The battle to become the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee looks set to take a sizable step toward its resolution on Tuesday, as a huge number of delegates will get parceled out.
The Super Tuesday voting in 14 states and one U.S. territory is putting in play more than a third of the pledged delegates at July’s Democratic National Convention — 1,357 out of 3,979.
Some pundits are already assuming front-runner Bernie Sanders, a democratic socialist, will win the party’s 2020 nomination, and that’s led some investing strategists to pin the stock market’s SPX, -4.42% DJIA, -4.42% recent slide in part on fears of a Sanders presidency.
But there is still a window of opportunity for the more centrist Democrats competing against Vermont’s junior senator, said Height Capital Markets analysts, though they also said it “will close quickly after Super Tuesday.”
“If they can keep Sanders below ~750 delegates and consolidate relatively quickly, a moderate could surpass Sanders,” the analysts wrote in a note.
Ahead of Saturday’s primary voting in South Carolina, Sanders has 43 delegates, according to an NBC News tracker. He’s followed by former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg with 26, former Vice President Joe Biden with 13, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts with eight and Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota with seven.
No other contenders have picked up delegates so far. Billionaire former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg — the last entrant and biggest spender in the Democratic race — won’t be on ballots until Super Tuesday.
The most delegate-rich states voting on Super Tuesday are California and Texas. Also holding primaries on March 3 are Virginia, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Minnesota and eight states in the South, West or New England. American Samoa is due to join in the action as well, and voters who reside overseas will begin casting their ballots on Tuesday in the “Democrats Abroad” primary.
Sanders looks like a lock in his home state of Vermont and a solid favorite in California, Colorado, Utah and Maine, but Biden and Bloomberg could notch wins in Super Tuesday’s seven southern states, according to a FiveThirtyEight forecast. Sanders also has a strong chance of victory in Massachusetts and Minnesota, but they are the home states for Warren and Klobuchar, respectively.
“Biden loyalists say he will win enough delegates on Tuesday to stay in the race, and they insist he will do well with African-Americans and blue-collar workers in upcoming primaries in Ohio and Michigan. Maybe. But his window is closing fast,” said Greg Valliere, chief U.S. policy strategist at AGF Investments, in a note. “Perhaps only an enthusiastic endorsement from Barack Obama, blasting Bernie Sanders, could make a difference.”
To secure the party’s nomination on the first ballot at the July 13-16 convention in Milwaukee, a Democratic contender will need to win at least 1,991 pledged delegates. Pundits have been speculating that for the first time since 1952, no Democratic politician will get to that magic number, so party insiders known as superdelegates will join in the process of picking the politician who will take on President Donald Trump in November.