The eyes of the nation were upon Texas on Tuesday. In recent years, the state’s primary votes rarely made a difference in presidential races, and its compelling races – at least in the past 20 years or so – have been on the GOP side. But on Super Tuesday, Texas Democrats were divided, and their votes were an important bellwether in the contest between centrist Joe Biden and progressive standard-bearer Bernie Sanders. Texas also helped winnow the field, as billionaire Michael Bloomberg left the race on Wednesday, after a disappointing showing in Texas and elsewhere.
Karen Tumulty is a national political columnist for The Washington Post, and a native of San Antonio. She says Bloomberg’s big financial bet on Texas was undercut by his personality and his inability to make a forceful case on the stump.
“No matter how much money you have, there is always a man behind the curtain,” Tumulty says. “And in Bloomberg’s case, when people got to see him as a flesh-and-blood candidate, they saw that he just didn’t seem quite up to it in his first debate, that he hadn’t prepared very well, that he was defensive.”
Before the polls opened on Super Tuesday, moderate former presidential candidates, including Beto O’Rourke, declared their support for Biden in what appeared to be a united front against progressive Bernie Sanders. Tumulty says the political theater that brought moderates together in Dallas on Monday was an indication that the Democratic Party might not be as progressive as some may have assumed.
“What we really discovered over the past week is that this idea that the Democratic Party had just lurched to the left was, really, greatly exaggerated,” Tumulty says. “What you saw across the map, in what was a nationwide primary, was more of an endorsement of gradualism over revolution, and pragmatism over both of them.”
Written by Shelly Brisbin.