Joe Biden won the Democratic primary in Texas, and he did in large part because of the state’s many rural counties. In some, less than 100 voters turned out, but all of them together made a big impact. The takeaway is that the rural vote still matters in Texas. But that’s only part of the story of Tuesday’s primaries.
Matthew Dowd is an ABC News political analyst and a longtime Texas political consultant. He says Biden’s win in Texas Tuesday clarified the likely direction of the Democratic Party as November’s general election approaches. Democrats appear to be coalescing around the idea of choosing the candidate best positioned to beat Donald Trump. Dowd says Biden’s win is a reflection of that.
Victoria DeFrancesco Soto is the assistant dean for civic engagement and a lecturer at the University of Texas at Austin’s LBJ School of Public Affairs. She agrees with Dowd about the direction of the Democratic Party. She also says Texas is an indicator for how the rest of country will likely vote in November.
Dowd says that some candidates, like Mike Bloomberg, spent millions of dollars on advertising in Texas ahead of Super Tuesday. But that didn’t matter as much as momentum, which is what he says gave Biden an advantage.
“If you gave me a choice between money, machine and momentum, I’d pick momentum any day of the week,” Dowd says.
Biden gained much of his momentum after he won the South Carolina primary over the weekend. What’s more, Biden didn’t spend any money on advertising in many of the states where he won on Tuesday.
DeFrancesco Soto says the fact that South Carolina was a turning point matters because it used to be overlooked as a bellwether compared to states like Iowa. But she says South Carolina is more representative of the United States as a whole, these days because it’s more diverse. The country was more white in the 1970s, in the early days of the Iowa caucuses.
“America looked very different than it does today,” she says. “I think that the Democratic Party is going to have to look long and hard at figuring out what our primary process looks like.”
She says that could even mean starting the primary season with South Carolina, and moving the Iowa caucuses later in the season. Or, she says, parties could hold more than one Super Tuesday-like event, when several clusters of states vote at once.
“[So] we can see a more representative voice throughout the [parties], both Democrat and Republican,” DeFrancesco Soto says.
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Written by Caroline Covington.