Joe Biden’s decisive victory in South Carolina on Saturday night has teed up a major showdown in the battle for the Democratic presidential nomination, as the race speeds towards the critical Super Tuesday vote and the former vice-president’s centrist rivals decline to step aside.
Biden delivered a landslide in the first southern state to vote, establishing himself as the main rival to frontrunner Bernie Sanders’ progressive campaign.
At a victory party in the state capital, Columbia, the former vice-president issued a thinly veiled dig at his opponent, a self-declared democratic socialist, as he urged voters to rally behind a “a lifelong Democrat, a proud Democrat, an Obama-Biden Democrat”.
He continued the charge on Sunday with appearances on major news shows in which he touted his legislative record in the Senate and the White House, repeating the same message: “The people aren’t looking for revolution. They’re looking for results.”
With less than 48 hours before the Super Tuesday ballot, in which 14 states and two other constituencies will decide more than a third of all the presidential delegates, Biden’s campaign still faces an uphill battle against Sanders.
The Vermont senator has raised vastly more money, crisscrossed the country to rally and spent more on TV advertising. Biden had focused almost entirely on South Carolina, appealing for support among black voters who make up a majority and who eventually carried him to victory after significant losses in the other early states.