Today’s endorsement of Joe Biden by South Carolina “kingmaker” James Clyburn reinstates the obvious: Biden will likely win the South Carolina primary.
Biden leads in most polls, even in polling done after Sander’s overwhelming win in Nevada last week. His campaign has spent months building an operation in the state. The majority black voting demographics work out favorably for Biden, who traditionally leads with Black Americans. Biden put in a a strong debate performance last night; his primary rival for the moderate lane in the state, billionaire Tom Steyer, did not.
There are two likely scenarios for Saturday: a strong Biden win and a weak Biden win. A strong, decisive victory over Bernie Sanders would likely propel Biden into Super Tuesday with a momentum narrative, which could boost his performance in the southern states where he needs to win to limit Sander’s delegate lead. A weak win may stifle that energy a bit, but would certainly not be as disastrous as a close loss to Sanders.
Whether a win on Saturday will be enough to halt Sanders remains to be seen; the delegate math, press narrative, and polling trends remain strongly in the Vermont Senator’s favor. Yet a Biden win in South Carolina will keep this a competitive race, one that will likely drag on for weeks still.