The former American vice-president Joe Biden cemented, Tuesday, March 17, his status as a favorite for the Democratic nomination against his rival Bernie Sanders, by winning the primaries in Florida, Arizona and Illinois, at the end of an election day weighed down by the anxiety caused by the coronavirus. In Florida, the moderate candidate won 61% of the vote, compared to 22% for his socialist rival, according to the results in 87% of the polling stations reported by the American media. Joe Biden also won the poll in Illinois, a northeastern industrial state, according to media projections.
Donald Trump, unsurprisingly, became the nominee for the Republican Party on Tuesday after passing the number of delegates required.
Comfortable lead for Biden
On the Democratic side, Joe Biden had already, before Tuesday, a comfortable lead in the number of delegates who will appoint the president’s opponent, with more than half of the 1,991 needed.
By winning a good portion of the 219 delegates from Florida and a majority of the 155 at stake in Illinois, his lead could become insurmountable. Joe Biden was scheduled to speak at around 9 p.m. in a speech broadcast on the Internet.
Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, did not announce a speech. He spoke online shortly before the polling stations closed, but did not mention the polls. A striking choice. The senator focused on the coronavirus crisis and the responses Congress could provide to it. “In these times of crisis, it is imperative that we stand together”, did he declare.
The coronavirus has upset the campaign, the two rivals and Donald Trump having canceled their meetings.
“Let us be united”
A fourth state, Ohio, was originally to participate in this new stage, but, faced with the rapid progression of the epidemic (more than 6,200 cases recorded in the United States and 105 deaths), the governor of l ‘Ohio announced the postponement of this primary.
Attendance appeared to be reduced on Tuesday, with voters and volunteers being asked to maintain safe distances and precautionary measures. Almost 2 million Florida voters voted in advance or by correspondence.
Louisiana, Georgia, Kentucky and Maryland, which were to vote later, have already postponed their ballots to May and June. Others may soon follow.
The Democratic Party called on Tuesday, the states that still have to vote in the coming months to strengthen the means to participate in advance and by mail. “Our democracy is based on the right to vote and we must do everything in our power to protect and strengthen this right rather than putting an end to our democratic functioning”, wrote its president, Tom Perez.