- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 4, 2020

In the event, it was the man who wasn’t there who won a smashing victory on Super Tuesday. In the 15 contests, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden took not only states where he was at least somewhat favored ahead of time — Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina — but also long shots like Massachusetts, Texas and Minnesota.

This despite the fact that Mr. Biden was entirely absent from some of them. The former vice president, for instance, had zero presence in Minnesota — no staff, no television ads — yet still won the state handily.

Or perhaps “despite” isn’t the right word here. Whatever one makes of Mr. Biden’s long and distinguished career, there can be no denying that he is a weak, underwhelming public presence these days. He has aged markedly in just the three years since he left the vice presidency.

Throughout this campaign, the former vice president has struggled mightily in debates and on the campaign trail, often descending into outright incoherence.

Which is to say, Mr. Biden may have thrived in some states because he wasn’t there. He lives on only as a memory there — people recall his younger, more agile self.



And it turns out — the states that Mr. Biden did spend time in, he struggled in. Mr. Biden spent gobs of time and money in New Hampshire and Iowa, only to be blown out in those two states. Ditto for Nevada, where he finished double-digit points behind Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont.

Only in South Carolina, where he was aided mightily by an endorsement from Rep. James Clyburn, did voters see a lot of Mr. Biden and determine he was what they wanted.

All of which is to say, there is still hope for Mr. Sanders to mount a comeback. With the race boiling down to just two candidates, Mr. Biden, and his obvious weaknesses, will be on display more than ever. The inevitable two-person debates between Messrs. Biden and Sanders could be a bloodbath for the former vice president, who has done best in debates when he had faded into the wallpaper.

Perhaps the best thing that could happen for Mr. Sanders now would be for Mr. Biden to raise a bunch of money and spend it on the campaign trail. The Vermont senator should make a donation of his own.

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