Moderate Democrats are in quite the predicament going into Super Tuesday - the day when most states hold contests to pick a presidential nominee.
Joe Biden - whose only primary win of note in South Carolina has resulted in a temporary boost in PredictIt odds - has otherwise struggled to maintain momentum amid a slew of senior moments and a recent promise to raise taxes on people who benefited from Trump's cuts.
BIDEN: “Guess what, if you elect me your taxes are gonna be raised not cut.”— Eddie Zipperer (@EddieZipperer) February 29, 2020
And with Bernie Sanders (I-VT) the presumptive nominee, and the rest of the still-crowded Democratic field polling at loser status, Biden is the moderate left's last hope of running an establishment candidate against Donald Trump.
Unfortunately for the former Vice President, nobody aside from Pete Buttigieg seems interested in exiting the race right now.
The candidates know that no one can beat Sanders as long as they all stay in the race, but none of them wants to drop out.
The Warren campaign said Super Tuesday would force some candidates to drop out — but she wouldn’t be one of them.
That leaves Bloomberg, the former New York mayor who has risen to the top tier through the force of more than $538 million in advertising. He has defied new calls to drop out -- coming loudest from the Biden camp -- before he has earned a delegate or appeared on a ballot.
Bloomberg bet his whole candidacy on Super Tuesday, the first time he’ll face voters, but if anything, he seems to be stalling right at the moment he hoped to peak. -Bloomberg
So if Biden can't pull off a Super Tuesday miracle, the best he can hope for is that Sanders also doesn't score the 1,991 delegates needed to get on the ballot - which would lead to a brokered convention. This hasn't happened since 1952, however as Bloomberg notes, the size of the Democratic field makes such a scenario plausible.
Meanwhile, the Financial Times posits what life would be like under a Sanders administration, noting that "Danielle DiMartino Booth, chief executive officer of Quill Intelligence, a research firm, said president Trump’s chances of re-election would be “appreciably lower” if the US economy were tipped into recession by the coronavirus outbreak," which "opens the door to the presumptive candidate at this juncture — Bernie Sanders."
The markets, meanwhile, can expect to grapple with the following should Sanders win in November.
At least two sectors of the stock market, healthcare and energy, would see their profits “decimated” under a Sanders administration given the candidate’s stated aims to effectively eliminate private health insurance and to nationalise energy exploration and production, Ms DiMartino Booth said. Other sectors that could be vulnerable include financials, due to Mr Sanders’ planned transaction taxes, as well as technology. -Financial Times
The real question then becomes; will a coronavirus-induced recession hand Bernie Sanders a win in November? Or is the notion that it will impact Trump's chances a flawed notion to begin with.