The usual conspiracy theories are in play this morning, but here's the most likely reality: Just as Bernie Sanders benefited in 2016 from the "anybody but Clinton" vote, Joe Biden won big last night with the "anybody but Bernie" vote. Many Democrats were willing to vote for Bernie as long as the numbers told them he was their best or only option for taking down Trump, but after Biden's surprise margin in South Carolina, they saw a different option and voted for it.
CNN's Phil Mattingly took a closer look this morning at Biden's shocking victory.
"Let's start with the number one key. If anyone told you the morning after Super Tuesday, Biden would be 76 delegates ahead of Sanders, they'd be lying through their teeth," he said.
"That's how big of a night Tuesday night was. Let's start with a couple of 'wow' moments. Wow moments starting with Minnesota. Minnesota, Joe Biden won by 65,000 votes. 38.6%. Bernie Sanders at 29.9%. John, going into Minnesota, there were questions whether or not Joe Biden would actually hit the 15% mark that would make him viable for statewide delegates. Obviously got a major boost from Amy Klobuchar's endorsement the night before Super Tuesday. Joe Biden in a state that Bernie Sanders won in 2016 in a caucus back then, ended up crushing in minnesota.
"Move over to the northeast. Bernie Sanders country. Another state that he won in a caucus in 2016. Joe Biden still not called yet but leading Bernie Sanders in the state of Maine by 7800 votes. There are questions whether Joe Biden would be viable in this state, let alone have a chance to win this state. Move down a little bit to John Berman's home state, Massachusetts. This is Elizabeth Warren's home state. This is a place that's right next door to where bernie sanders is from in vermont. joe biden won by almost 89,000 votes. elizabeth warren coming in third place. there were some wow moments earlier in the night.
"Here's the big moment for the Biden campaign. The state of Texas, the state where Bernie Sanders was organized and had a ton of money, ton of organization. Joe Biden over the course of the night trailing, then pulling even, then taking the lead as the election day vote, not the early vote, the election day vote started to roll in in the suburbs."
"Right now, 93% reporting up by 71,000 votes. CNN has projected Joe Biden will win Texas. The other key -- and I think this is what some expected but maybe not to this degree, the mid-Atlantic and the south. Joe Biden just blowing out through these states exactly what his case's best-case scenario would be. He did it whether it was Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma. Then you include Texas in that. That's how you get to where Joe Biden had the night that he had.
"But I do want to point out one key thing that's outstanding or one of the biggest things that's still outstanding. And that's the largest pot of delegates at play. 415 delegates in the state of California and look at this map right now. almost all light blue. Light blue is Bernie Sanders. Bernie Sanders, about 240,000 votes ahead with 48% reporting. now, it's worth noting it's going to take some time. The vote is going to come in over the course of days. this is where Sanders thought he could pick up a lot of delegates. He still has a opportunity."
UPDATE: Biden has won Maine.