Public events are being canceled left and right as America combats the Wuhan pandemic unleashed by China. Nevertheless, Democratic primary voters persisted in their efforts to anoint former vice president Joe Biden as their party's nominee for president.
Biden, the youngest and most viable male candidate seeking the Democratic nomination, crushed socialist senator Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) in a series of state primaries on Tuesday. Most notably, the former VP trounced Sanders in Florida, where a large population of Cuban-American voters evidently was not fond of Sanders's long history of praising Fidel Castro's brutal left-wing dictatorship. When all the votes are counted, Biden's margin of victory over Sanders will almost certainly be larger than Hillary Clinton's in 2016 (10 percent).
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Biden was projected to gain at least 100 more convention delegates than Sanders in Florida alone. He was also projected to win at least 93 delegates in Illinois, where he was quickly declared the winner after polls closed at 8 p.m. EST. The same was true in Arizona, where Biden was projected to pick up a majority of the state's 67 convention delegates.
Ohio was also scheduled to hold a primary election on Tuesday, but polls were closed on the orders of Gov. Mike DeWine (R., Ohio) as a result of concerns over the Wuhan pandemic. Recent polling showed Biden ahead in the state, where 136 delegates were at stake, by more than 20 points.
Biden was projected to have almost 1,200 delegates by the end of the night, while Sanders was projected to have fewer than 900. The winning candidate will need 1,991 to secure the nomination at the party's convention in Milwaukee. Biden's seemingly insurmountable lead has prompted a number of Democratic officials to call on Sanders to drop out of the race with varying degrees of subtlety.
"The will of the people is speaking loud and clear," said Center for American Progress president Neera Tanden. "Time to unite to deal with a national crisis."
Former senator Claire McCaskill said it was "time" for Sanders to drop out. "Bernie's going to have plenty of delegates and power to influence the platform because we all want to come together," she said on MSNBC. "So I do think the pressure is going to mount especially at this time of crisis."
Former Obama strategist David Axelrod was the least subtle of all. "This is over," he said on CNN. "It’s over. The election is over tonight."
Sanders, meanwhile, did not even mention Tuesday's elections during an online town hall with supporters. Instead, the socialist candidate focused almost entirely on the Wuhan pandemic. Sanders called for redistributive policies to address the economic fallout from the crisis, including waiving student loan payments and giving all Americans a $2,000 monthly stipend until the virus is under control.
Some Sanders supporters and campaign officials cried foul, accusing the Democratic Party of putting public health at risk in an effort to anoint Biden as the nominee. "After several states saw the risk, and postponed primaries, at least to give themselves time to prep, Joe Biden and the Democratic Party doubled down, ignored the risks, and didn't even make sure polling locations had BASIC cleaning supplies," tweeted activist Shaun King, a prominent Sanders campaign surrogate. "SUPER irresponsible and dangerous."
In other, more important news, President Donald J. Trump won enough GOP delegates on Tuesday to officially secure the Republican nomination. Trump is projected to serve at least one more term before leaving office as one of the most successful presidents in American history.