Biden wins South Carolina, Steyer, Buttigieg drop out

The South Carolina primary Saturday finally gave Joe Biden the victory he needed to reclaim his front-runner status in the presidential race from Bernie Sanders — at least, temporarily. Biden won South Carolina with 48.5 percent of votes and 35 of the 54 available delegates. Sanders fell back to second place with 19.9 percent of votes and gained 13 delegates. 

But while Biden emerged triumphant from South Carolina, will it be enough for him to survive Super Tuesday March 3? He is still behind Sanders in delegate count (Biden has 48 delegates and Sanders has 56 delegates) and Sanders currently polls 11 percent higher than Biden nationally. Biden knew from the start that he would not do well in the Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada primaries. Still, the odds for the candidate who had once polled 20 percent higher than any other candidate nationally are not looking good.

The South Carolina primary proved to be the tipping point for not just one, but two presidential campaigns. Billionaire Tom Steyer and Mayor of South Bend, IN, Pete Buttigieg both ended their runs for the presidency Saturday and Sunday, respectively. 

Steyer took third place in South Carolina with 11.3 percent of votes before promptly dropping from the race. Steyer had hoped to win South Carolina due to the millions of dollars he had invested in the state. He had always said that he would drop out of the race if he did not see a clear path to the presidency. Placing third in South Carolina appeared to be a dead end for his campaign. 

Steyer had never been a stand-out candidate. He just barely qualified for the last debate where he awkwardly waved his arm around in the air, trying to get a word in amidst the dominant characters on stage. While his support for combating climate change and taking down Trump were respectable in a Democratic candidate, he just didn’t have the charisma to garner an enthusiastic following like Bernie Sanders or former candidate Andrew Yang did. 

On Saturday, Steyer addressed a crowd of supporters in South Carolina to announce his resignation. He told the crowd that he will continue to uphold his values in the fight against President Donald Trump. Steyer has not endorsed a specific candidate and says that he will instead support whoever wins the Democratic nominee. 

In a Tweet following Steyer’s announcement, Sanders thanked him for “running a campaign to bring the crisis of climate change” to national attention and said that he looked forward to working with him to defeat Donald Trump.

While Steyer was always at the back of the pack among the presidential candidates, Buttigieg had been an unexpected star in the race. After winning in Iowa, it appeared that his campaign was launching off. However, it seems that his past controversial actions and inability to win black voters’ support caught up to him. 

Despite his shortcomings, Buttigieg was a trailblazer in politics for the LGBTQ+ community. He was the first openly-gay presidential candidate in a major party to earn delegates, and he was public about his marriage with his husband, Chasten Buttigieg. A veteran and the youngest candidate in the race, Buttigieg drew in a wide variety of support. His promise to bring a new generation into the White House excited young voters. However, just like Steyer, he did not forsee a bright future for his campaign after South Carolina and withdrew from the race.

There now remain only six candidates left in the presidential race — an immensely small pool of candidates compared to the giant group of 28 candidates who have all entered the running to defeat Trump in 2020. The next primary will be held March 3, Super Tuesday, and will include 14 states, American Samoa and Democrats abroad.