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Q&A: Is the Democratic presidential contest over? Will the November election be canceled?

Mark Z. Barabak, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Political News

Just about one month and a million years ago, the Democratic presidential contest was going full tilt.

Voters in 14 states and American Samoa went to the polls -- many standing less than a socially distant six feet apart -- to cast Super Tuesday ballots and revive the fading presidential hopes of Joe Biden.

Today, like so much else, the contest has screeched to a virtual halt. The novel coronavirus has Biden and Bernie Sanders off the campaign trail. Political rallies -- or anything, for that matter, involving large numbers of people gathered in one place -- are forbidden across much of the country.

Still, the calendar moves inexorably toward summer and the Democrats' nominating convention and, beyond that, the Nov. 3 general election. That raises a number of questions.

Q. Is Biden now the Democratic nominee?

A. No, he is not, though the former vice president has built a seemingly insurmountable lead against Sanders.

 

Q. How's that?

A. It takes 1,991 pledged delegates to win the nomination on the first ballot at the convention scheduled to begin July 13 in Milwaukee. (More on that in a moment.)

Biden leads Sanders 1,217 to 914 delegates, according to the Associated Press. While that may not seem like a huge gap, it would take something of a miracle for the Vermont senator to catch up.

Q. Why's that?

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