biden who has, I think, more of a list of things he'd like to do. And no more surprise billing for health care. That sort of thing.
LIASSON: Right. They're much more concrete, much more specific, not big, bold sweeping - no more greedy corporations. Instead, we're going to find a cure for cancer. We're going to re-enter the Paris agreement. We are going to have free community college...
GARCIA-NAVARRO: We have...
LIASSON: ...Significant reductions in cost...
GARCIA-NAVARRO: One second, Mara.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: We have a call to make. Bernie Sanders has won the Democratic presidential primary in Utah.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: That was a call for Bernie Sanders.
INSKEEP: Which slightly changes the results so far this evening. We'd expected as things move farther and farther West, he might do better, and we now know that Sanders has one more state in his column along with Vermont and Colorado - have both gone for Sanders this evening. So there's not nothing for Sanders this evening. And we'll note, again for those just joining us, California has not reported. Texas has not reported. It's entirely possible that Sanders ends up with more delegates tonight. Mara Liasson.
LIASSON: It's entirely possible that Sanders does or Biden does, but it's also entirely possible that we won't know what California's results are because sometimes they take...
MONTANARO: They take a while...
LIASSON: ...A long time to count.
MONTANARO: ...To count the votes.
MONTANARO: So we probably won't know entirely.
MONTANARO: But that is what the Sanders campaign is banking on, the fact that he has done so well with Latinos. And he - you know, he did well again in Colorado with Latinos overwhelmingly. If he's able to do that again in California - and, look, in Texas, you know, while it looks like a pretty split result right now overall, that's because you had a pretty diverse electorate where you have a significant chunk of Latinos, a significant chunk of African Americans. But when you look at the margins, I mean, it is Bernie Sanders who wins overwhelming number of Latinos in Texas. And it's Joe Biden who won the overwhelming number of black voters in Texas.
LIASSON: And remember. It's not...
GARCIA-NAVARRO: But don't you think that that's...
LIASSON: Oh, sorry.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yeah, no. I just want to note this because when the Democratic Party talks about a broad coalition, when it talks about how communities of color are so important. And yet what we're seeing here is that the two very important communities of color here are having very different ideas about what the Democratic Party should look like.
LIASSON: Right. But it doesn't mean that those communities aren't willing to vote for whoever the nominee is.
LIASSON: And one of the things to remember about tonight, it's not the states that they're winning. It's the percentage inside those states because if you've got a lot of candidates getting over 15%, for instance in Colorado where Bernie Sanders - have we called that? Yes?
MONTANARO: Yes, for Bernie Sanders.
LIASSON: Yes. That means that he is not going to end up with the lion's share of delegates. In states where the other candidates can't pass the 15% threshold, then he's going to get a higher percentage of delegates than he got as a percentage of the popular vote.
INSKEEP: I want to take note since we're focusing primarily on Biden and Sanders, who are on top here, let's mention somebody who is near - just above, just below - that 15% threshold in a lot of different states. Elizabeth Warren tonight at 12% percent in Vermont, at 10% in Virginia, at 10% in North Carolina, 5% in Alabama. No delegates there for her.
MONTANARO: No delegates. She will get absolutely no delegates in any of those places. And more stunning, frankly, is in Massachusetts she's running in third place. And Joe Biden wasn't even thought to be the person who would, you know, do well there. It was seen as a Bernie Sanders state. You know, Elizabeth Warren was born in Oklahoma - born and raised there. She's teetering below that threshold...
INSKEEP: Fifteen percent.
MONTANARO: ...At only about 13%.
INSKEEP: She will get some delegates out of Massachusetts, it looks like, we would think. She's right on the edge in Maine. She won't get nothing tonight, but she will not do very well.
MONTANARO: She won't do well. And, you know, if you're a part of her campaign, you have to wonder, what is the rationale? Where do you continue? Why do you continue on? What are you trying to accomplish? You know, her campaign has already written a memo acknowledging that she's probably not going to be able to get the pledged delegate lead and that she would be banking a certain number of delegates going into the convention.
So, you know, she may have very well wanted to go into tonight, see where things shook out. There is still a huge number of delegates that were at stake tonight, but after tonight I think they're going to have some conversations internally about where they go from here.
INSKEEP: Domenico, you just mentioned a state where Joe Biden seems to be doing pretty well despite having hardly campaigned there, and that seems to be a recurring theme this evening.
MONTANARO: (Laughter) Oh, yeah.
INSKEEP: There are a number of states where Biden isn't - it's not just that he didn't have money for TV ads. He personally did not necessarily show up. He was not thought to have done very well in the presidential debates up to now, which does raise a question about what is happening here. What has caused all of these voters who have been telling pollsters they were willing to change their minds - what caused them to change - in a few seconds?
MONTANARO: Well, for all the people who said that there are no lanes, progressive or moderate, they're wrong because there clearly were. And for the voters who were undecided and confused, the thing that turned them out to vote was Bernie Sanders - but not for Bernie Sanders, against him.
INSKEEP: OK. You're listening to Special Coverage here as we continue on Super Tuesday. Joe Biden having a good night. Bernie Sanders though, many results still to come in. This is NPR News.
And let's continue this discussion. Mara Liasson, you've got a thoughtful look on your face there. What's on your mind?
LIASSON: Oh, my goodness.
MONTANARO: She just agrees with me.
INSKEEP: Oh, OK. That's right. Whatever Domenico said.
LIASSON: The thing that is amazing is the turnaround of Joe Biden. I mean, the idea of Joe Biden was winning in the polls. Then the reality of Joe Biden, when voters got a up-close-and-personal look at him in Iowa and New Hampshire - the reality of Joe Biden didn't do so well. But - and don't forget he made electability his rationale.
INSKEEP: Sure. I am the guy who can beat Trump.
LIASSON: Well, finally he - and for that to work, you have to start winning. He started winning in South Carolina. All of a sudden, someone saw Joe Biden as someone who could win and win big and decisively. And that turned everything around.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: But we should...
LIASSON: And the other stuff doesn't seem to have mattered - the money and the organization, all the things we thought were important.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: But we should also say that it was black voters, really, who...
MONTANARO: Oh, unquestionably.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: ...Turned it around for Joe Biden. I think once people saw that he had so much support from black voters, which are the cornerstone of the Democratic Party - reliable voters, African American, older voters - I think people thought that he was actually electable.
LIASSON: And then what happened? Suburban women in Virginia and elsewhere, the voters who powered the Democrats to their 2018 midterm victories, they came out in huge numbers for Biden.
INSKEEP: Let's just note that Joe Biden has finished speaking. We heard a good bit of his speech earlier, and he's now shown on TV images down on the floor shaking hands. NPR's Asma Khalid is at Biden's Super Tuesday Night headquarters in Los Angeles. Asma, what's it like there?
KHALID: Well, it's a really exuberant mood, and it is so different from some of the parties he had early on, say, in Iowa where he did not feel as though his campaign was not performing as well. He's excited. You know, he said that he was here to report that he is very much alive. His campaign is alive. He felt like the pundits and the press had said it'd be over for him, and that it may actually, he says, be over for the other guy - unclear exactly who he was referring to.
INSKEEP: Well, we could guess that it might have been Bernie Sanders. There, of course, are other people in the race. There's Elizabeth Warren in the race, and a few other people still out there. But it does seem to be a two-person race.
I'd like to know, Asma, this is a remarkable change of fortune for the Biden campaign, but there still are the weaknesses that we've dwelled on here a little bit - people even who support him now who said that he was not doing very well as a candidate, the reality that until the last few days he didn't seem to be able to raise very much money. Does his campaign have a strategy to go forward from here?
KHALID: Well, they have acknowledged that their fundraising has jumped up significantly just in the last couple of days. So in terms of money, he's bringing in more money. Some moderate candidates who are his rivals have dropped out of the race, and that's allowed him to consolidate support there. I think there are still two big questions for me, though.
One is across the board we've seen young voters and, sure, they may not vote in sort of the same numbers as older voters. But young voters overwhelmingly tend to prefer Bernie Sanders. And I do think there's a question around passion and enthusiasm. You know, I've been talking to my colleague Scott Detrow who's been out with Sanders, and he'll talk about these 10,000-person rallies. I don't see that with Joe Biden even though the momentum now seems to be really on the upswing.
INSKEEP: OK. All right. That's NPR's Asma Khalid who is covering Joe Biden, who so far is the big winner tonight - although, some big results are yet to come in. And we're going to continue here for hours. This is Special Coverage of Super Tuesday from NPR News.
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INSKEEP: Bernie Sanders has won the state of Utah which is his third victory on Super Tuesday. You're listening to Special Coverage from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: And I'm Lulu Garcia-Navarro. Sanders spoke earlier to supporters in Vermont.
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SANDERS: We are not only taking on the corporate establishment; we're taking on the political establishment.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Meanwhile, Joe Biden is celebrating victories in numerous states across the country, and results are still coming in from Texas where Sanders, Biden, Mike Bloomberg and Elizabeth Warren are all competitive.
INSKEEP: Yeah. Maine and Massachusetts, where the polls closed more than two hours ago, are still considered too close to call. Biden, Sanders and Warren all look likely to pick up delegates in Massachusetts.
And let's continue now with NPR's Susan Davis, who is with a candidate who so far has not done so well this evening. This was the debut, the first time on the ballot, for Mayor Mike Bloomberg. And Susan Davis, if I'm not mistaken, you've been covering the Bloomberg campaign. What are you seeing and hearing?
DAVIS: Well, it's certainly not the night that he expected. I think you have to remember, you know, Mike Bloomberg announced his campaign exactly 100 days before Super Tuesday. And at the moment he got in the race, there was so much handwringing within the Democratic Party that there was no one that could beat Donald Trump. So he was sort of a late, reluctant entry. The only way you could get into a race that late is if you have the kind of resources that Michael Bloomberg has. And he spent, and he spent heavily. He ran a national ad campaign. He spent half a billion dollars.
But the mood going into the Super Tuesday states was so fundamentally different than when he got in the race. Coming right out of South Carolina, that Joe Biden victory just really sucked any air that was in the Bloomberg campaign. You could almost feel it Saturday night when they were watching those results come in. And it was just a momentum that he couldn't get any traction in. And we're seeing that play out in these 14 states. You know, he will probably leave Super Tuesday with some delegates, but considering the money that he's spent, it's such a small fraction. And very clear, there is certainly no path to the nomination.
INSKEEP: Yeah. Let's remember that 15% threshold we were discussing with Domenico earlier. When we look at some of the results here, we see Bloomberg with 9% in Vermont, 9% in Virginia, 13% in North Carolina, 12% in Alabama. No delegates there for him. It looks like he will get some delegates in Tennessee - 16% of the vote, 19% with not all the votes counted, we should mention, in Arkansas, 22% so far in California. So some delegates, but if you were to do a calculation of dollars per delegates, for - is it $500 million? Is it $500 million? Like, what would that - I don't think I want to do that calculation right now, but it's not good.
DAVIS: No, it's not. And, you know, the thing is when you have the kind of resources he has - he has a net worth of 60-plus billion. It wasn't that big of a gamble in terms of his wealth. I think the question now is, what does he do? He went back to New York tonight. The campaign still has events on the schedule. He's expected to travel to Michigan. Later this week, he's going to be back in Florida.
He said today he's in it to win it. But his campaign staff is not sounding as confident. His campaign manager, Kevin Sheekey, spoke to reporters tonight here in West Palm Beach and contradicted Bloomberg who earlier in the day said, I'm going to take it all the way to the convention. Kevin Sheekey said, I don't think we're going to have a contested convention. He said after tonight, they'll reassess their campaign, and, notably, Steve, he had a lot of very nice things to say about Joe Biden.
INSKEEP: Oh, OK. So there was a time when Bloomberg liked Joe Biden, right? I mean, are you suggesting that it could be heading back that way? Maybe Bloomberg at some point, if things continue as they are going now, could cut his losses and endorse Biden as others have done.
DAVIS: Sheekey certainly seemed to tease at that tonight. He said he believed the nominee would be one of two people - Mike Bloomberg or Joe Biden, and we know it's not going to be Mike Bloomberg. That does beg the question of what will Mike Bloomberg do if it is Bernie Sanders, and Sheekey did say that Bloomberg would be committed to supporting whoever the nominee was. And that matters because Bloomberg has said he's willing to spend any more untold sums of money to help boost the Democratic nominee.
So even though he did not have a great night tonight, if he wants to continue to spend that level of cash on Democratic Party infrastructure, he could be a real player in the outcome of the 2020 election to help Democrats.
MONTANARO: You know, he's going to get more than this. But right now, Mike Bloomberg has 20 delegates. So in doing the math, I hope I didn't miss a decimal point but that's $25 million a delegate.
INSKEEP: OK. OK (laughter). Ouch. OK, we're laughing.
LIASSON: More than Phil Gramm spent on his one delegate.
INSKEEP: Oh, my goodness. OK. So we're all laughing. I guess if you're Mike Bloomberg, you're not laughing at this point.
LIASSON: But you know what? Something to ask Sue, I mean, Mike Bloomberg has promised to do something extraordinary. OK, he might not be the nominee, but to spend whatever it takes to defeat Donald Trump, to fund every Democratic down-ballot candidate, every digital media campaign, every get-out-the-vote effort, I mean, that is something that we've never seen before - an out party to be on a level financial playing field with the incumbent president?
DAVIS: I don't even know if you could say it's a level financial playing field. He unlevels the financial playing field in such a way (laughter).
LIASSON: Yeah. He could make it - he could spend even more. That's possible.
LIASSON: Yeah, 4 or $5 billion.
DAVIS: And if Sanders the nominee - he's had surrogates who have suggested they don't want Mike Bloomberg's help, right? Like, there could be some conflict here if it doesn't ultimately end up being Joe Biden. Joe Biden would probably be much more happy to have that kind of support. But the kind of resources he could put into states - think of like the blue wall, Mara, right? Like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan - states that were decided by 1% - being able to fund and fuel things like get-out-the-vote operations can be hugely...
LIASSON: And he can still...
INSKEEP: ...And yeah.
LIASSON: ...Be a historic figure in this campaign without being the nominee.
INSKEEP: And even if it were Sanders - even if Sanders refused his help, there are many other ways that he could spend his money to favor Democrats, as Bill de Blasio was pointing out to Lulu Garcia-Navarro and Ari Shapiro earlier this evening in our coverage. NPR's Susan Davis covering Michael Bloomberg, thanks so much.
DAVIS: You're welcome.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: We're joined now by Janet Murguia, president and CEO of UnidosUS, the largest national Latino civil rights and advocacy organization, and Aimee Allison the founder of She the People. Welcome to you both.
AIMEE ALLISON (FOUNDER, SHE THE PEOPLE): Thanks for having me.
JANET MURGUIA (CEO, UNIDOSUS): Hi, Lulu.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Hi. Aimee, I'm going to start with you. You tweeted this week if you don't appeal to women of color, there is no path to the nomination. But tonight are we not seeing a more specific problem? The two top contenders appeal to seemingly different communities of color - Biden to black voters and Sanders to Latinos. They have very different visions for the country, those two gentlemen.
ALLISON: Well, certainly we need to look at who actually came out. It's clear that black women in the South overwhelmingly supported Biden. We'll see what happens in Texas and California. The fact that both of those states, a majority people of color - there may be other things in play including age and demographics that we need to consider. We've never said that women of color are monolith. What we did say is for candidates who never appealed to very many women of color - they had no path through the primary - we said that very early with Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg, for example, with Mike Bloomberg, who you were just talking about, how much money he's spent, yet he could not hardly win any delegates. And I think the firewall was women of color.
So I think that the good news is that the Democratic Party, comprised of over 25% of women of color, now goes forward never ignoring this key demographic again as the most loyal Democrats. And I think we now pivot to, no matter who is at the top of the ticket, some lessons from 2016. The elevated turnout of black and brown women are going to be critical in states like Texas, Georgia, Florida and Arizona - states that Trump won but are majority people of color and women of color, more than 1 of 4 voters. We've got to pivot now to thinking about women of color as the core Democratic Party voting bloc.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Here's Mara Liasson...
LIASSON: This is Mara Liasson here...
GARCIA-NAVARRO: She wants to jump in.
LIASSON: I just have a question which is it's a fair assumption that the top of the ticket will be a white man. I'm assuming you would like to see a woman of color as the vice presidential nominee. Who's on your shortlist?
ALLISON: Well, not only is it a good idea, the lesson from 2016 is an all-white ticket is a losing proposition for the Democratic Party because it's half people of color and because a woman of color really...
GARCIA-NAVARRO: So who would you like to see...
LIASSON: Right, but who, who, who, who? (Laughter).
ALLISON: Yeah, I know. We all want to know who. I personally could think of a lot of really amazing women. Top of my list - Stacey Abrams, a former gubernatorial candidate out of Georgia, a swing state, who knows how to expand the electorate and work and build a multiracial coalition on the ground. Kamala Harris comes to mind in my conversations around the country. But no matter who is the vice presidential ticket, I think we need to really be thinking about the ticket as a whole. We need to be thinking about women of color as being key to that.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: I'm going to bring in Janet. An estimated 14 million Latinos will vote in 2020. What are you seeing tonight about how they are voting and their impact?
MURGUIA: Well, I think we are seeing - the story tonight is that we are seeing a surge in Latino and Latina voters tonight on Super Tuesday. We're seeing some early numbers that would indicate, even just by comparing Super Tuesday in 2016 and the Latino vote, which was then 10% of the electorate, we're seeing numbers as high as 18 to 20% of the electorate for Super Tuesday this year. And so that's a doubling (laughter) of the turnout of the Latino electorate in just four years.
INSKEEP: I just got to stop you very briefly to say we have a call to make here. The Associated Press says that Joe Biden has won the Democratic primary in Massachusetts now, so one more state in the Joe Biden category. He's now got a majority of the 14 states that were voting tonight in his category, although he's not assured of a majority of the delegates yet.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Janet, going back to the Latino vote, I mean, we have seen a lot of strength of Bernie Sanders among Latinos. Is that enthusiasm that you're talking about - that turnout that you're talking about - because he has, you know, inspired them?
MURGUIA: Well, I think the story tonight is also going to be how Biden is drawing on (laughter) the Latino vote, and I think that's going to be an interesting story. I think we still don't have all the numbers. But I saw an early poll tonight from Washington Post saying that essentially, Biden and Sanders were going to split the Latino vote based on the early results. And I think what you're seeing here - and, again, the Latino vote is not a monolithic vote - but...
MURGUIA: ...You're seeing, I think, Latinos and Latinas attracted to the electability of Biden and I think a, you know, a real resonance that that's having in our community. And with Sanders, though, you're seeing a draw to the economic policies. And I think folks are trying to make an assessment between drawn to substance - and in many ways because of the appeal of access to health care and a breaking down of the economy and looking at jobs and wages that Sanders has promoted very, you know, specifically.
MURGUIA: What the interesting takeaway is going to be, though, is the generational differences when we can dig down on the numbers tonight.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: We're seeing that, I think, across the board. I mean, you know, older voters versus younger voters - whether they be African American, whether they be Latino. We're going to bring in Juana Summers now. She's here in the studio, and she covers demographics for NPR. And I think she's got a couple of questions.
SUMMERS: Yeah. I just wanted to ask you quickly - I'm curious, what do you see that is different from how the candidates are courting the Latino vote - which is, of course, not a monolith - this cycle as compared to cycles past when this year, they're poised to play such a significant role in states like California and Texas but also across the country?
MURGUIA: You're saying what issues are in play?
SUMMERS: What tactics are the candidates using that are different? What are they doing that's different?
MURGUIA: Well, certainly something we saw with Sanders in Nevada and I think in some of the bigger states - and, again, we'll see what happens in California and Texas tonight - but you saw a very concerted effort to invest in staffing and operations that reflected more Latinos and Latinas in - across the board in his staff and on the ground as activists, recruiting and registering voters. But you also saw Spanish language ad buys that were also invested in by Sanders.
You know, Biden hasn't had the same resources to do that. But certainly, we're seeing a lot of the - Beto O'Rourke's groundwork (unintelligible), followed by Sanders. And, you know, those investments, I think, have been key in mobilizing a lot of Latinos. We at UnidosUS have done a lot more to invest, along with a cadre of other Latino-led organizations, to really invest in voter registration, trying to close the voter registration gap. That's essential because we do know that when Latinos and Latinas are registered to vote, they actually vote above - on average or above the average of other voters.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Aimee, I'm going to let you have the last word here. You know, looking ahead at what we're seeing right now, I mean, where do you think African American voters in particular are going to land if indeed the nominee is Bernie Sanders?
ALLISON: Well, first of all, just around the issue of Latina leadership, one of the things that happened powerfully in Texas was engaging community-led, women of color-led...
GARCIA-NAVARRO: We're going to have to leave it there.
ALLISON: ...Door-knocking, like the Texas Organizing Project. And I think if Sanders pulls it out, then we can thank the Latinas leading that in Texas.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's Aimee Allison, the founder of She The People, and Janet Murguia, president and CEO of UnidosUSA (ph). A lot more ahead, but I'm bowing out. Stay tuned. Coming up into the studio now is Morning Edition's David Greene. This is Special Coverage of Super Tuesday from NPR.
INSKEEP: And we'll continue our Special Coverage here. David Greene will join us in a moment. Lulu Garcia-Navarro, it was a pleasure working with you this past hour, and it's certainly been a very interesting past hour.
We're now going to bring in NPR's Ron Elving, who has seen a lot of these elections and a lot of primary fights. But this has been a bit of an unusual one. Ron, what strikes your ear as you've been listening to the results come in this evening?
ELVING: This has been unlike any other Super Tuesday that I have seen. This phenomenon of having a number of states vote on one day in March began as an idea for conservatives and moderates in the party to try to counterbalance what came out of Iowa and New Hampshire. So in the '80s and '90s, they really tried to make this a way to push back. And it was an uneven record, to put it mildly. One year, it produced Michael Dukakis, a liberal from Massachusetts. But this year, it seems that these southeastern states really have reordered the landscape - starting with South Carolina, then moving through North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas. And if you want...
INSKEEP: And we'll continue our Special Coverage here. David Greene will join us in a moment. Lulu Garcia-Navarro, it was a pleasure working with you this past hour, and it's certainly been a very interesting past hour.
We're now going to bring in NPR's Ron Elving, who has seen a lot of these elections and a lot of primary fights. But this has been a bit of an unusual one. Ron, what strikes your ear as you've been listening to the results come in this evening?
ELVING: This has been unlike any other Super Tuesday that I have seen. This phenomenon of having a number of states vote on one day in March began as an idea for conservatives and moderates in the party to try to counterbalance what came out of Iowa and New Hampshire. So in the '80s and '90s, they really tried to make this a way to push back, and it was an uneven record, to put it mildly. One year, it produced Michael Dukakis, a liberal from Massachusetts.
But this year, it seems that these Southeastern states really have reordered the landscape, starting with South Carolina then moving through North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas and if you want to - if you can add on Oklahoma to that and also the fact that Texas is so close. And the voters in Texas who are making it close by voting for Joe Biden tend to be African Americans largely and people with the most in common with those people in the other states I just mentioned. Of course, the outliers are Massachusetts and Minnesota, which are very much different states and quite an illustration of the degree to which Joe Biden has surprised everyone tonight.
INSKEEP: I just want to mention a factor. When we talk about the black vote breaking for Joe Biden, when we talk about the Latino vote breaking a little bit more - a lot more, in some cases - for Bernie Sanders, are we not talking about race and ethnicity there? Could we actually be talking about age? I'm just noticing that the African American population, statistically, the median age it's older. It's an older population than the Latino population. I don't know that we can know for sure. But any of our panel here, is it clear that this is actually about age? Juana Summers. Juana.
SUMMERS: Yeah. So that we actually do know some of that. When we talk about the Latino population in particular, it is rapidly growing in this country and in many of the states that we're still talking about that we've yet to get results in tonight. And that population is a lot younger, as you have new, young Latinos who are growing up and then becoming voting age. And I think that's part of the reason, not all of the reason, that Bernie Sanders is doing so well. He's also just invested a lot of time doing those Spanish-language ads, bringing out surrogates, doubling down and spending a ton of time in places that are heavy with Latino voters.
INSKEEP: Well, I'm just thinking about the implications of that, Juana Summers. I guess it's good, if you're Joe Biden, that you've got the older voters with you because they vote a lot more reliably. But you would like that young vote to be there. The question will be whether Joe Biden, who will be - would be 78 when he's inaugurated, if he were to win the presidency - if he can win that younger vote that seems to be going to Bernie Sanders, who does not that young himself, I guess we should mention.
SUMMERS: Right. So that brings up a couple of questions. One is whether these young voters, regardless of race and ethnicity, will indeed support whoever the Democratic nominee is. And there's a second question of whether or not there will be enthusiasm for that nominee. We saw that drop off in 2016. And I think this is on the mind of a lot of these candidates. They recognize that we have - the leading candidates are all white folks in their 70s and with a growing - with a young primary electorate.
INSKEEP: OK. NPR's Juana Summers, thanks very much for the analysis. She'll stay with us, as will others here as we continue our Special Coverage. Joe Biden has won a majority of the states on this Super Tuesday, but many delegates are still up for grabs. This is Special Coverage from NPR News.
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INSKEEP: Senator Bernie Sanders has won the state of California. We can now declare that. From NPR News, this is live Special Coverage of Super Tuesday. I'm Steve Inskeep in Washington, D.C.
DAVID GREENE (HOST): And I'm David Greene at NPR West in Culver City, Calif.
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SANDERS: Tonight, I tell you with absolute confidence we're going to win the Democratic nomination.
GREENE: But it is Joe Biden, not Bernie Sanders, who appears to be in the lead overall so far. Biden has won Massachusetts. He's also won North Carolina, Minnesota, Tennessee, Alabama, Virginia and more.
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BIDEN: So I'm here to report we are very much alive.
INSKEEP: Sanders has won Colorado, Vermont and Utah, in addition to California, as we're now calling. We're waiting on Texas, very big state. Almost half of tonight's delegates in California and Texas. And we're waiting for results. Stay with us.
GREENE: Stay with us.
INSKEEP: OK. And we're going to continue here. We'll have details on what's happening in California and in other states this evening. Polls closed late tonight in Tennessee because Democrats petitioned to extend voting times around Nashville after a severe storm and tornado left dozens of people dead. Other people are still missing.
Many voters in Tennessee were determined to come out anyway including Jose Camero (ph). When the storm hit last night, he was at home, he says, with his wife, who is eight months pregnant.
JOSE CAMERO (TN RESIDENT): And I see this thing that I've never seen before just coming with all this force and just ripping the trees from our front yard, and I was able to turn around when the kind of first tree hit the house. And all the glass exploded.
INSKEEP: Jose Camero and his wife were able to ride out the storm in a closet, but woke to find their house destroyed. Camero did not want to miss his chance to vote for his candidate, Senator Bernie Sanders, who says he has energized people like himself.
CAMERO: A generation of people that care, people that go out and vote. I don't have a roof. My belongings are either wet, destroyed, covered in glass. And I still feel like I have to go and vote.
INSKEEP: The Sanders campaign arranged for somebody to pick him up and take him to the polls, and he waited in line for about an hour to cast his ballot.
CAMERO: While I was there, everybody was affected in a way or another by the tornado, maybe not as bad as me or maybe even worse or maybe in the (inaudible). But I think everybody was really excited to vote. It just made it feel like it was the right decision.
INSKEEP: Jose Camero of Nashville, Tenn., one of many, many people voting on this Super Tuesday across the country. His candidate may yet do well tonight, but did not win Tennessee. Joe Biden was declared the winner of Tennessee this evening.
Now let's go to our correspondents who've been covering the leading campaigns tonight. NPR's Scott Detrow has been covering Bernie Sanders. NPR's Asma Khalid has been covering Joe Biden. In the past hour, we heard both of these candidates give speeches. And let's begin with the person who's just been declared the winner of California. That would be Bernie Sanders. Scott Detrow, what are you hearing around the Sanders campaign this evening?
DETROW: Well, I'm hearing - and I think this gets to the problem that we're seeing in this current political environment for Bernie Sanders tonight - I heard three or four people clapping as the result flashed on the TV because this venue has emptied out. Bernie Sanders has spoken already, and the biggest state of the night, California, goes to him. But the narrative all evening, as it should be, is Joe Biden surging, winning state after state after state in the eastern and central part of this country. But one of the reasons he seems to be doing so well - because he did not spend campaign money, he did not organize in many of these states - is just the conversation, the coverage, the idea that he was surging.
So Bernie Sanders is doing better in the western part of the country. He won Utah. He's projected to win California. But the story for the next few days is going to be Biden, and we saw over and over again, last-minute voters shifting to Biden.
INSKEEP: And it's interesting the way that these things do go, Scott Detrow. You're just observing that if California were in the Eastern time zone, if polls had closed earlier in California, this race would look very, very different. But instead, we've spent the last several hours dwelling on victories from Joe Biden that are in the Eastern time zone for the most part.
DETROW: And, of course, California would not be California and that's a whole other conversation. But...
INSKEEP: (Laughter) Without a doubt. Without a doubt.
DETROW: Let me flag one more unique thing about California that's going to matter a lot over the coming days. We will not get a clear sense of the delegate breakdown for weeks probably because there is a huge amount of vote by mail. California is just a state that counts very slowly, and the Joe Biden surge will probably have a big effect on the final percentage in California.
The Sanders campaign planned all along to win California but also to win it by very large margins and keep a lot of the other candidates under 15% so they could walk away with the vast majority of its 415 delegates. If Joe Biden's a lot stronger, if Sanders wins but it's a neck-and-neck race, that's a very different picture. And that raises a lot of questions about Sanders' strategy going forward.
INSKEEP: So we are not going to know tonight the final delegate count, but I want to bring in NPR's Domenico Montanaro who's been continuing to follow things for us here in the studio. Just so that we understand one conclusion we can draw tonight, Domenico, we know that Biden has had a good night. We know that Sanders has won California and several other states. He has not had a terrible night. And we also know this - that in all the states going forward, none of them are winner-take-all. No one is likely to run away with all the delegates once you get down to a two-person race. Does this mean that we are likely headed for a long, drawn-out primary contest that could go for a couple months more before we really, truly know who's won this?
MONTANARO: Well, we're going to know 90% of the delegates by the end of April, OK? After that, we've only got 10% left, and we're talking about April until July. So this idea of a contested convention, I'm still very skeptical of that. I think you'll have some kind of brokering that's going on between May and July. But whether we get to a convention - that if you're getting to a convention where only 10% of the delegates are at stake in three months and you go to that convention and there's a second ballot, the Democratic Party has a bigger - have bigger problems at that point than what we're looking at currently.
INSKEEP: Yeah, it's a little early to talk about a contested convention, but it sounds like we can expect that we're not going to know the nominee next week. This is going to be a few months of slogging it out in state by state.
MONTANARO: The race has just begun. We finally now have a race between two people. This is going to be Bernie Sanders versus Joe Biden - very different coalitions that the two of them are bringing to the table. We've seen tonight and we've seen throughout the primary process that Bernie Sanders does well with young voters, with liberals and now with Latinos. Even in California, we see tonight that Bernie Sanders has a tremendous lead with Latinos, wins about half of Latinos. We see Joe Biden, on the other hand, doing very well with black voters, moderates and older voters - diametrically opposed coalitions that both sides have.
And if 2016 is any indication, well, you could almost go state by state and look at what the electorates are from the Democratic primary process and figure out how many delegates each person is going to get if those things hold.
INSKEEP: OK. If you continue with the same demographics state by state. Now let's go to the other leading campaign tonight, the campaign of Joe Biden. NPR's Asma Khalid has been covering that campaign, and she is in Los Angeles where Joe Biden spoke within the last hour. And Asma, what have you been hearing in the last little while since Joe Biden left the stage?
KHALID: Well, people are just exuberant. I mean, this is a guy who had never won a primary or a caucus up until last week when he had a victory - a pretty, you know, strong victory in South Carolina. And we've just seen a remarkably swift turn of events. I mean, I've covered previous campaigns. I have not seen anything like this where, you know, you saw somebody who - as he was saying earlier tonight - some of the press and the pundits had considered his campaign dead. I don't think anyone is at all saying that tonight.
INSKEEP: Nobody's saying that tonight, but I'm curious about something else. People who support Bernie Sanders have a pretty clear idea of what he is for. And he talks about revolution. Joe Biden pushed back on that in his speech tonight saying people are talking about a revolution. We have started a movement. Those were Joe Biden's words. When you talk with Biden supporters, though, the people who showed up and were cheering that speech, do they have a clear idea of what he wants to do and where he wants to take the country?
KHALID: So, you know, Steve, I've been talking to a lot of Biden voters about what it is and why they are supporting him. And probably the most consistent answer I hear is they want somebody who will unite the country. He talks a lot about healing and forgiveness in the aftermath of President Trump. You know, one of the big questions I have, though, is I don't believe all Democrats want to heal. You know, some people want to point fingers. And you hear that among some Democratic voters, that they feel frustrated that Biden wants to return to a past and that they don't feel like that is the right way forward.
That all being said, I think one of the most interesting interviews I had with somebody was a couple of young voters in Norfolk, Va., who told me that ultimately if this was a dream scenario, they would vote for Elizabeth Warren. But they want somebody who will be Donald Trump, and they have become convinced over the last couple of days that the best candidate to do that was Biden.
INSKEEP: When you say that there's some Democrats that don't want to heal, I am reminded of the old joke by Will Rogers - I'm a member of no organized political party. I'm a Democrat. Will Rogers, speaking many, many decades ago. NPR's Asma Khalid covering Joe Biden tonight. Thanks very much for your work.
KHALID: You're welcome.
INSKEEP: We'll continue checking in. And NPR's Scott Detrow was with Bernie Sanders this evening. And let's continue our coverage. David Greene is on deck.
GREENE: I am on deck, Steve, out in California. We want to turn to bring another voice in. It is Congressman Tony Cardenas, a Democrat of California, endorsed Joe Biden joins us on line. Congressman, thanks for taking some time tonight.
TONY CARDENAS (D-CA, REP): My pleasure. Thank you very much, David.
GREENE: I want to first ask you about the call, Bernie Sanders winning your state, California, which is the most delegate-rich state of the evening. Is that a setback for former Vice President Biden?
CARDENAS: Well, even though I endorse Joe Biden - Vice President Biden, I knew that, because Bernie Sanders probably spent - when they do the final analysis - probably outspent Joe Biden by 3 to 1 in California. So you're going to get some results from that. So congratulations to him. It's just like Bloomberg, who spent more money than Biden did. And Bloomberg didn't do as well as Biden in California, but he did pick up votes.
So I think that California is a perfect example where before this past weekend, Joe Biden didn't have the resources necessary to compete, you know, with, you know, spending money in - the biggest state, like California. But when you look at the other states that Joe Biden did well, he did well on his reputation. He did well on the fact that people want somebody to unite this country. They want somebody who can beat Donald Trump and somebody who's a coalition builder. And that's why I think Joe Biden has done very well tonight.
GREENE: Well, we should say you are right that, I mean, in California, it's not about the ground game. It is about very expensive media markets, and Bernie Sanders has...
CARDENAS: Oh, yeah.
GREENE: ...Outspent Joe Biden. But is it really just about money. I mean, as we've been looking at some of the trend in Democratic primary voting, Bernie Sanders has done very well among Latino voters. You know, we're going to dig obviously into the exit polls, but the fact that that has been happening and he wins the state of California, I guess, I wonder what is it about Bernie Sanders that is appealing to many Latino voters in the party? And is there something that Joe Biden should be improving on to try and attract Latino voters going ahead?
CARDENAS: Well, Joe Biden's campaign is going to invest more and more into communicating with the Latino voters in the rest of the country after tonight because I believe that after tonight, Joe Biden's probably have a lot closer to 1 to 1 dollars to work with. And I think...
GREENE: But what's been missing so far? What does he need to do?
CARDENAS: He just didn't have the resources to spend in a state like California, like you mentioned. California has some of the most expensive media markets. California is by far the largest state in the nation, 40 million people. And so the bottom line is they had to - they must have made some calculations and realized that if they spend all of their money in California, then perhaps they wouldn't have done so well in the rest of the country. So before this past weekend, I think it was a calculation of spending what little money they had compared to some of Joe Biden's competitors in this race. But I predict that after today, you're going to see Joe Biden's fundraising improve dramatically. And you're going to see going forward, a much more even split between the amount of investment Joe Biden is making state by state as well as Bernie Sanders, including the Latino community.
GREENE: What about beyond money, though? What about when it comes to policy, when it comes to substance, when it comes to messaging?
CARDENAS: Oh, I think that what Joe Biden is going to appeal to many communities, including the Latino community, is that when they start to hear and realize that he is a uniter. He is a coalition builder. He is someone who has been a lifelong public servant. And you have somebody like Bernie Sanders, who is just angry from the left. I call - I call it like I see it. I think Donald Trump tries to inspire voters to vote for him because - angry from the right. And Bernie Sanders tries to get people angry from the left, saying that you don't have and I'm going to make things happen.
With all due respect, Bernie Sanders has been in Congress for about 30 years now. And if anybody were to just look under - you know, behind the curtain and realize he hasn't passed hardly any legislation, no significant legislation at all. I've personally been at engagements where a bunch of us are coalescing together, getting behind bills and having a press conference. And I've been there with Bernie Sanders, and he speaks very well. And he gets the crowd going. But the bottom line is, when it comes to actually putting his shoulder into it and getting legislation done, he doesn't have a track record of doing that. And Joe Biden does. Just the record speaks for itself.
GREENE: Tony Cardenas is a Democratic congressman from the state of California. Congressman, thank you so much for your time tonight. We really appreciate it.
CARDENAS: Thanks a lot, David. Take care.
GREENE: And we are covering Super Tuesday. Joe Biden doing well in a number of states, but we have just called the state of California - the delegate-rich state of California in favor of Bernie Sanders, which is among the many topics we're going to be covering tonight as we continue our Special Coverage of Super Tuesday from NPR News.
INSKEEP: The story of this Super Tuesday is Joe Biden's big evening so far. We have mentioned and should continue mentioning that Bernie Sanders may well be doing better by the time the evening is over. We know that he has won the state of California. We do not know how many delegates he will get out of the state of California. Someone who has done considerably worse today is former Mayor Mike Bloomberg of New York City. Despite spending some $500 million, Bloomberg appears to be poised to get only a handful of delegates. Let's talk with a lawmaker who endorsed Mayor Bloomberg, Congressman Harley Rouda, Democrat from California. Congressman, welcome to NPR News.
HARLEY ROUDA (D-CA, REP): Thanks. Glad to be on the show.
INSKEEP: What do you make of Mayor Bloomberg's performance tonight?
ROUDA: Well, it's clearly not meeting his expectations and his supporters' expectations in the sense that quite a bit has changed in the last couple weeks in favor of Vice President Biden. Vice President Biden certainly had a great trend line from the debate, where he did exceptionally well, to his town hall on CNN, to the South Carolina vote, coupled with the endorsement from Representative Clyburn. And then clearly tonight, we're seeing the results continue in that vein.
INSKEEP: Is it time for Mayor Bloomberg to do as Amy Klobuchar did, as Pete Buttigieg did and say, listen, I can't really win here, and we need to unify and Biden's the guy?
ROUDA: I think we still need to see how the final results happen for California and Texas. But I also think that Bloomberg is a man of his word, and he has said all along that his primary goal is to defeat Donald Trump. And I'm sure he is committed to doing just that whether it is him at the top of the ticket or somebody else.
INSKEEP: I wonder what you think these results state about the value or lack of value of money in politics. Five-hundred-million dollars spent by Mayor Bloomberg. Our colleague Domenico Montanaro notes that so far Bloomberg has about 25 delegates. Maybe he'll get some more. But so far, that's $20 million per delegate.
ROUDA: Yeah, I'm not sure I'm going to get into the math on that because I think when you look at the fact that a lot of the advertising that Bloomberg has done has raised the overall quotient of voters coming into the polls because they recognize this is their time to vote, whether it's for him or others. Clearly, his advertising has been very focused on what's wrong with Trump...
ROUDA: ...What's wrong with where he's taking our country. So I think that's very beneficial to any candidate. And I believe, again, he's going to continue on. Regardless of whether he stays in the race or not, he has made a commitment to maintain his infrastructure in place for the defeat of Donald Trump. come November.
INSKEEP: Congressman Harley Rouda of California, thanks so much for joining us this evening. Really appreciate it.
ROUDA: No problem. Glad to be on the show. Take care.
INSKEEP: And he's talking with us on this evening when Joe Biden has been the big winner up to now, winning Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Colorado as well as Minnesota. Bernie Sanders has won some states, though, including the biggest one now called by the Associated Press in the last 20 minutes or so. That would be California, although it's not entirely clear how many delegates he will get or Biden will get. This is Special Coverage of Super Tuesday from NPR News.
GREENE: You're listening to Special Coverage of Super Tuesday from NPR News. I'm David Greene.
INSKEEP: I'm Steve Inskeep. Bernie Sanders has won California, the biggest prize of this night.
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SANDERS: We are putting together an unprecedented, grassroots, multigenerational, multiracial movement.
INSKEEP: We do not know yet exactly how many of California's 415 pledged delegates that Sanders will take away.
GREENE: And meanwhile, we are waiting on the winner in just two other states tonight. That would be Maine and Texas. Sanders and Joe Biden are neck-and-neck in Maine. And Sanders has a small lead in the state of Texas with less than a third of the votes. And both races are too close to call, and we'll be covering all of that as more numbers come in and the night goes on as we are bringing you the latest on Super Tuesday.
INSKEEP: So the people making the big news tonight are Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. But there are other candidates out there, and one of them is Elizabeth Warren. NPR's Danielle Kurtzleben has been covering the Warren campaign, and Warren's campaign is in Detroit tonight, if I'm not mistaken. Hey there, Danielle.
KURTZLEBEN: Hey, Steve.
INSKEEP: What is Warren or the people around him, what are they - or the people around her, what are they saying about her evening in which she did not win her home state? She doesn't appear likely to win any state and is only going to get a few delegates right.
KURTZLEBEN: That's true. I'll be honest. They haven't said much. She did do a speech here in Detroit. I will say, you know, she was well received. She had, according to her campaign, 2,200 people attended. And I will say it was a very warm reception, very loud. So she, you know - I've always thought she's kind of in this awkward space of having enough support and quite enthusiastic, loyal support, yes, to fill an auditorium, to have these really big wide shots of people cheering for her, but not enough to win a lot of delegates, you know?
INSKEEP: In many states, not quite enough to win any delegates. We'll note again that 15% is what is necessary to get any delegates. In Vermont, she gets 12%, in Virginia 10%, 10% in North Carolina, 5% in Alabama. She gets some delegates in Maine, gets some delegates in Massachusetts - maybe, maybe not - no, not Oklahoma. And so not a very productive night for Elizabeth Warren. How...
INSKEEP: Go on. Go on.
KURTZLEBEN: Well, let's talk about Massachusetts, by the way, 'cause what's striking there is - of course, it's her home state. It's where she's a senator - right? - and that Joe Biden has won Massachusetts. And I have not talked to Elizabeth Warren about this, but I would bet that's got to sting because the friction between her and Joe Biden goes back decades. She has - she and he had clashed over bankruptcy legislation, which is the thing she's an expert in back in the early 2000s. And lately in speeches, she had really been slamming him. In one last night, she called him a threat to the party and the country. So to see him win, I'm sure that doesn't feel great.
INSKEEP: Is she upset enough about Joe Biden to stay in the race even after a disappointing evening like this?
KURTZLEBEN: I don't know. I mean, listen. I would imagine that she's looking at the numbers more than how she's feeling about that because, you know, look. If she hadn't come in the top two in any of the early states, and after tonight, we'll see how she places in all of these other states. And if she doesn't see a path forward mathematically, I imagine that that is what will guide her decision.
INSKEEP: Well, let's think about strategic decisions here as well. We saw in recent days Amy Klobuchar decide and Pete Buttigieg decide they couldn't win, and it was important to stop Bernie Sanders. And so they threw their support behind Joe Biden. Warren is clearly more sympathetic to the Sanders side of the argument. Have you heard even any discussions of the possibility that Warren might want to consider backing out to give a little more space to Bernie Sanders as he faces this fight against a strengthened Joe Biden?
KURTZLEBEN: Not really, although, I will say, in term - as I said, she had been slamming Biden on the trail. She had criticized Sanders, but I would say not nearly as harshly. What she had said about Sanders in her stump speech the other night in Houston was, look, he has a lot of great ideas, but I don't think - he's not as effective as I am. He hasn't proven himself effective in the Senate, and I don't think he would be as effective as a president at getting those ideas passed. So still not exactly the nicest things to say, but also not - nothing near he's a threat to the party.
INSKEEP: OK. Danielle, thanks very much for the update. Really appreciate it.
INSKEEP: NPR's Danielle Kurtzleben is covering the Warren campaign. She was in Detroit tonight, gave a speech a little bit earlier this evening and has had disappointing results. The AP finds her not only not winning her home state of Massachusetts, but not even coming in second. She is projected to come in third, although her votes are sufficient enough that she will at least get some delegates out of her home state of Massachusetts.
GREENE: Let's bring in - let's get more analysis now. We have two other voices here. Ron Elving is senior politics editor. He is joining us tonight from WPLN News in Nashville Tennessee, one of the Super Tuesday voting states. And I'm joined here at NPR West in Culver City, Calif., by Lynn Vavreck, who is a political scientist at UCLA. Professor, thanks for being here.
LYNN VAVRECK (PROFESSOR, UCLA): It's my pleasure.
GREENE: Ron, thanks for being with us.
ELVING: Good to be with you, David.
GREENE: Let me start with you, Ron. What has stood out to you tonight? It seemed like a largely Biden night, but we've gotten this call for the state of California going for Bernie Sanders. And everyone was looking at California as so, so delegate-rich.
ELVING: Yes, it is. And of course Biden has been largely invisible in California. He has not spent much time there. He has spent virtually no money there. And in California, that appears to be fatal or near fatal. So the question becomes, can he get enough of the vote to get enough delegates to remain in the picture, and who else gets a share of the delegates because there is a big range in winning California? You could win it and get about 40% of the delegates - that is to say, Bernie Sanders since he has been declared the winner. Or you could win it and get over 70% of the delegates, depending on how many other candidates reach that 15% threshold and how rich the prize is for whoever finishes first.
And remember these are being distributed not only statewide, but also by congressional district. California has 53 congressional districts. So that's a lot of math. And it's a lot of working it out. We won't probably know until tomorrow just how big Bernie Sanders' victory in California was and whether or not it's enough to counterbalance the excellent night that Joe Biden had back East.
GREENE: But, you know, a lot of people who support Joe Biden have made a big deal out of winning states like South Carolina and some of the states tonight that have a lot of African American voters. If we look at Bernie Sanders winning a state like Nevada and then winning a state like California, I mean, his campaign has to be happy that he has been appealing to a lot of Latino voters in this race so far.
ELVING: That's right. But we've been talking about what the nature of this division between Latino voters' preference and African American voters' preference really is about. Is it about a preference for a policy set, or is it about personality, or does it have a lot to do with the other characteristics of the people who are voting for Bernie Sanders who are Latino? That is to say, their youth. And if they are younger than the voters who are choosing Joe Biden, then they're a lot like their correspondents among African American voters, where the younger African American voters do like Bernie Sanders very much. They just don't vote as often as their parents and grandparents.
And it would also make them very similar to the Anglo voters because the Anglo voters, it's the younger voters who really like Joe - who really like - excuse me - Bernie Sanders. People under 30 choose that 78-year-old, whereas their parents and grandparents prefer the other 78-year-old, Joe Biden.
GREENE: A lot of 78-year-olds you're talking about. Lynn...
ELVING: It's just like records.
GREENE: Lynn Vavreck, what stands out to you with the Bernie Sanders victory in California?
VAVRECK: Well I think there are a couple of things, and I like what we were just talking about in terms of, what do we make of the differences between these two candidates, Sanders and Biden? And is that really based in policy, or is it something else? And I think Ron is right. I think it is something else because when we look at data, we see that Democratic voters, no matter who they were supporting, they all want to live in the same kind of world - universal gun background checks, abortion stays legal, these kinds of things. Everybody wants those things. And so voters sort themselves for reasons that are about policy but then are about something else.
GREENE: What do you think it is? I mean, and this is going to be important because going forward, I mean, if this is largely a two-person race, a lot of that divide is going to become so significant.
VAVRECK: I think there are a lot of things, who people think can beat Donald Trump in November.
VAVRECK: That is huge for people. They're trying to coordinate around that person. What Ron just said, who are the other people in the coalition for the candidates? Am I like them? Are those my people? And that doesn't have to be race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation. It could be characteristics or demeanors - The difference in demeanor between a Pete Buttigieg and a Bernie Sanders or even a Joe Biden, sort of who are you more like? All these kinds of things - once party and policy are a constant, all these other things come into play.
GREENE: A lot to talk about. Lynn Vavreck with me here at NPR West in Culver City, Calif., and Ron Elving joining us from Nashville, Tenn., tonight. We'll be talking much more about the significant victory in California for Bernie Sanders. Although as Ron mentioned, we're going to have to look as the days go on, where the delegates actually are distributed. But certainly a big win there, but a lot of other victories that we're following tonight for Joe Biden.
INSKEEP: David Frum is with us next. He's a staff writer at The Atlantic. He was a speechwriter for President George W. Bush, and he's the author of a book called "Trumpocalypse: Restoring American Democracy," which gives you an idea of his view of the current president. OK. We have lost David Frum, but perhaps we'll get back to David Frum in a moment. We just gave him a good introduction, but perhaps we'll get a chance to talk with him later. NPR's Domenico Montanaro is here. And I'm just thinking this through, Domenico, if you are someone like David Frum, if you're a never-Trumper (ph) or if you're someone who's determined to get the president out of the White House, what have you learned this evening about the Democratic Party, where it's headed and how it might be positioned to win, if at all, in the fall?
MONTANARO: Well, I mean, a huge surge tonight from Joe Biden, and if you're somebody in that camp where you are hoping for a center-left candidate and you're a never-Trumper, maybe that's somebody that you're more open to supporting. You know, frankly, the never-Trumpers, though, are not a huge slice of the electorate. Overall, we've had, you know - it's, like, something like 7 to 9% of the electorate that's genuinely persuadable, which is kind of crazy if you think about it because it used to be, you run to the 40-yard line and, you know, you try to persuade the other 20. Well, that's shrunk pretty significantly. So we're talking about the margins. Margins of course matter because these elections have been super close. I mean, you know, less than 100,000 people decided the election in three states the last time.
INSKEEP: Yeah, Ron Elving, does it matter who the Democratic nominee is ultimately? In this respect, as has been observed during our Special Coverage this evening, regardless of who that nominee is, they will be running against President Trump, and the Democratic Party is going to be motivated to support that nominee.
ELVING: That's right. They are going to be motivated, but how many of them and how enthusiastically? And that of course will be absolutely crucial. The Democratic Party was pretty well united against Donald Trump in 2016. There were not that many Democrats. There were some, but not that many Democrats who actually enthusiastically embraced Donald Trump. What mostly happened was that Democrats who normally turn out or turned out twice for Barack Obama in '08 and in 2012 stayed home. They stayed home in places like Wisconsin and Michigan and Pennsylvania, as Domenico was just saying. And because of that stay-at-home factor - and there was perhaps some voter suppression involved in that as well in a couple of those states - because of that stay-at-home factor, Hillary Clinton came up shy of what she had fully expected to get in those three states and therefore, her popular-vote win was not enough to win the Electoral College. It's that simple.
So if the enthusiasm for either of these two - now two-person-race men is going to be lacking when we get to November, for whatever reason, that again could be fatal for the Democrats, no matter how united they are in disliking Donald Trump.
INSKEEP: Very small numbers of votes could make a difference. And I'm told that we now do have David Frum on the line, which means, Mr. Frum, that I did not manage to pronounce Trumpocalypse (ph) for nothing. You're with us.
DAVID FRUM (THE ATLANTIC): (Laughter). Thank you very much.
INSKEEP: Welcome back. Are you pleased with the results this evening, from your perspective as someone who is Republican but determined to get President Trump out of office?
FRUM: I think the Democrats have picked their most-winning candidate in the face of what is going to be a very tough year. The core problem that anybody had going into this year is 2020 is not a change year for any - in any vector except, one, to get rid of the president. If you ask Americans to rate their finances, they give - they're more positive than at any time since the late 1990s. They're even positive about their health coverage, which they don't usually like.
Bernie Sanders was asking Americans to vote for enormous change at a time when Americans didn't want to make an enormous change, most of them. And he said, well, but it's going to work 'cause I'm going to have this brand-new coalition that will be better than the coalition Democrats had in 2018 of African Americans and suburban voters. His coalition did not come out tonight. And Biden, I think, gave proof-of-concept that the 2018 coalition can still work.
INSKEEP: Are you convinced that Bernie Sanders would lose in the fall?
FRUM: I'm convinced not only that he would lose in the fall to President Trump, but that he would put at risk the House of Representatives majority that has been a check on Donald Trump. So a Sanders nomination raises the real possibility not only of Trump reelected, but Trump re-enabled by a new Republican majority in the House of Representatives.
INSKEEP: You don't think that it is possible even that people might not vote for Bernie Sanders, but would still vote for their Democratic member of Congress?
FRUM: We don't live in an age of ticket splitting. This isn't 1972. When George McGovern lost so badly to Richard Nixon, Democrats lost only 12 seats in the House, and they actually gained a couple of seats in the Senate. But Americans now are out of that habit, and the Bernie Sanders nomination would depress turnout among better-educated, more affluent Democrats. And that would of course hurt in the House.
INSKEEP: We have much more to say, David Frum. So stay with us. But I'll just mentioned right now for those just joining us that you are listening to special election coverage of Super Tuesday from NPR News.
David Frum, you said something rather interesting on Twitter today. You were responding to somebody else on Twitter, and you said, those of us, people like you, have been willing to sink our political beliefs, our policy beliefs in the pursuit of a greater goal. What did you mean by that?
FRUM: Look. I am a Republican I would normally want a smaller state, lower taxes, the normal Republican preferences. But Donald Trump is too high a price to pay for them. And so I think I and many Republicans like me accept that we're going to have a Democratic president as the only alternative to Donald Trump. And that is something we will accept and not just me - because who cares about me? - but the millions of people came out from Republican-leaning areas in 2018 to restore the House to the Democrats. And you can say that - and I think many Democrats have said this for themselves - that those Sanders voters are saying this is the time to go for the gusto, take the big risks, go for the bold choice. They're running a terrible risk not only for their party, but for the country.
INSKEEP: And are you saying then that they should give up their policy priorities, they should give up their dreams, in a sense, perhaps for many years to come, perhaps forever because it's that important?
FRUM: Well, the tweet I was commending when I tweeted this morning that you kindly referred to was by someone who said - who is very pro-Sanders who said, Joe Biden is almost 80 years old. He will have more or less a placeholder administration. Democrats and Republicans can resume post-Biden normal politics, when we argue about the direction of the country in the way that we have always argued about the direction of the country. But with everyone understanding that the president shouldn't be beholden to foreign powers, that he should not be corrupt and that he should not be refusing to comply with congressional subpoenas and carrying on in the other authoritarian ways that President Trump has carried on.
INSKEEP: Is there a risk, David Frum, from your side, feeling that defeating President Trump is so important? Is there a risk from your side of a result somewhat like that of Hillary Clinton? You put up Joe Biden. Biden is, you know, a deeply experienced politician, very familiar to Americans, but doesn't necessarily generate that much excitement. We've been hearing from our correspondents he doesn't draw such big crowds. Is there a risk that you just end up with a not-very-enthusiastic effort that simply fails against a very, very enthused Republican base in the fall?
FRUM: One of my favorite teachers of history in universities say, history never repeats itself. It only seems to do so to those who don't pay attention to the details. Look at the turnout in 2018, the biggest turnout in a nonpresidential year since before the first world war. Look at the incredible turnout, breaking all records in these Democratic primaries, especially in the southern states, South Carolina and Virginia, if we can still call Virginia a southern state. What we see is Democrats also remember 2016. They know how that came out. And Biden is different in another way. I think he is somebody who...
INSKEEP: Just a few seconds.
FRUM: Biden is someone who is able to channel the Obama spirit purely, in a way that in a way was also deeply reassuring in a way that Hillary was not to more conservative voters.
INSKEEP: David Frum, it's always a pleasure talking with you. Thank you so much.
FRUM: Thank you. Nice to talk to you.
INSKEEP: We're talking with David Frum of The Atlantic on this Super Tuesday, on which Joe Biden has won a majority of the states, but Bernie Sanders has won California. The exact delegate counts still to come. This is Special Coverage from NPR News.
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GREENE: California has gone to Bernie Sanders as he competes with Joe Biden for victory in Texas and Maine. From NPR News, this is live Special Coverage of Super Tuesday. I'm David Greene in Culver City, Calif.
INSKEEP: And I'm Steve Inskeep in Washington, D.C. Senator Sanders has been talking about a political revolution, and former Vice President Biden referred to that tonight.
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BIDEN: People are talking about a revolution. We started a movement. We've increased turnout. The turnout's turned out for us.
BIDEN: That can deliver us to a moment where we can do extraordinary, extraordinary things.
GREENE: After what was certainly a tough start to his campaign, Biden has gotten some very big wins tonight including, Virginia, Minnesota and even Massachusetts, the home of another candidate, Senator Elizabeth Warren.
INSKEEP: Who has had a disappointing evening so far. Stay with us for more analysis and results. And let's get some of that analysis from Elizabeth Bruenig. She is an opinion writer for The New York Times who has been supportive of Senator Sanders. Ms. Bruenig, welcome.
ELIZABETH BRUENIG (THE NEW YORK TIMES): Thanks so much for having me.
INSKEEP: Are you at least a little bit disappointed this evening?
BRUENIG: No, I actually - I mean, I think it's going all right. You know, he's going to look - it looks like, you know, as you mentioned, we're not going to have exact delegate counts in for a while, especially to California. But so far, from what I've seen, things are going well for Sanders in California. They're going well for him in my home state of Texas. These are states with high delegate counts, and we have had a few primaries before today, right? He did extremely well in Nevada, New Hampshire. He did well, the popular vote, in Ohio. So he's doing quite well and it seems like will emerge in about a tie.
INSKEEP: Can I just ask, though - you say seems like he will emerge in about a tie. What that says is that Senator Sanders will emerge in about a tie with a candidate who spent a small fraction of the money that Sanders has been able to spend in these 14 states. Remarkably, since Sanders campaigns against the power of big money, he in this contest is the guy who has the money at the moment, and Biden did not.
BRUENIG: Right. So Biden was waiting, I think, for consolidation around him, which is what has given him his boost here. Bernie's main opponent, the person who is, you know, retaining part of the progressive vote that would otherwise go to Sanders, is still in the race - Elizabeth Warren.
BRUENIG: So Biden benefited quite a bit from Klobuchar and Buttigieg dropping out and all of the center folks who dropped out before and then from those endorsements from Klobuchar, Buttigieg, Beto O'Rourke. All of those endorsements gave him the boost he has got tonight, so I - in South Carolina. So I think those benefits have to be factored in as well.
INSKEEP: Would you say that Sanders is still well-positioned to win the nomination outright over the next couple of months?
BRUENIG: Yeah. I mean, I think that the map ahead of him is a lot friendlier than the map that he had to deal with tonight. So once Super Tuesday is over, we're pretty much out of the South. It was always understood those would be pretty good states for Biden, and they were. But as we move into the Midwest and the center of the country, we're looking at states that are much better for Bernie in the polls.
INSKEEP: Why do you think it is that Bernie Sanders has not - even though he has won huge margins among younger voters, there doesn't seem to be a giant groundswell of the number of younger voters being out there, people that he would be counting on in November.
BRUENIG: Well, I think Bernie's campaign has focused on getting out the vote with young folks, and I think they're meeting expectations. You definitely don't see a swell. Where you do see a massive swell is among Hispanic voters, and the Sanders campaign has been putting a lot of resources, a lot of time, effort and messaging into getting out the vote with Hispanic voters, a key demographic. And it looks like they've done that in California and Texas.
INSKEEP: OK. Elizabeth Bruenig of The New York Times, thanks very much for your time - really appreciate it.
BRUENIG: Thanks so much.
GREENE: Steve, I want to bring in another voice here. We have the former governor of Pennsylvania on the line, Ed Rendell - also former chair of the Democratic National Committee and a supporter of former Vice President Joe Biden. Governor, thanks for being here.
ED RENDELL (FORMER D-PA, GOV): My pleasure, guys.
GREENE: This was not a good beginning to this campaign season for Joe Biden. But after South Carolina and tonight, how would you describe this evening for former Vice President Biden?
RENDELL: A great evening. If you would've told me four or five days ago that Joe Biden was going to win the majority of states on Super Tuesday, I would've said you were crazy. He's going to wind up with eight or nine states out of the 15 - American Samoa to Mayor Bloomberg. So he won nine - will win at least nine, I think. And Bernie Sanders will win five. I never would've predicted that. This is a huge night for Joe Biden. It's not over by any means. I think they'll be basically within 50 delegates of each other, whosever ahead in the delegate count. But I would differ from your prior guest. The South - three of the biggest states in the South remain to vote. That's Florida, the giant of the South, Georgia, the second biggest state in the South and Louisiana. And I think you'll see Joe Biden roll up big numbers in those states.
GREENE: He is at a fundraising disadvantage. I mean, we certainly seem to be seeing the results of that in the state where I am, the state of California, where we've declared Bernie Sanders the winner. Are you confident that Joe Biden can start raising more money, and what is the key to doing that? And couldn't that be a challenge for him going ahead here?
RENDELL: Well, I teach a course at Penn in the politics of getting elected. And I tell my students that money is crucially important in almost every political campaign in America except for president. Why do you think Joe Biden did well despite the fact that he had almost no advertising in any of the 14 Super Tuesday states? Two reasons - one, because he's well-known and the American people have, you know, thoughts about Joe baked in. And basically, they like him. But two - what's the other reason? It's you guys. It's the free media. There's nothing in politics like the free media that a presidential campaign gets. And the switch from Saturday in South Carolina to Tuesday - Super Tuesday - was dramatic and dynamic, you know? It was because of all of the free media, and free media will continue to power the vice president.
Look; he raised $12 million in the last three days. He's going to do well. But he's never going to be able to compete with Bernie for money. Bernie is a putative billionaire when it comes to campaign spending. And he can't compete with Bernie, but he doesn't need to because people know Joe Biden. They like Joe Biden. They have confidence in him. And a lot of the voters in the exit polls said what they wanted is a return to stability, and Joe Biden gives us that better than anyone alive.
GREENE: Well, let me just - I mean, let me take up your, quote, "free media" theme. I mean, if this becomes a two-person race, I think it's safe to say that both Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden will be getting a lot of attention going forward. And the party, I mean, at the moment seems very, very split. How do you see this party coming together around one of these candidates when the division seem so stark right now?
RENDELL: Two words - Donald Trump. As difficult as the split may be - and I think it's up to us on the moderate side to respect Bernie Sanders and to say, if Bernie emerges the winner, we're going to work our heart out for him. And I believe Bernie Sanders would be a much better president than Donald Trump, and I believe he can win. But I believe Joe Biden is more likely to win and would be a better president because I think he knows how to put coalitions together, and you need coalitions if you're going to get anything passed in Washington. So we've got to respect each other, but Donald Trump will unify this party in a way. You know, Donald Trump in 2016 wasn't the boogeyman that he is now. People didn't know much about him other than he was brash and he talked a good game. And he said he was going to clean up Washington, and that was music to people's ears. Now, the swamp - he may have drained the swamp of alligators, but he replaced it with a whole lot more crocodiles and alligators, and people know it now. So I think we'll unify because of Donald Trump, but there's work to be done.
GREENE: But, I mean, your state - we should say there's - I mean, Donald Trump has a political base that has been pretty loyal. And there are voters in your state who support the president. I guess I wonder - you know, a lot of people bring up a state like Pennsylvania when they talk about electability. And people who support Joe Biden say that Bernie Sanders would struggle in a state like Pennsylvania to beat Donald Trump. You said you would work your heart out.
RENDELL: He would struggle.
GREENE: You said you'd work your heart out for Bernie Sanders to win a state like Pennsylvania if he is indeed the nominee. What would be key to that? What do you tell Pennsylvania voters who have real concerns about a Bernie Sanders?
RENDELL: Well, first of all, the first thing I'd do is talk to Bernie about his position on fracking. He says he will eliminate fracking the first day he's president. Well, you can't do that. In Pennsylvania, we get only about 8% of our electricity from renewables. And fracking produces natural gas, which is much better for our environment than burning coal. It's about 50% less carbon-producing. It's a good and necessary bridge to the future. And I think Bernie should change his position and say, look. I want to eliminate fracking as soon as possible, but we need to ramp up renewable's capability before we do that, so fracking is going to be around as a bridge to the future. He can do that and, I think, do it wisely, and everyone except the fanatical environmentalists will understand that position.
So I'd work with Senator Sanders to shore up some of his weaknesses. But even if he didn't change on fracking, I would go to the people of Pennsylvania and I'd say, Donald Trump is tearing this nation apart. He's tearing the heart out of this nation. He's setting one American group against another American group. And we can't make it as a country for four more years, so we have to vote for Bernie Sanders. And I'd tell my moderate friends to suck it up, bite their lip and go in there and vote for Bernie.
GREENE: Ed Rendell, former governor of Pennsylvania, former chair of the DNC. Governor, thanks so much for joining us. We really appreciate it.
RENDELL: Thanks guys. Great night for Joe, though.
GREENE: I want to bring in two other voices here. Our political reporter Juana Summers is in Washington, D.C., and Lynn Vavreck here is here with me at NPR West in Culver City, Calif. She is a professor of American politics at UCLA. Thank you both for spending time talking about all these races tonight.
SUMMERS: You got it.
VAVRECK: Great to be here.
GREENE: Can I bring up one name I wanted to talk to both of you about? It is Michael Bloomberg, who was really betting his hopes on Super Tuesday. It seems like a disappointing night so far. Juana, what do you see in terms of Bloomberg and his path forward here?
SUMMERS: Yeah, absolutely. So one of the big things about Mike Bloomberg is that he is someone who had just blanketed the airwaves in so many states with so many ads, so many mailers - had been rolling out endorsement after endorsement, particularly of African American leaders in this country. But that effort does not seem to have yet paid off in terms of delegates. I think to a state we talked about early in the night, North Carolina, where he spent tens of millions of dollars on ads. He had a vaunted operation there that was supposed to have really capitalized on the early vote, and that is a state that went for Joe Biden. He did not win.
It would seem as though the momentum that Joe Biden has gotten after his win in South Carolina, the coalescing of some of the other moderate candidates who have come out and since backed him after dropping out of the race, has blunted some of the momentum that Mike Bloomberg had hoped to have and to capitalize on. And keep in mind this is his first appearance on the ballot, and it has not gone the way that his advisers had suggested that it would in the days leading up to today.
GREENE: Lynn, you and I were talking about whether Bloomberg's first debate performance - whether that might have been pivotal in terms of the results we're seeing tonight.
VAVRECK: I think it's so interesting to think about this. If I can get people to think back to that ancient history of two or three weeks ago...
GREENE: It seems like forever.
VAVRECK: ...Whenever that debate was - and Democratic voters are hungry to coordinate around a candidate who can go into the fall and beat Donald Trump. And here is this moment in that first debate where all the signal was on Bloomberg. Watch this guy. He could be the guy. He could be the dream candidate. And if it weren't such a disappointing performance in that moment, you might imagine that everything we've seen since Saturday that has happened to Joe Biden might have happened to Michael Bloomberg earlier.
GREENE: Really? Even with just one good debate performance?
VAVRECK: Well, I just think that what has happened since Saturday, to me, is really remarkable. And that - and part of it, to me, is an indication that voters really were looking for someone to get behind. And there was no clear signal coming out of Iowa. It took a few days. Then New Hampshire was - people were still just waiting for the coordinating choice to emerge. And there's no - I think Bloomberg could have had these moments if that first debate had gone differently for him and if he hadn't have skipped the first four contests. I think that's another big lesson from tonight.
GREENE: Juana, let me come back to you. You know, one of the states that Bernie Sanders has won tonight is California, which, of course, has a lot of Latino voters. Another state we're following closely, which has not been called yet, is the state of Texas. Are you seeing any exit polls that suggest where Texas might be heading and what we might learn from tonight?
SUMMERS: I am, yeah. So first of all, we should note that things, from what we're seeing, are - results are very close right now in Texas.
SUMMERS: But something we are able to tell from the exit polls is that, right now, Bernie Sanders is winning Latino voters. He's got support from about 45% of them, compared with Joe Biden, who has about a quarter - about 25%. And they make up a third of the Democratic electorate there.
Now, something that's interesting when you dig a little bit further into that is that we often talk about Bernie Sanders doing particularly well with young voters. And he is doing well with young Latinos. But he's also doing well with some older Latinos. But Joe Biden is also getting backing from the oldest group of Latinos, so folks who are over the age of 65 years old. And they make up - voters over the age of 65 broadly, across racial and ethnic groups, make up about a quarter of primary voters this year in Texas. That is more than in 2016 and in 2012 - so a good sign for Biden there across all racial and ethnic groups.
GREENE: OK. Again, that's Juana Summers and Lynn Vavreck helping us with our coverage of Super Tuesday tonight. Joe Biden has won a number of significant states. We have called, though, the state of California for Bernie Sanders. We'll have to wait to see how those delegates are distributed. We're also waiting on another big state, and that would be results from the state of Texas. And we'll bring you those numbers as soon as we can. You're listening to live Special Coverage of Super Tuesday from NPR News.
INSKEEP: Let's just mention what the numbers are in Texas at this moment on the NPR board here that you can see at npr.org. Right now, with a little less than half the vote reporting, Bernie Sanders has 28.9% of the vote. Joe Biden has 28.8% of the vote. Now, who ends up on top in that one state might not make that much of a difference in the number of delegates, but it certainly would make a huge difference in the way that people perceive this evening and the way that people perceive who's leading in this race.
California is much more definite - much more definite for Bernie Sanders - called as soon as the polls closed. And California is where we find Scott Shafer, senior political editor of KQED, our station in San Francisco.
Hey there, Scott.
SCOTT SHAFER (BYLINE): Hey, Steve. How are you?
INSKEEP: What do you make of these numbers?
SHAFER: Well, you know, not a big surprise. I mean, all the polls in the last few weeks showed that Bernie Sanders had a pretty commanding lead in California. You know, he had a very good ground operation. He had field offices throughout the state, a good get-out-the-vote operation. We know that there were people knocking on doors. You know, and he was very present in places like the San Francisco Bay Area and East Los Angeles. They had this Tamales with Tio Bernie (ph) program that was aimed at Latino voters. And also, you know, he ran in 2016. And so he had a lot of - he went to school on that. You know, he learned some lessons from losing to Hillary Clinton four years ago.
INSKEEP: OK. So we have this circumstance where Sanders has won fairly big in California, but maybe not as big as people expected. It seems there was a Biden surge even in California. There was a thought that Biden might not even get 15%. Instead, he is over 15%, it appears. And therefore, he's going to get some delegates, too, out of California.
SHAFER: Yeah. And it's - of course, it's still very, very early, but I did see an exit poll that showed among voters who decided in the last few days, 50% went for Joe Biden and just 22% for Sanders. And so we know that about 16 million absentee ballots went out, vote-by-mail ballots. And only about a third of those had been returned by Election Day. So if there were people holding onto their ballots to the last minute, that could accrue to Joe Biden's advantage. And we'll see as those numbers come in.
INSKEEP: Scott Shafer, I want to ask something about Bernie Sanders' strong support in California. You mentioned that he worked for it. He campaigned for it. And it seems to have paid off. But I want to ask about something else. California has been seen as the center of the resistance, the resistance to the president of the United States, Donald Trump. We've heard warnings from more conservative or more moderate Democrats that Bernie Sanders would lose in November. If you're an absolute "Never Trumper," the idea is you would never want Bernie Sanders there - too big of a risk.
What is it that you're hearing from California voters that is different, that makes some California Democrats, it seems, think that Bernie Sanders would be perfectly fine in November?
SHAFER: Well, you know - yeah. Voters clearly want to defeat Donald Trump. But I think they like the messages that are resonating with a lot of folks - especially younger people - talking about economic opportunity, student debt, cost of college, raising the minimum wage. I mean, Hillary Clinton did get 4 million more votes than Donald Trump did in California. So there is a very deep blue cast...
SHAFER: ...To the electorate here. And, you know, I think that the concern is more down-ballot - what impact might a nominee like Bernie Sanders have on some of those purple congressional races.
INSKEEP: I see. Scott Shafer, always a pleasure. Thanks so much.
SHAFER: You bet.
INSKEEP: He's with KQED. And we will continue for another hour. This is Special Coverage of Super Tuesday from NPR News.
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INSKEEP: Bernie Sanders has won the Democratic primary's biggest state tonight, California. He's in a very tight race with Joe Biden for the other big state, Texas. From NPR News, this is live Special Coverage of Super Tuesday. I'm Steve Inskeep in Washington, D.C.
GREENE: And I'm David Greene at NPR West in Culver City, Calif. It has been a big night so far for Joe Biden. After losing several early primary contests, the former vice president has now won nine states in total.
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BIDEN: For those who've been knocked down, counted out, left behind, this is your campaign.
INSKEEP: With his call for a political revolution, Bernie Sanders has won California, Utah, Colorado and his home state of Vermont.
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SANDERS: Let's go on to the White House. Thank you.
GREENE: We are still waiting for final results from Texas, where it's very close, and also from Maine. Those races are still too close to call. Stay with us for more analysis.
We want to begin with NPR's Domenico Montanaro, who is in Washington, D.C., and has been following these results as they've been coming in from all these different states tonight. Domenico, summarize what you've seen so far from this evening.
MONTANARO: Well, really a remarkable night where, obviously, Joe Biden's surge has - is real. I mean, you know, a lot of people were wondering if he would actually have that kind of a surge. We saw the endorsements. And tonight, you know - you read off the results - he's having quite a night. And, you know, what we saw is, in the exit polls, late deciders really broke for Joe Biden. In some places, they were anywhere from a fifth to half of the electorate.
You know, and this is a kind of thing - when we've been talking about polls this entire time, one of the things I talked about over and over again was that three-quarters of Democratic voters would say that they could change their mind. And when you have that kind of volatility and you have a whole lot of people not sure who they want to go to, but they are searching around for somebody who they have this amorphous idea of who could beat Donald Trump - when they finally decide, they certainly all decided en masse.
And now what we have is a very strong fracture in the Democratic Party between the progressive wing and the more moderate, incremental wing of the party, where you have Bernie Sanders, who came into tonight as the front-runner - certainly, you know, has his share of voters. He's got young voters. He's got very liberal voters - and overwhelmingly seeing him win Latinos - but Joe Biden winning African Americans in huge numbers, winning moderate voters and older voters. You know, somehow, they have to be able to put that back together again.
GREENE: But this was the recipe that Joe Biden needed to remain strong and stay in this race on Super Tuesday - to bring that momentum out of South Carolina, going into states tonight so quickly after the win in South Carolina and also not having the money to spend in any of these states. But he needed late-breaking voters to decide, OK, he's viable. He's got momentum, so I'm going to go his way.
MONTANARO: Absolutely. Look. The fact of the matter is it's momentum over money. I mean, look at how much money Mike Bloomberg spent. But once he got on that debate stage, it didn't matter that he'd spent, you know, quarter billion dollars - quarter billion dollars - I choke on that, almost...
MONTANARO: ...On just these Super Tuesday states, right? And Joe Biden had spent $600,000. Now, look. Joe Biden is uniquely able to be the kind of person who could win or do as well as he did tonight because how - of how high his name ID is. His recognition - everyone in the country knows who he is. And it really took voters getting behind him after seeing how well he did with black voters in South Carolina, blowing out those margins, exceeding expectations and, I think, as importantly, delivering a very strong victory speech out of South Carolina that reassured a lot of moderate Democrats that he's still on his game.
GREENE: All right, Domenico. We're here watching, we should say, an incredibly close race in the state of Texas. And I'm sure we'll be following that with you as the hour goes along. Domenico Montanaro, thanks.
MONTANARO: You're welcome.
INSKEEP: And as we await results out of Texas, let's go to Congressman Pete Aguilar. He represents California. He's chief deputy whip in the House Democratic Caucus. And he endorsed Michael Bloomberg.
Congressman, welcome to the program.
PETE AGUILAR (D-CA, REP): Good to be with you, Steve.
INSKEEP: It's a harsh question, but it has to be asked. What went wrong for Mike Bloomberg tonight? Very few delegates seem to be on the table for him.
AGUILAR: Well, yeah, that seems to be the case. And obviously, in California, it's going to take us a little while to count the votes - but clearly not enough first- and second-place finishes for the Bloomberg campaign, you know, earlier in the evening.
INSKEEP: What would you have Michael Bloomberg do now?
AGUILAR: Well, I think that, you know, I'm not going to tell any candidate what they need to do or how they want to reassess their campaign. But I think the public, you know, information had said that they were going to reassess and plan forward.
I think Michael Bloomberg can play a role in this campaign. I still think that he is committed to beating Donald Trump. I think Democrats are committed to beating Donald Trump. I think that's the overwhelming message from this evening. And so we need to figure out what role individuals can play. And just like Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg and Beto O'Rourke played on that stage last night, you know, there needs to be a role for Michael Bloomberg to help beat Donald Trump.
INSKEEP: Are you suggesting that that role would not be as a presidential candidate necessarily?
AGUILAR: Well, I think we're all focused on the prize. And it really is. And, you know, we're focused on stopping Donald Trump from four more years of divisiveness, four more years of being a climate denier and not being committed to gun safety reform. And these types of things, you know, we're committed to. And so we need to find out where the Bloomberg campaign, you know, fits in that. And hopefully there's a role to help shape the debate and shape the conversation from wherever that may be.
INSKEEP: Someone who supports Michael Bloomberg, as you do - people who supported Joe Biden were doing so, in many cases, to prevent Bernie Sanders from winning this nomination, fearing that he would lose to Donald Trump. You're in a state that just went for Bernie Sanders. What would you say to Sanders supporters to keep them on board if someone more moderate, such as Joe Biden, is, in fact, nominated in the end?
AGUILAR: That we all share the same goal, that - the same values that we share about moving our country forward, about ending the divisiveness of the Trump administration, that we're all committed to those ideals and we need to put the best candidate who can get 270 electoral votes. Just because somebody wins in New York or California doesn't mean that they can get 270 electoral votes. And so that needs to be the focus. That needs to be our commitment is - as delegates, as elected officials and as leaders within the party. If we're truly committed to beating Donald Trump, then we need to act like it. And we need to put a candidate forward who can count to 270.
INSKEEP: Very briefly, congressman, a lot of people got behind Mike Bloomberg once upon a time because they feared Joe Biden couldn't win, that he just didn't have it. Do you think that Joe Biden can win?
AGUILAR: I think if Joe Biden is the Democratic nominee, he can win. And clearly, he's had an incredibly good evening tonight. And my hat's off to him and his team. And if he's the Democratic nominee, he'll have my full and complete support. And we need to do everything we can to end this administration. We have to make Donald Trump a one-term president.
INSKEEP: Congressman, thanks very much for the time.
AGUILAR: Thanks, Steve.
INSKEEP: Pete Aguilar is a congressman from the 31st District of California and had endorsed Michael Bloomberg.
GREENE: Steve, I want to bring in some members of NPR's political team who have not been sleeping much following these candidates all around the country. We have Scott Detrow with us. He's been covering Bernie Sanders. He's in Essex Junction, Vt.
DETROW: Hey there. I have now moved to outside the venue on a cellphone because they made the reporters all pack up and leave.
GREENE: Wow. We're keeping you late enough that they're packing up the venue and making you come outside. That's - you're working hard.
Asma Khalid is with Joe Biden. She's in Los Angeles. Asma, the coffee's warm here at NPR West. You should come by up the road and join us here.
KHALID: (Laughter) Maybe we'll swing by tomorrow during the daytime. But I will say we were with Joe Biden, but they also packed up, so I'm with our producer. We're actually in an Uber on our way to a hotel.
GREENE: I love this. OK. I mean, staying up later than any people in the campaign - that's Scott and Asma.
Well, Scott, let me start with you. Bernie Sanders came into Super Tuesday, you know, hoping to keep the front-runner status. He had a lot of money to spend. So far, it looks like Joe Biden has won a bunch of states, although Bernie Sanders, it looks like, has picked up the state of California. What - where do you think the Bernie Sanders campaign stands at this point as this night ends?
DETROW: It's just remarkable to me how such a huge advantage in advertising and organizing and focusing on the March 3 states, which the Sanders campaign has done so much of - Joe Biden did not spend any time, really, campaigning or focusing or organizing on these states because he didn't have an option. South Carolina became do-or-die for him after he did so poorly in Iowa and New Hampshire.
But all that organizing, all that advertising was caught up in just three days of incredible momentum by Joe Biden, especially yesterday when Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar and Beto O'Rourke all rallied around him. We have been seeing all year that Democratic voters aren't quite sure what to make of things, are responding to last-minute events. And that really happened in a big way across the entire country today.
GREENE: Asma, let me turn to you. And, you know, if your Uber driver has any thoughts - certainly welcome to hear another voice. But as you've been following Joe Biden around - I mean, coming out of South Carolina, a lot of the talk was, with just a matter of hours before these Super Tuesday races - I mean, can he keep that momentum going and really turn things in some of these states? It seems like he's done pretty well. What do you attribute that to?
KHALID: I think there's two major factors. One was that landslide victory he had in South Carolina that showed his clear strength with black voters compared to any other candidate in this field. The other factor was that Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar decided to exit the race. And so we saw the moderate candidates in this field decide to clear the lane and essentially choose one primary alternative to take on Bernie Sanders. And it seems they chose Joe Biden to be that person.
GREENE: I want to bring another voice here. It's Lynn Vavreck, who is a professor of political science at UCLA. You know, Asma talking about Joe Biden and what he was able to do here, as you listened to Joe Biden speak tonight, are you picking up on messaging that might suggest how he is trying to really, you know, get the support he might need to keep going here?
VAVRECK: Yes. I think that if you listened to what Joe Biden said in Los Angeles here tonight, he started to carve out a message that was appealing to, he said, those who've been knocked down, counted out and left behind - this is your campaign. Now, he's used that line before. But he went on from there to sort of define who he thought those people were. And he referenced, you know, pipefitters and union workers and miners and factory workers whose lives have changed, who don't really fit in in the 21st century anymore and how he was going to figure out a way to improve their lives.
OK, so this is evocative of Hillary Clinton's 2016 message everyday Americans. It's a - he - Biden, tonight, said it was about the middle class. And he's distinguishing himself from Sanders in this way, which I think is good. Sanders is calling for a revolution. Biden said this is a movement. But there is something a little bit - there's a disconnect for me in having a candidate like Joe Biden talking about this group of people and trying to help them move into the 21st century. I'm not sure he's the right messenger for that message.
GREENE: Why not?
VAVRECK: Well, it's - in my mind, I think of the contrast with what if a candidate like Pete Buttigieg, who literally could say for the next 20 years, I'm committed to figuring out how to make a middle class that works, and it's a little bit who's got the - who's going to have the time to put the work into - this is a huge effort. These people are the Obama-Trump voters from 2012 to 2016. This is the myth of these voters. And so Biden is trying to say, I know how to bring you back into the party. But I'm just not sure that - his best play should be my experience will bring me to a place where I can figure out how to solve your problems, not just that it's about the future. It's about his experience.
GREENE: We also have political reporter Juana Summers, who's in Washington, D.C. Juana, as you look at this race, if it is indeed shaping up as largely a two-person race, where do you see the fault lines as you've been looking at exit polls and what voters have been saying today?
SUMMERS: Yeah, so I think broadly one of the fault lines - and we've talked about this some tonight - is the generational fault line. We know from the contests earlier this year, as well as from his first campaign for president in 2016, that Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders does particularly well with younger voters, regardless of race or ethnicity. We know that from the results we have seen this year that former Vice President Biden tends to perform more strongly with older voters. There are also fault lines between what we see with different groups of non-white voters, with Biden doing better with black voters, with Bernie Sanders doing well with Latino voters. Those are some of the biggest fault lines that we'll be watching for. And this is something I think is really playing out interestingly in Texas as we continue to watch those results come in. It seems to be a very close race there.
GREENE: Scott Detrow, Asma Khalid, few seconds we have left, where are each of you going from here? Where are these candidates going after Super Tuesday?
DETROW: Well, I'm going home for a day or so.
GREENE: (Laughter) Good.
DETROW: And Bernie Sanders is going to be campaigning in Mississippi, a lot of campaigning in Michigan. Of course, real symbolic value among all the states that are voting on March 10. He's also going to be doing some stops in Arizona, which votes the week after the next round of primaries.
KHALID: And so Joe Biden actually has a speech here in Los Angeles tomorrow. Then he's taking a bit of time off, then he's off to Mississippi and Missouri. Those, of course, are states that are going to be voting in the next week or so.
GREENE: Amazing. We're already talking about more states after the 14 states voting today. We have been covering Super Tuesday. It's been a good night for Joe Biden, picking up a lot of states. But again, one of the calls we've made is Bernie Sanders winning the state of California tonight. Much more analysis to come as we are covering Super Tuesday from NPR News.
INSKEEP: And here's a look at the latest results we have from the state of Texas. Joe Biden has now opened up a lead with a little less than two-thirds of the votes counted, so there's plenty of time for things to change. But Joe Biden currently has 30% of the vote in Texas, which puts him a bit more than a percentage point ahead of Bernie Sanders, who has 28.8 percentage points. Biden also has a very, very narrow lead in Maine and has won a majority of the states tonight. Eight states have already gone for Biden and a possibility there of a couple more, although California, the biggest, has gone to Bernie Sanders. Let's get a closer look at Texas now with Ashley Lopez, who is at KUT in Austin, Texas. Welcome.
INSKEEP: Exciting night to be in Texas, I guess.
LOPEZ: Yeah, always (laughter).
INSKEEP: And so what has made the race so close in Texas, as far as you can tell?
LOPEZ: Well, even though Bernie Sanders had a robust ground game and was surging, you know, during early voting and even up until election day today, you know, Joe Biden has a lot of support in a sort of rising part of the Democratic Party in Texas, and that's the suburban areas around some of those urban cores, like the exurbs, like, around Dallas, Austin, Houston. And I think a contingency of his support that, you know, hasn't been talked about a lot is black voters. There are a lot of black voters in Dallas and in Houston. And those have been - those voters are very reliable for the Democratic Party. And if they come out - you know, we're going to get better numbers later obviously because you know, votes are coming in late and there have been a lot of long lines in Texas. But I imagine when you look at the numbers, that's going to be a pretty significant influence in what has sort of kept Biden in the game.
INSKEEP: I want to follow up on one of those groups you mentioned, when you talked about suburban voters. Are you saying that Joe Biden, the old time - Democrat here, has some appeal to new Democrats who maybe were Republicans a few years ago, the kind of people who flipped the House of Representatives from Republican to Democrat in 2018? He seems to have some appeal with those people.
LOPEZ: Yeah. And, I mean, those are - some of those seats that were won in the House were won here in Texas. Like, a suburb outside of Houston and a suburb outside of Dallas were won for Democrats because there was more Democrats voting in that race. And it's, like, a part of the state that's been slowly changing and moving into the column for Democrats - slowly but pretty consistently under the Trump administration.
INSKEEP: In the few seconds we have, Texas has been closing a lot of polling places, a big battle over voting access. Were there any noticeable results from that tonight?
LOPEZ: Yeah, there are a lot of long lines in the urban core, where you see a lot of Latino and black voters. And this was kind of predicted by experts.
INSKEEP: That there would be such long lines. And there was also strong turnout, from what you can tell?
LOPEZ: Yeah. I mean, even as of an hour ago, I saw pictures from a polling location in Houston where there was still a line out the door. So yeah, there's definitely enthusiasm, but there are far fewer - hundreds fewer - polling locations than there where about a decade ago here in Texas.
INSKEEP: Ashley, thanks.
LOPEZ: Thank you.
INSKEEP: Ashley Lopez of KUT in Austin, Texas, where Joe Biden is leading with a little less than two-thirds of the votes counted. We're going to stick with this story and bring you the results as we learn them. This is Special Coverage of Super Tuesday on NPR News.
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GREENE: This is Special Coverage of Super Tuesday from NPR News. I'm David Greene.
INSKEEP: And I'm Steve Inskeep. We're waiting on results from Maine and Texas tonight. Joe Biden leads in Texas by a bit and is also in the lead in the overall delegate count after winning eight states so far, this after a dramatic shakeup in the race over the past few days as rivals dropped out and threw their support behind Biden.
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AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN, SEN): If you feel tired of the noise and the nonsense in our politics and if you are tired of the extremes, you have a home with me. And I think you know you have a home with Joe Biden.
GREENE: That was Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar. There was also former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
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PETE BUTTIGIEG (FORMER MAYOR, SOUTH BEND, IN): When I ran for president, we made it clear that the whole idea was about rallying the country together to defeat Donald Trump and to win the era for the values that we share. And that was always a goal that was much bigger than me becoming president. And it is in the name of that very same goal that I'm delighted to endorse and support Joe Biden for president.
GREENE: And after Joe Biden got those endorsements, it appears he's having a pretty good night so far. We are following the state of Texas right now, another big, important state where the results are just way too close to call. I want to bring in Joel Benenson. He was the chief pollster and senior strategist in the 2008 and 2012 Obama presidential campaigns, chief strategist as well for the 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. Also, his firm advised the Buttigieg campaign. Joel, thanks for being here tonight.
JOEL BENENSON (POLLSTER): Thanks for having me, David.
GREENE: So we've been talking about Joe Biden coming out of South Carolina with very little time to sort of use that momentum to come in some of the races tonight. It appears he's picked up a number of states. What do you attribute that to?
BENENSON: Well, I've said from before the first primary votes were ever cast that people undervalue the impact of South Carolina and its momentum on these elections. You know, that's really what launched Barack Obama in 2008. When he wrapped up South Carolina, we went on quite a roll and, you know, never looked back going from there through the nomination. I think the same was true with Hillary Clinton in 2016. It was a big win there. It's the first state with a heavy African American population. I think those voters were loyal to Joe Biden on Saturday. And I think that gave him a big boost here. I think we're really seeing it play out in what we're watching in Texas right now, where Biden has been behind most of the night, but he is now taking about a 25,000 vote lead. That would be a very big win, adding to the other seven or so states he's already locked up tonight.
GREENE: Do you see this party unifying anytime soon? I mean, as we've been looking at exit polls and the results, I mean, it really seems to be a party that is fracturing and very divided between two different candidates and, you know, two different approaches.
BENENSON: Well, you know, I don't know. We've - I think historically, you know, the last time you will find a nominee of the Democratic Party who was the most left-wing candidate in the field - it was George McGovern in 1972. That's over a half-century ago. So I think this party has always been a somewhat left-of-center party. Seventy percent of primary voters identify themselves as somewhat liberal or moderate.
And, you know, no matter how much Bernie Sanders talks about his revolution and bringing more people to the polls, he actually isn't. If you look at South Carolina last week, that was within 8,000 votes of the record turnout that Barack Obama had in 2008. It was significantly more - more than 150,000 votes more - than in 2016 when Senator Warren was contesting with Hillary Clinton. And Senator Warren's vote - she only went up by 10,000 votes. He's not the one bringing voters out. It's the other candidates who are. And I think it's because they want to win this election desperately. And they're going to align behind a candidate who they think has the progressive values but the chops to take on and beat Donald Trump.
GREENE: I don't have to tell you this. 2016 - now, the Clinton campaign lost the so-called blue wall - Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan.
BENENSON: Yes. Right.
GREENE: You know, we're moving - sorry to bring up bad memories - we're moving on to Michigan...
BENENSON: Yeah. Hey, rub a little salt in the paper cut, will you (laughter)?
GREENE: Yeah. We're moving on to Michigan now. As you look at this primary moving to a state like that that was so crucial for Donald Trump, what does a Democratic candidate need to prove this coming Tuesday in a state like Michigan?
BENENSON: Well, I think you've got to campaign all over the state. I think Hillary Clinton lost and was very frustrated with her loss there in 2016 and felt we spent too much time downstate. And I think that's true. You know, showing up is 90% of the game in politics. And you've got to show people in all parts of the state you want to win.
I think in the general election, yes, we lost three states in the blue wall - Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania - in total by 77,000 votes. And 660,000 people in those states voted third party. And I bet those people wish they had their votes back now, rather than tossing them away in a third-party vote that, you know, gave Donald Trump an Electoral College majority. But I think the lesson from that is you've got to campaign everywhere. Don't take any votes for granted. And, you know, make your case to as many people as you possibly can.
GREENE: Does that include in the primary? I mean, is this an opportunity for candidates like Biden, Bernie Sanders to campaign in places that might be very important in a general election, even if it's not crucial to win in - you know, to go to in the primary season?
BENENSON: Well, I mean, look at the state we're talking about right now - Texas, right? It's been a long time since a Democrat won Texas in a general election, but it's not out of reach. It's not out of the realm of possibility. The state has been changing demographically. And if you work hard and show up early and often, that's how you build a path to winning a state in a general election that has been hard to win.
You know, if you go back to 2008 in the Obama campaign, we won North Carolina and Indiana that year. And we did it not by showing up late in the game thinking, hey, we'll throw a Hail Mary pass. We did it by playing early, showing up often and showing the people there that you really care about them and not just care about getting their votes on Election Day.
GREENE: Joel Benenson was chief strategist for the 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign.
Thanks so much for your time tonight.
BENENSON: Thank you, David.
INSKEEP: We have so much to discuss here, so we're going to discuss it with NPR's Juana Summers and Ron Elving and also NPR's Tamara Keith and Kelsey Snell and Domenico Montanaro. Everybody's here. It's the powerhouse panel or something like that.
INSKEEP: I'm just going to steal somebody else's - some other network's title for that. But let's begin, Tamara Keith, White House correspondent, with the president of the United States. I think we can safely say, even without all the votes counted, that President Trump has won Vermont, Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama, Maine, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Arkansas, Colorado, Minnesota, Texas, Utah and California - won everything tonight against very little opposition. What's he saying on this evening?
KEITH: He is tweeting about the Democrats, unsurprisingly. And he is tweeting, sort of punching down, as he does, going after Elizabeth Warren and Mike Bloomberg and sort of mocking them for not performing particularly well tonight. His campaign manager, Brad Parscale, also put out a statement that says it doesn't really matter who wins; we're going to wipe the floor with whichever Democrat is nominated.
But I have to say that earlier tonight, I was talking to a Trump campaign official who was like, oh, by the end of the night, Bernie Sanders is going to have a prohibitive lead, and this is going to be great for us. And that's not exactly where the night ends, necessarily. We don't fully know where the night is ending. But I think the fallback position is that the Trump campaign is rooting for chaos.
INSKEEP: OK. Well, let's just be clear there. The president, on other nights, has certainly sounded like he wanted Bernie Sanders to be the opponent that he faced in the fall.
KEITH: Well (laughter), at his campaign rallies, he has now this running bit where he does an informal poll of the people in the room. And he says, let's just narrow it down to Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. Who thinks that I have a better chance against Biden? Who thinks I have a better chance against Sanders? And the crowd overwhelmingly roars for Sanders.
KEITH: That is what the crowd says. Now, of course, this is just sort of, like, a gimmick, but - and the campaign would officially say that they will be prepared for any candidate that they could take on. But certainly the idea of being able to go after socialism, even though he is a democratic socialist and it's not the same thing - vastly different things - the campaign - the Trump campaign certainly has, you know, been rooting for Sanders in a way. And also, though, they're really rooting for a long primary process.
INSKEEP: Oh, because, of course, that weakens the other party. Since we're talking about democratic socialists, let's discuss another one with NPR's Kelsey Snell. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been very active, very high-profile member of Congress who's been endorsing candidates. And, of course, there are primaries for things other than president of the United States tonight. How are AOC's people doing?
SNELL: Well, we should say that she has started her own political action committee. So she's got her own PAC, and it's called Courage to Change. And she has endorsed seven candidates. And they're helping fund - her PAC is helping fund these candidates, and three of them are up tonight. But two of them I'm watching really closely are in Texas right now. And so far, they are not winning. We have don't have full results yet. But Cristina Ramirez is running against MJ Hegar to be the Democrat to run against John Cornyn, who was a member of Republican leadership until recently.
And Jessica Cisneros is running as a primary challenger to Henry Cuellar, who's a longstanding Democrat in the House, who has very wide support in his home district. So it'll be interesting to watch the extent to which her popularity and her national presence can actually make a difference in these races and to what degree a progressive primary that she herself won - she primaried Joe Crowley, a member of leadership - whether or not she can replicate that for other people.
INSKEEP: Has been in some ways a divisive figure within the Democratic Party, but one of the highest profile people that there is. Now that we've moved on to down-ballot races, as they say, races other than the presidency, let's focus on another, the Alabama Senate race, a primary there tonight.
SNELL: Yes. We are seeing that former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, also known as former Senator Jeff Sessions, is...
INSKEEP: Running to get his old job back.
SNELL: ...Running to get his old job back, but in a runoff to be the Republican to run to get his job back. He will be facing Tommy Tuberville, who is a former football coach at Auburn. This is a really interesting race because it's all about who can say they're closest to the president, or at least that's how the primary's been run so far. And for Sessions, that creates kind of a problem. He had to recuse himself from the Russia investigation. And he - you know, the president has not said a word about Sessions - we just checked - on Twitter in almost a year. So it'll be very interesting to see, you know, if the president weighs in here and how the Republican fares.
INSKEEP: Is this a characteristic thing in Republican primaries that you have followed this evening, that the chief issue, the principal issue is who can say I'm a bigger supporter of Donald Trump?
SNELL: That is the - I mean, that has been a theme not just in this primary but in 2018 and the congressional races there as well. It is no surprise that Republicans are running to be close to this president.
INSKEEP: Let's flip over to the other side now and continue following the Democrats. Domenico Montanaro, we were just talking about the contest between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. We've expected all along that even though Joe Biden may have a good night, and he certainly has, that Bernie Sanders would end up with more convention delegates because he was going to win California - and he is winning California, but not as big as people thought he would.
MONTANARO: No. I mean, just by the back-of-the-envelope math, I mean, it's hard to look at California and even think that this is possible or was possible coming in, but it's very possible that Sanders nets fewer than a hundred delegates out of California, which would unthinkably give Joe Biden the Super Tuesday lead.
INSKEEP: And suddenly Joe Biden is potentially the front-runner in this race.
MONTANARO: Yeah. I mean, that is very possible. Now, look. They don't allocate by statewide vote. They allocate by district by district with a little bit in the statewide vote. But look. At the very worst for Joe Biden, he's going to be a lot better than he thought he was going to be and - with a split on Super Tuesday. And there are a lot of states coming up that he feels pretty good about. I mean, if you think about places next week like Michigan and Mississippi, Mississippi is significant African American population, Michigan also about a fifth African American in the Democratic primary.
You've got states like Florida on March 17. And the very last state - and already the New York Daily News has him on the front cover as smokin' Joe (ph) beating Bernie Sanders tonight for tomorrow morning - and they have the most delegates remaining of any state, 274. And 90% of the delegates will have been allocated by that date.
INSKEEP: Smokin' Joe, a better nickname - or nickname you'd rather have than sleepy Joe, the thing that the president has been calling Joe Biden. Juana Summers, I want to ask about something we discussed a little bit earlier in the evening. We were talking about an African American vote for Joe Biden, a Latino vote for Bernie Sanders, and that maybe that was really about age because the African American population is just a little bit older. How big, from what you've been able to glean, is the age gap this evening on the Democratic side?
SUMMERS: I think it's pretty significant. I want to use the state of California as an example because it's the big prize coming out of tonight. If we look at the exits, Bernie Sanders has won 72% of voters under the age of 30 according to the exits.
SUMMERS: That is huge. I should also note he's also - looks to have won about 45% of nonwhite voters. So that is where his strength is coming. Obviously, Joe Biden does better among the older segments of the electorate, as well as with black voters ahead of Bernie Sanders. That just gives you one illustration of just how seismic that generational gap is between these two candidates.
INSKEEP: Seismic, but just to note - if you get 72% of the young vote but only 28% of the overall vote, which is where Sanders is, that suggests that young people were not turning out in the huge numbers that you might expect. This is Special Coverage of Super Tuesday from NPR News.
GREENE: I'm at NPR West in Culver City, Calif. - California, of course, one of the big Super Tuesday states that has been declared for Bernie Sanders, though we're going to have to see how the delegates are actually distributed. And that might not be determined for a little while. I'm here in the studio with Lynn Vavreck, who is a professor of American politics and policy at UCLA, has written several books about elections and looks at politics and political messaging. Thanks for being here.
VAVRECK: It's my pleasure.
GREENE: I want to ask you one thing that Ed Rendell, the former governor of Pennsylvania who's supporting Joe Biden, said earlier tonight. I asked him, how is the party going to be unified? It seems so divided right now. And he said two words - Donald Trump. Is that the strategy for winning a primary and going up against Donald Trump to just talk about Donald Trump?
VAVRECK: Well, that comment caught my attention as well. And I think there are two parts to this answer. So the first part is, yes, Donald Trump will unify the Democratic Party and probably some people who are leaning toward the Democratic Party. But the second part, I think, is really important, which is I'm not sure these candidates serve themselves well by going out and talking about Donald Trump all the time.
GREENE: Why not?
VAVRECK: Well, I sort of - as I watched this campaign start to unfold with these frontrunners, I say to myself, why are we rerunning the 2016 Hillary Clinton campaign? Where I don't fault that campaign for talking about Trump a lot, he - it was astonishing the things that he had said that Americans were hearing for the first time, most of which we can't repeat on this radio program. So that was shocking. And they did do that. And it seemed, I think, anyone would have.
But that race happened. It came out very close. I don't want to say that that has anything to do with why it came out the way it did. But given that it did come out that way, if you're a Democrat in 2020, why rerun that campaign? How about a message that is more focused on your mission and what you're going to do, not on how bad Trump is? And that is what I think should be happening.
GREENE: And if you're Donald Trump watching all of this knowing you're going to have to run against one of these people, what are you thinking right now about your chances in November?
VAVRECK: Yeah, great question. So if you're the Trump campaign, I think you're looking out at the world and you're saying, oh, the economy is growing, and I brought that to the American people. And there's indications Trump gets this. He has gone out at these rallies and said this - you don't like me, but you're going to vote for me because the economy. So he understands that. Now, that - and that is what he should be doing. He should just be reminding people of the growth.
There's a wrinkle here, though, and it's coronavirus. And so what's going to happen to the economy as the global supply chains struggle to keep up? That's an unknown factor. Whether it actually affects the growth rate, I think, is sort of irrelevant. That possibility has been introduced into people's minds. There's uncertainty there now about the economy. That might be enough of a window to really make this election a toss-up.
GREENE: Lynn Vavreck teaches political science, American politics and policy at UCLA. Thanks for being here helping us understand the election, everything that's happened this evening. We really appreciate it.
VAVRECK: You're welcome.
GREENE: And we are continuing to follow all the results. Again, the state of California, where we are, declared for Bernie Sanders. Another big state, Texas, too close to call at this point - very, very close. We'll be following those numbers as they come in. We're covering Super Tuesday on NPR News.
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INSKEEP: Former Vice President Joe Biden is a little bit ahead in Texas now, with Bernie Sanders close behind. This is Special Coverage of Super Tuesday from NPR News I'm Steve Inskeep.
GREENE: And I'm David Greene. We're also waiting on a winner in Maine. We do have results from 12 other states that voted this evening, and former Vice President Joe Biden has won most of them.
INSKEEP: Bernie Sanders is projected to win the biggest state of all, California. It was a rough night for other Democrats such as Michael Bloomberg and Elizabeth Warren. Bloomberg spent hundreds of millions of dollars on his campaign but has won zero states.
GREENE: And Senator Elizabeth Warren came in third place in her home state of Massachusetts. Stay with us. We're going to be watching for the remaining results and have lots of analysis. I want to bring in two voices now. Lynn Vavreck is with me. She teaches American politics, political science at UCLA. And we also have Aimee Allison on the line. She's the founder of She the People, an organization that has done polling on women of color. And thank you both for being here.
ALLISON: Thanks for having me.
VAVRECK: My pleasure.
GREENE: Lynn, let me start with you. You know, coming out of South Carolina, a lot was made of Joe Biden winning over significantly African American voters. That seems to be continuing tonight. How significant is that for Joe Biden, and how much of a challenge is it for Bernie Sanders?
VAVRECK: Well, it was obviously transformational for the Biden campaign. It was the moment he needed at the exact time in the process when voters were searching for the right alternative. And that demonstration - if those - the other candidates who dropped out of the race this week had been able to demonstrate that they could win votes across the Democratic Party, they would have probably gotten this boost and this surge. But they couldn't, and so he sort of comes in, demonstrates this viability at the right moment. I think it was critical.
GREENE: Aimee Allison, what are you looking at tonight as you look through these states and these numbers?
ALLISON: I always look at the result of the last-minute pivot that the moderates in the race did. When it was clear that they were consolidating, we didn't see, you know, a compendium, you know, consolidation with Warren and Sanders, and I think that strategic decision really ended up bringing the momentum around Biden. There's some people who were, like, very upset, that felt like that the establishment put their finger on the - you know, the scale. But on the other hand, what I look at is the ways that both black voters and, you know, Latinx voters in particular really did shape both Biden and Sanders' candidacy. And, you know, once they spoke up, it was very clear who was viable and who was actually going to get the voters out. So I think, you know, it was a surprise and also not surprising given the strategy of the moderates to consolidate, you know, their force around Biden, who's clearly emerged as the person with the momentum, you know, out of Super Tuesday.
GREENE: Can I ask you both - I mean, Bernie Sanders, in states like Nevada - it appears like a state like California - where there are a lot of Latino voters, seems to be doing very well - as I said, Joe Biden doing well in states with large numbers of African American voters. What does that tell us about the party, about these two candidates that there's that divide?
VAVRECK: Great question. I think people have been giving answers to this question all night. Is some of this about age? We talked earlier. Is some of this about identity or just characteristics of these candidates? And then you heard Joel Benenson a little while ago talk about, well, the party has always had wings - the McGovern wing. And there's always been difference, and maybe this is just another expression of that difference that the somewhat liberal and moderate Democrats tend to go for one kind of candidate and the voters who call themselves very liberal are going for another kind of candidate. And it doesn't have to be any more than that.
GREENE: You see it not necessarily based on race and ethnicity but based on sort of your political philosophy and beliefs.
VAVRECK: Well, I think it's probably all of those things.
GREENE: Aimee, what do you think?
ALLISON: Yeah. I think this is a really different primary than 2016, in no large part because you had this crowded field of candidates, some who were early investing in the Latino and in the black vote, speaking to adopting a platform that spoke to issues of racial justice and - or, in the case of the Sanders campaign, investing, you know, nine months early in Spanish-language paid ads, campaigns across the board hiring people of color to run culturally competent strategy. I mean, this was a group of voters who hadn't really fully been acknowledged in 2016 on the Democratic side, certainly not deeply invested in. I'll remind everyone that Clinton - Hillary Clinton spent almost $0 on black voter engagement right up - leading up to the November election. So - but this is a really different time, and it is the emergence of the power - not only the acknowledgment particularly of black women in the South as being the core defining this race and really bolstering Biden and then the emergence of the Latinx, particularly Latinas, in places like Nevada and Texas, where Latino-led groups like Texas Organizing Project who knock doors - you know, thousands and thousands of doors - and motivate voters over turning out people for Sanders, and in a place like California.
I think that we are in a place now where the party is half people of color and that we have to have a nuanced understanding based on all the things that were mentioned before - age being one of them - about how candidates and the party effectively engage. These are all lessons from the primary that should be learned and learned quickly as we pivot in a couple of months to, really, the general. We need high turnout of black - you know, actually, people of color, young people. And we need to continue investment in these groups. And so I think there were a lot of lessons learned.
GREENE: Aimee Allison, founder of See the People, and Lynn Vavreck, who teaches political science at UCLA, thank you both so much.
ALLISON: Thank you.
INSKEEP: So the big story this evening is the performance of Joe Biden, who's won Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Arkansas, Minnesota. That is eight of the 14 states up for grabs tonight. And Biden is ahead narrowly and has a chance to win Maine and Texas. Bernie Sanders has won California, but Biden has had an unusual night. And that is where we can pick up the discussion with our political editor Ron Elving as well as NPR's Domenico Montanaro, who's been with us all evening. Hi there, guys.
ELVING: Good to be with you.
INSKEEP: And, Ron, I just want to ask you if you feel you understand why it is that Joe Biden would have done so well. Here's why I asked this. We have noted the consolidation of the moderates. We've noted that Klobuchar and Buttigieg stepped out of the race. We've noted that Democratic Party elites wanted to consolidate behind one candidate. But this is an act on very short notice by millions of Democratic voters. Why do you think they've concentrated on Biden?
ELVING: It has a great deal to do with Joe Biden, his familiarity, the way he could bring together a lot of that consolidation, the way he was a natural recipient of those endorsements from the candidates who dropped out. But it also has to do with Bernie Sanders and why people have concerns about him. He is and has been in the past a person with a very strong base but also a fairly distinct ceiling. And so we saw in 2016 he got something like 40% of the delegates. He was a very robust presence at the 2016 convention. But he had less than half the delegates, and Hillary Clinton had more than half, and that was that. This time around, he looks, again, like a 30 to 40% candidate who was winning in places like New Hampshire and Iowa with something like 30% of the vote, something in that general category. But there were so many other candidates that he had the tallest pile in a great number of piles on the poker table.
INSKEEP: Very much like Donald Trump in 2016 in the early states there.
ELVING: That's correct. In fact, there were a great number of similarities between the way he was playing the field in 2020 in the Democratic side with more than 20 candidates at one point and the way Donald Trump played the Republican field four years earlier with 16 candidates at one point.
INSKEEP: Domenico and Ron, I want to ask about what the difference is truly between a candidate like Joe Biden and a candidate like Bernie Sanders or the very specific candidate Bernie Sanders. We've described the Biden wing as the more moderate wing, the more pragmatic wing. But what does it mean, actually? What is a policy difference that they will have - the moderates will have compared to Bernie Sanders?
MONTANARO: I mean, I think it's more of an incremental wing, you know? It's really - they're - they feel like you're not going to go after big, bold change. You go after what you can bite off. You know, they've kind of come from the Ted Kennedy school of - take a half a loaf. Remember, Ted Kennedy told Barack Obama famously that he really regretted not taking half a loaf when it came to health care and - you know, some years ago - 30, 40 years ago. And Barack Obama took that to heart. I mean, Barack Obama's the kind of person who - you know, despite what, you know, maybe younger voters and some activists on the left would say about him now, you know, he's about as liberal and progressive as Congress would let him be. You know, that was sort of his MO. And, you know, I think if you had 100 Democratic senators, probably Barack Obama would have waved that magic wand and tried to have a government-instituted health care plan that was...
INSKEEP: Something like "Medicare for All."
MONTANARO: Sure. Why not? Because it's possible and doable and - get it done. So Joe Biden weighs that political calculation and says, OK. You know, like, tonight, he says, let's not have surprise billing from the stage.
INSKEEP: Rather narrow change.
INSKEEP: I mean, an important one to a lot...
INSKEEP: ...Of people, but...
MONTANARO: Right. But that's not the kind of thing that normally rallies the imagination the way Sanders does in saying, let's restructure things.
INSKEEP: Well, let's talk about that, Ron Elving, because if you're Democrats, you want - you know that this is a change election, as they say. You assume that people want some kind of change. You certainly hope they do because you want to knock the incumbent out of office. Do you need a candidate to promise big change to take advantage of a change election? If you think about that problem based on the history you've seen, do they need somebody to promise radical change?
ELVING: That is certainly one approach. Somebody with a radical program sounds like change, certainly seems like somebody who would shake things up. And maybe this is the time to do it - when you have the towering figure of Donald Trump with his popularity in the Republican Party and his extraordinary unpopularity in the other party. So it would seem like an opportunity for a highly ideological policy person like Bernie Sanders. I think that's what's going on to a large degree. Joe Biden is somebody who has really not been seen as an ideological candidate. He's not been seen as a person who stuck with one policy all through his campaign to some degree or all through his long career. To some degree, from the '70s to the '80s to the '90s to the current time, he's been all over the map on different kinds of approaches to policy. So he's someone who is much more adaptable, so if what you're looking for is just an alternative the party can rally behind to beat Donald Trump, that's the other approach to doing it.
INSKEEP: Let me ask you about another thing, though. The reason that Joe Biden fell behind as the early frontrunner and then he lost a lot of steam is there were real concerns about his performance. Did he still have it? Could he get through a debate? Could he raise money? Did he have the stamina? There were all these questions, some of which might be seen as proxies, essentially, for asking about his age. But in any case, there were questions about Joe Biden. Aren't those questions still there even as Democrats rally behind him?
MONTANARO: Unquestionably that those are still there. And, you know, that speech he gave after South Carolina's big victory was as important as anything to light this match for this, you know - mixing metaphors here - for this surge that he wound up getting because, you know, he was able to deliver the message crisply.
INSKEEP: Light the match for the surge.
INSKEEP: Anyway, go on. Go on.
MONTANARO: Light the match to - I don't know.
MONTANARO: But the point is that the idea of Joe Biden was always very attractive for a lot of Democrats. The reality of Joe Biden didn't rub everyone the right way. But they were searching around looking for somebody else, couldn't quite get that person. And then the reality of Bernie Sanders started to set in for them, and they came back to Joe Biden.
INSKEEP: We're nearing the end of our Special Coverage, our many hours of Special Coverage this evening. And it looks like we're going to go away without knowing the result in Texas, where it's very close. And I want to put one more question on the table for people to think about as they await the results in Texas late tonight or sometime tomorrow. Sanders has done very well in the West, very well with the Latino vote. Biden has done very well in the South, where the Democratic Party depends heavily on the black vote. Texas is one of those states - really, the state - that is in both the West and the South. Is that perhaps an explanation for why it would be so close there that we cannot call that state?
MONTANARO: Yeah. I mean, look. Texas had a significant share of the black population. It also had about a third that was Latino. And I think we can't overlook women in this race. I mean, women over 40 is a group that the Biden campaign and the super PAC supporting him said that he could eventually win them over. And they're the group of people who powered Democrats in 2018 and can't be overlooked because they vote, and they will vote in 2020.
INSKEEP: So, Ron Elving, I'm going to give you the last word in this discussion. Have you ever seen anything like this primary night, this Super Tuesday?
ELVING: No, and I've been emailing around to people who have been watching as long as I have - in some cases, believe it or not, even longer. And they cannot think of an instance back over the many, many cycles since we went to this kind of primary system in 1972, that someone has come from being left for dead literally back in a week to being suddenly at least the co-front-runner of the party for the presidential nomination. What Joe Biden has done here is really unprecedented.
INSKEEP: Unprecedented - one of the popular words of this election cycle for sure, and Ron Elving is the person who spoke it. Ron, it's always a pleasure to get your wisdom. Thank you very much.
ELVING: Thank you, Steve.
INSKEEP: And thank you very much for hours and hours of accompanying us here. NPR's Domenico Montanaro in our Studio 31 here at NPR headquarters. Very good to talk with you.
MONTANARO: You're welcome. Always fun.
INSKEEP: And as we wrap up our live Special Coverage, let's hear from some of the candidates.
GREENE: So this is Mike Bloomberg speaking to supporters in Florida earlier tonight after winning just a handful of delegates.
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BLOOMBERG: Our plans are sensible, workable and achievable. And we have the record and the resources to defeat Trump in swing states that Democrats lost in 2016 like Florida.
INSKEEP: Senator Elizabeth Warren also failed to win any states outright, including her home state of Massachusetts.
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WARREN: No matter how scared you are, no matter how hard it looks, you get out there and you fight for the people you love.
GREENE: As for Joe Biden, he built on his dramatic South Carolina win and really turned around his campaign.
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BIDEN: People are talking about a revolution. We started a movement. We've increased turnout.
BIDEN: The turnout turned out for us.
BIDEN: That can deliver us to a moment where we can do extraordinary, extraordinary things.
INSKEEP: Biden won Virginia and North Carolina, Alabama, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Arkansas and Minnesota.
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BIDEN: Just a few days ago, the press and the pundits were declaring the campaign dead. And then came South Carolina, and now you have something to say about it.
BIDEN: And we were told, well, when you got to Super Tuesday it'd be over. Well, it may be over for the other guy.
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SANDERS: Tonight I tell you with absolute confidence we're going to win the Democratic nomination.
GREENE: That voice, of course, Senator Bernie Sanders, who also had some significant victories tonight - California, Colorado, Utah, as well as his home state of Vermont.
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SANDERS: I don't know what will happen, but if it comes out to be a campaign in which we have one candidate who is standing up for the working class and the middle class, we're going to win that election. And if we have another candidate who has received contributions from at least 60 billionaires, we're going to win that election.
SANDERS: And if there is another candidate in the race who is spending hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars, we're going to tell him, in America, you cannot buy elections.
INSKEEP: Some of the sounds of this Super Tuesday. Maine and Texas are still too close to call, although it is clear most of their delegates will be split between Biden and Sanders. We will also learn more in the next few days about Bernie Sanders' margin of victory in California. And, by the way, next Tuesday - big Tuesday some call it - six more states head to the polls.
GREENE: That's right, it just keeps on going. So that is it for now for Special Coverage of Super Tuesday here on NPR News. We really appreciate all the time spent tonight from our analysts - Domenico Montanaro, Mara Liasson, Juana Summers, Lynn Vavreck from UCLA who's here in the studio with me in California, and Ron Elving, who joined us from one of the Super Tuesday states, Tennessee.
INSKEEP: Our NPR correspondents on the road and in the studio included Scott Detrow, Asma Khalid, Kelsey Snell, Sue Davis, Danielle Kurtzleben, Wade Goodwyn, Sarah McCammon, Debbie Elliott, Miles Parks and Tamara Keith. Our show hosts - Ari Shapiro, Lulu Garcia-Navarro. And I'm Steve Inskeep in Washington, D.C.
GREENE: And I'm David Greene in Culver City, Calif. Thanks for being with us. This has been live Special Coverage of Super Tuesday from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.