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How Does Biden's Super Tuesday Wins Affect Sanders?

NOEL KING, HOST:

Super Tuesday ended with two front-runners promising to defeat President Trump.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JOE BIDEN: And make no mistake about it, this campaign will send Donald Trump packing.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BERNIE SANDERS: And we are going to defeat the most dangerous president in the history of this country.

(CHEERING)

KING: So here's how it played out. Bernie Sanders won California, where the most delegates were up for grabs, but he didn't do as well in other states. Joe Biden, meanwhile, revived his campaign. At this point, Biden has won nine of the 14 states that voted yesterday. So where does this leave everyone? Nick Chedli Carter is in the studio with us. He was the national political outreach director for Bernie Sanders' campaign in 2016, and he's currently a progressive strategist. Good morning.

NICK CHEDLI CARTER: Hey. Good morning.

KING: How bad were last night's results for the Sanders campaign?

CARTER: Well, frankly speaking, I actually don't think it was anything terribly surprising, particularly in looking at states that Joe Biden was largely expected to do well - Virginia in particular - that - frankly, that largely what played out was the result of an inevitability about some of the states that Joe Biden would be - do very well in. Unfortunately, I think for the Sanders campaign - particularly states like Massachusetts, Minnesota, where Bernie was expected to do better...

KING: Yeah.

CARTER: ...I'm sure they're finding very disappointing. But also, if you look into the particular parts of the state, for example, in Virginia, where Bernie still did fairly well amongst young voters - and I think that's going to be a trend you're going to see in other states, even though that - he may have not won. And also, just in terms of the actual delegate math right now, yes, Joe Biden did win nine states, but you still very much have a very close race, which I think if you were to have disappeared for the last month and woke up today, you wouldn't be all that surprised by the results that you're seeing today, particularly when it comes to the delegate count.

KING: OK. Joe Biden got some really important endorsements just a couple of hours before Super Tuesday voting started - his former rivals Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg, Beto O'Rourke. How much did that matter, do you think, yesterday?

CARTER: Well, I think what's important keep in mind is the primary is a different electorate than the general election. And I do think those result - those endorsements actually did play rather significantly in Joe Biden's favor, as demonstrated particularly what played out in Texas. The real question is, you know, how much is that really going to matter come the general election? But for the purposes of the primary and looking at the uniqueness of that electorate, I think it was rather significant.

KING: I want to play you some tape from Tom Perez, the chair of the DNC. He's talking last night about the two different visions that Sanders and Biden have for the country.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TOM PEREZ: One value that unites everyone is we need to take back the White House because Donald Trump is an existential threat to our democracy. And regardless of who you vote for in the primary, everybody understands that.

KING: OK, fair enough. Do you see a way where those two very different visions can work together, where the candidate that wins can unite all those people that did not vote for him or her?

CARTER: Well, I don't think it's a question of can; it's a question of, you know, it must. And I think what's important to keep in mind - that, you know, both candidates - and at this point, I think, good news for the party that you do have a consolidation, which will be helpful in terms of building momentum going into the general election. I think both candidates have very strong assets and also some strong weaknesses. So, you know, for example, Bernie's strength with Latino voters and young people is going to be extremely relevant come the general.

KING: Nick Chedli Carter was the national political outreach director for Bernie Sanders' 2016 campaign. He also worked on the Hillary Clinton campaign after she won the nomination that year. Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.