House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), a key supporter of 2020 candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden, said he is ready to call off the Democratic primary race and declare Biden the winner.
Six states went to vote on Tuesday night, and Biden won four of them, including Missouri, Idaho, crucial Michigan, and Mississippi, while rival Sen. Bernie Sanders won North Dakota, and Washington state is still up for grabs. Biden currently has 846 delegates to Sanders’ 684.
“I think when the night is over, Joe Biden will be the prohibitive favorite to win the Democratic nomination, and quite frankly, if the night ends the way it has begun, I think it is time for us to shut this primary down, it is time for us to cancel the rest of these debates,” Clyburn told NPR. “Because you don’t do anything but get yourself in trouble if you continue in this contest when it’s obvious that the numbers will not shake out for you.”
After losing in four states to Biden, Sanders didn’t reveal his plans moving forward, although some of his supporters and campaign staffers indicated that he would continue until at least the next debate on March 15, which would put Sanders against Biden.
Pressed on the issue, Clyburn told the broadcaster that if Biden were to make a clean sweep on Tuesday, the former vice president would become the “prohibitive nominee,” adding that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) should “step in” and “make an assessment and determine whether they ought to have any more debates.”
A prolonged fight between Biden and Sanders, he added, could possibly damage Biden’s chances against President Donald Trump in the general election.
“People will say things,” Clyburn noted, “that you cannot overcome.”
Last month, Clyburn gave Biden a key endorsement when voters went to the polls in South Carolina’s primary. The former vice president then leveraged his success in that state to dominate during Super Tuesday earlier this month.
In the NPR interview, Clyburn said he wants Biden to pick “an African American female” for his vice president. “I really believe that we’ve reached a point in this country where African American women need to be rewarded for the loyalty that they’ve given to this party,” Clyburn said.
Other than Clyburn, Democratic political consultant James Carville told MSNBC on Tuesday that voters are claiming they “want to shut this thing down” after Biden won in several states.
“I mean, you can just look all across the spectrum of the Democratic Party and people are saying: we’ve made our decision, this is who we’re going with,” Carville added.