Three keys to Biden's miraculous comeback

Obama's campaign guru, author of "A Citizen's Guide to Beating Donald Trump," says Biden won his Super Tuesday races 'solely on the wings of momentum.'

Posted: Mar 5, 2020 9:51 AM
Updated: Mar 5, 2020 9:51 AM

Former Vice President Joe Biden's resuscitation on Super Tuesday has already entered the history books as one of the most astonishing since Harry Truman's election in 1948. Or, come to think of it, even since Lazarus.

How to explain it? His miraculous comeback defies any single theory. For my books, there were three keys:

1. The black community in South Carolina turned out in force to support their longtime friend and champion. It's hard to remember a time when black voters have risen up to save a white political leader. But it appears they did it Tuesday.

2. When Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont surged to the front of the pack, Democrats seemed to finally pay serious attention to what his nomination might mean. At minimum, Republicans could persuade undecideds that radical socialists had captured the Democratic Party. More to the point, Democratic strategists panicked that they might well lose the White House, Senate and House, giving President Donald Trump unfettered power over the next four years. They were right to panic.

3. One has to give credit to Biden himself. He came alive in the past week, starting with the debate Wednesday night. He was even more impressive in a town hall the next night, speaking movingly with Anderson Cooper about his life and dreams. (The town halls these past few weeks have been much more revealing about the candidates than the crowded and chaotic debates.) His sweep in South Carolina suddenly gave him the aura of a winner, not the loser he had started to seem to many. Biden showed he had the grit to reach deep inside himself and find his core strength -- an important asset for any political leader.

There were other factors, to be sure. Some argue that Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts did Biden a favor with her attacks on former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg.

But to me, the big factors were the huge support of the black community, pervasive fear of a Sanders nomination and Biden's resilience.

Of course, there is still a long road ahead to the nomination. Whether Biden can deliver knockout blows to Sanders without antagonizing Sanders voters will be crucial to pulling the party together. Many veterans of the Hillary Clinton campaign four years ago remember well how infuriating it was that Sanders and his followers went into a sulk after losing the nomination to her.

Looking ahead, Biden must also come up with new strategies to appeal to young people and Latinos, two significant groups who have tended to gravitate toward Sanders.

Biden needs to mobilize some heavyweight surrogates who can come up with innovative ways to build bridges. One imagines, for example, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg coming up with initiatives that would appeal to millennials and Gen Z'ers — a national service program, for example.

Biden must continue to reach deep inside, finding the strength and confidence to continue his upward journey. Trump will try to stomp on him, as is his wont. Little attention was given to a Trump rally speech in South Carolina, portraying Biden as feeble-minded and destined for a retirement home in the next four years. Trump delighted in Biden's recent verbal slips: calling Super Tuesday "Super Thursday," remarking that he was running for the Senate, and asserting that 150 million Americans have been killed by guns since 2007.

Biden no longer needs to feel defensive on stage. He has created one of the great comeback stories. Now he can allow himself to talk and act more like a president, showing the dignity and warmth that is so lacking in the Oval Office these days.

Huntsville/Redstone
Partly Cloudy
50° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 50°
Decatur
Partly Cloudy
51° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 51°
Huntsville/Madison
Partly Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 47°
Decatur
Clear
51° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 51°
Fort Payne
Partly Cloudy
53° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 53°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 522131

Reported Deaths: 10790
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson754831494
Mobile39111799
Madison34084500
Tuscaloosa25396444
Montgomery24037573
Shelby23210242
Baldwin20714302
Lee15614166
Calhoun14350311
Morgan14164273
Etowah13696348
Marshall12007220
Houston10408279
Elmore10018203
Limestone9858148
Cullman9507191
St. Clair9478236
Lauderdale9271233
DeKalb8760183
Talladega8122173
Walker7146276
Autauga6760106
Jackson6760110
Blount6529133
Colbert6234132
Coffee5431113
Dale4779111
Russell430939
Franklin420982
Chilton4114110
Covington4068115
Tallapoosa3915148
Escambia390374
Dallas3525150
Chambers3516122
Clarke347260
Marion3072100
Pike306576
Lawrence296295
Winston273272
Bibb256361
Marengo248461
Geneva246275
Pickens233259
Barbour227155
Hale218675
Butler213168
Fayette209460
Henry188144
Cherokee182744
Randolph177241
Monroe172740
Washington165338
Macon156148
Clay150155
Crenshaw149557
Cleburne146741
Lamar139734
Lowndes137353
Wilcox124727
Bullock121940
Conecuh109528
Perry107626
Sumter103232
Coosa99428
Greene91434
Choctaw58824
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 830484

Reported Deaths: 12049
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby927281585
Davidson87309923
Knox49411623
Hamilton43254481
Rutherford41816420
Williamson27237214
Sumner23155339
Montgomery19075224
Wilson17979224
Out of TN1794598
Unassigned16655134
Sullivan16096287
Blount14963194
Bradley14518147
Washington14129242
Sevier13116174
Maury13021168
Putnam11155173
Madison10771240
Robertson9567127
Anderson8599171
Hamblen8478170
Greene7715152
Tipton7216102
Coffee6824121
Dickson6724109
Cumberland6555127
Carter6443156
Bedford6409127
Gibson6387144
McMinn634295
Roane6174102
Jefferson6061121
Loudon601169
Lawrence578686
Hawkins5766106
Monroe570295
Warren550881
Dyer5357104
Franklin508388
Fayette490377
Obion449996
Cocke442998
Cheatham442254
Rhea430375
Lincoln429563
Marshall410358
Campbell408462
Weakley401962
Giles393998
Henderson372475
Macon357376
Carroll357182
White353968
Hardin349166
Hardeman345863
Lauderdale314244
Henry311875
Marion308346
Claiborne305573
Scott305145
Overton296360
Wayne294234
Hickman279645
McNairy276754
DeKalb274953
Smith273938
Haywood268161
Grainger258449
Trousdale248722
Morgan245539
Fentress238046
Johnson230238
Bledsoe209411
Chester209351
Crockett200948
Polk199024
Unicoi194149
Cannon188831
Union185634
Grundy177232
Humphreys173621
Lake169526
Sequatchie166428
Benton162940
Decatur157338
Lewis155726
Meigs134123
Stewart130028
Jackson129635
Clay109031
Houston108333
Perry105728
Moore99717
Van Buren83421
Pickett75624
Hancock54712

Community Events