Yes, he can. Former vice-president Joe Biden won in a walk-in South Carolina on Saturday. The Democratic establishment, at least for a day, maintained the firewall that Bernie Sanders tried to douse with a shower of socialist rhetoric and millions in advertising. Sanders, who raised a whopping $46.5 million in February, is a formidable foe. But no sooner was Biden’s victory announced than a phalanx of Democratic grandees, including former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, announced their backing of Biden who captured the lion’s share of the African-American vote in South Carolina.
At the same time, a number of candidates may drop out. All struggled to win non-white voters. Already Tom Steyer has ended his campaign. Pete Buttigieg is meeting with Jimmy Carter today and may terminate his run as well. Pressure will mount on Sen. Amy Klobuchar to do so as well to clear the field for Biden. Mike Bloomberg, who cratered in the past two debates, looks like a spent force, politically if not financially. The continued candidacy of Elizabeth Warren, who would likely sap votes from Sanders, is a plus for Biden. In the coming weeks, the pressure to back Biden to combat Sanders and avoid a Trump redux scenario from 2016 in the Democratic party will mount. The prospect of a democratic socialist at the head of the ticket doesn’t worry the Democratic establishment; it terrifies it.