All but certain: Joe Biden will be the Democratic nominee

( – It was a clean sweep for Joe Biden on Tuesday night.

In the three states that actually went through with primary votes, despite the continued spread of the coronavirus, Biden beat down on challenger Bernie Sanders, claiming victories in Arizona, Illinois and Florida.

According to tallies done by the Associated Press and NPR, Biden has 1,153 delegates to his name compared to Sanders’ 872. With more than 60% of the total delegates already awarded, it’s not impossible for Sanders to make up the gap, but it’s highly improbable.

The troubling sign for Sanders isn’t just that he’s losing, it’s that he’s losing soundly by every measure. He’s losing to Biden in not only total vote and delegate count but also among just about every major demographic. The only group which Sanders can still claim is loyal to him is younger voters, but they only make up a small percentage of the overall electorate.

Guy Cecil, chairman of a Democratic super PAC called Priorities USA, summed up the current situation:

“The results tonight only confirmed what we knew a week ago — that Joe Biden is the prohibitive favorite to be the nominee of the Democratic Party. It’s critical that Democratic organizations and allies need to be focused on taking on Donald Trump and on not allowing any of the lies he is telling about the likely nominee to take hold.”

With the coronavirus pandemic causing a lot of states to change the dates of their primaries, Sanders will have some time to think about what’s next. His campaign released a statement Tuesday night that he would “assess his campaign” following Tuesday night’s disappointing results. His campaign manager, Faiz Shakir, said:

“The next primary contest is at least three weeks away. Sen. Sanders is going to be having conversations with supporters to assess his campaign. In the immediate term, however, he is focused on the government response to the coronavirus outbreak and ensuring that we take care of working people and the most vulnerable.”

The Biden camp would certainly love it if Sanders would just gracefully step aside and not battle him tooth and nail to the end, as he did with Hillary Clinton in 2016. Clinton has claimed that Sanders’ reluctance to drop out of the race caused a divide among Democratic voters, instead of rallying them behind the party in the fight against Trump.

While Shakir’s comments seemed to allude that Sanders sees there isn’t a good path toward the nomination for him, his campaign staff is still sounding the attack horn against Biden.

On Tuesday morning, Briahna Joy Gray, a journalist who is serving as press secretary for Sanders’ campaign, responded to a tweet sent by Sludge.

From Sludge: “NEW: In break with Sanders and many other Dems, Joe Biden has not embraced an executive authority known as march-in rights that could be important for controlling the cost of a coronavirus vaccine.”

Gray’s response: “This is what happens when you have pharma lobbyists on your senior team and take money from big pharma donors.”