For half a billion dollars, Mike Bloomberg could have bought American Samoa outright.
But Bloomberg's lone win on Super Tuesday, in the U.S. territory's caucus, at least convinced the billionaire former mayor that you can't buy your way to the White House.
So Bloomberg is out, and quickly threw his support to Joe Biden. The former vice president and the Democratic National Committee no doubt welcome Bloomberg's billions to the cause, even as legions of Bloomberg campaign workers mourn the derailing of the gravy train.
Defeating President Donald Trump, and short-circuiting Bernie Sanders' socialist revolution, is top of mind for establishment Dems, hence the rush to back Biden, who was dead in the water a week ago.
But Tuesday was a huge night for Biden, and a washout for Sanders. Even if the delegate math isn't all that daunting at the moment, and even though Sanders won California and other states, Biden racked up win after win all night. That's the headline.
Particularly damaging was Biden's win in Texas, a state which many had put in Sanders' column. Biden also pushed Sanders around in the Vermont senator's own backyard, winning Massachusetts and running neck-and-neck in Maine.
It wasn't that long ago that Sanders was the front-runner, and looked on a glide path to the nomination. But Biden got a huge win in South Carolina last Saturday, which helped convince two of his main "moderate" competitors, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar, to bail on the race.
Very convenient for Biden. The only difference between now and 2016 is that the Dem establishment isn't hiding its machinations against Sanders this time around.
And what of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who's shared the progressive lane with Sanders? She can't stay in the race after finishing third in her home state of Massachusetts. But she has to keep running if the Dems really want to bleed Sanders as dry as they can. That's going to cost money. Maybe El Bloombito can help with that.
Besides, if Biden is the nominee, he'll need somebody from the progressive wing as his veep, and Warren fits the ideological and gender bill.
Down-ballot Dems are breathing a sigh of relief after Tuesday as well. They'll have a lot easier time campaigning with Biden at the top of the ticket than Sanders. The Dems' chances of holding the House just improved a thousand percent. Expect some spending from Bloomberg on that effort as well.
But Dems shouldn't get too comfortable. Biden is still far from the ideal candidate, even if he would have been more formidable against Trump in 2016 than Hillary Clinton.
Biden's a shaky debate performer. He seems lost and confused sometimes. He's got that whole Ukraine thing with his son, Hunter, to deal with. He's a gaffe machine, and sometimes struggles to put two sentences together. He's been accused of being handsy with the ladies. He's a Beltway swamp rat to the bone.
And while Biden's association with President Barack Obama is a plus in the primaries, Trump would weaponize it against him in the general election. Biden, by the way, only looks "moderate" when he's standing next to Sanders and Warren. Trump can easily paint Biden as the liberal lawmaker he's been for decades.
Remember too that Biden wouldn't win all those Southern states he took on Tuesday night in the general election. And toss-up states could be a problem if Bernie's irked supporters stay home or vote third-party, as they did four years ago.
Biden still does have to beat Sanders the rest of the way. And if we know anything from 2016, it's that Bernie and his bros are never-say-die bitter-enders.
This thing ain't over.
Originally published by the Staten Island Advance, N.Y. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.