08:41 GMT29 March 2020
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    Joe Biden's Super Tuesday breakthrough has seemingly calmed down the Democratic centrists. However, Biden's record as vice president and his son's controversial role in the Ukrainian energy firm Burisma risks overshadowing the new Dem frontrunner's campaign.

    Super Tuesday's biggest surprise was a string of victories by former Vice President Joe Biden, who previously lagged behind Democratic frontrunners with fourth and fifth place finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire respectively.

    The winds of change started to blow at the beginning of March. Following his decisive victory in the South Carolina primary the ex-vice president managed to easily win a number of states he hadn't even campaigned in.

    'There's Something Fishy About Biden's Win'

    American observers unanimously agree that Biden "did extremely well" during Super Tuesday.

    "Biden has made an incredible comeback over the last few days", says Daniel P. Franklin, associate professor of political science at Georgia State University. "Barring some unforeseen event, I do not see a path for Senator Bernie Sanders to the nomination". 

    Still, they cannot but express surprise over the ex-vice president's unexpected breakthrough.

    What amazes Paul Poast, associate professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Chicago, is how quickly all of the moderate candidates with Bloomberg the last to drop out for the purpose of supporting Biden. According to him, "Sanders' performance in Nevada appears to have been the catalyst for that shift".

    Wall Street analyst and investigative journalist Charles Ortel also voices bewilderment over the ex-vice president's win: "Watching Biden’s daily gaffes, one has to question how Democrats pull levers in voting booths this cycle for 'Sleepy Joe'".

    ​According to Ortel, "establishment Democrats seems so terrified of progressives and of Bernie Sanders that they are willing to support 'brand name' candidates, even those with long-standing and highly questionable financial relationships".

    For his part, independent American journalist and geopolitical analyst Max Parry sees Biden's Tuesday triumph as a result of a "silent coup against Bernie".

    "The timing of [Amy] Klobuchar and [Pete] Buttigieg's last-minute withdrawals from the race to congeal around an endorsement of Biden clearly elevated the former vice president's performance", the journalist elaborates. "That Elizabeth Warren did not drop out [ahead of Super Tuesday] only further hurt Sanders as she was regarded as the other so-called 'progressive' in the race which divided that wing of the party and clearly took votes away from him. Why would she not drop out when she could not even place second in her own state?"

    ​Parry draws attention to Barack Obama's phone call to Buttigieg after the latter exited the 2020 race Sunday. Citing a Democratic official familiar with the conversation, The New York Times noted that though Obama did not instruct the former South Bend mayor to endorse Biden he said that Buttigieg had to "consider his leverage".

    "Of course there were other factors that hurt Sanders such as the wall-to-wall negative coverage in corporate media, but clearly there was a coordinated effort by the party establishment just like we saw in Iowa", the journalist suggests, adding that it appears somewhat "fishy" to him that Biden did not even have outposts in many of the states he won.

    Ukraine's Burisma Case Still Haunts the Bidens

    Joe Biden was earlier in the cross hairs of the press during the Trump impeachment process propelled by House Democrats over the US president's phone conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky. During this call Trump cited Biden's alleged interference to stop prosecution against Burisma where his son, Hunter served as a board director at that time.

    Parry believes that if Biden emerges as the Dem nominee, "Ukraine will once again take centre stage as it did during the impeachment and it is very likely there is more dirt to uncover".

    "Biden still has a lot of history that can be used against him", echoes Paul Poast. "We're already seeing Sanders doing just that. Trump would likely do the same in a general election".

    On 27 February, Ukraine's State Bureau of Investigations opened two criminal probes into the new Democratic favourite after former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin, who was supposedly sacked at Biden's request, filed multiple appeals with a court, according to the Kyiv Post.

    Earlier in February, US Attorney General William Barr confirmed that the Department of Justice (DOJ) would consider information from Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani's on Ukraine concerning the activities of former Vice President Biden and his son Hunter in the country.

    In a separate move, on Sunday, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson announced that he was planning to subpoena the first witness in his probe on Hunter Biden's role in the Ukrainian energy firm Burisma. Though having no experience in Ukrainian affairs or energy, Joe Biden's son used to get substantial benefits from the company while his father was Obama's vice president and oversaw US policies on Ukraine.

    According to Parry, the developments "will be the equivalent of Hillary's emails for Biden this presidential election and Trump will unquestionably score a point on this". To complicate matters further, Joe Biden allegedly confirmed that he had blackmailed Kiev into booting Shokin at a Council on Foreign Relations gathering in Washington, DC on 23 January 2018.

    ​Commenting on a series of inquiries into the Bidens, Charles Ortel notes that the investigators need "to go well back into history" to see how "politically-connected persons in both parties harnessed US government resources to advance international projects across the former Soviet Union, Central Europe, and developing countries" through "false-front foundations, off-market speech, directorships or sweet-heart investment deals". In connection with this the Wall Street analyst cited Peter Schweizer's latest book "Profiles in Corruption" that contains new analysis of the Biden family.

    Biden is Ideal Opponent for Trump

    Though the question as to who will become the next Democratic nominee remains open, observers believe that Biden is now the obvious favourite.

    "Biden should now proceed to the selection of a vice presidential running mate who addresses his obvious weaknesses in outreach to youthful and Hispanic voters, Julian Castro perhaps?" opines Daniel P. Franklin.

    For his part, Ortel does not rule out that "Biden may be strongarmed into selecting a well-known woman as his runnoing mate, say Hillary Clinton or Michelle Obama".

    Giving his prognosis on the upcoming Democratic convention Parry foresees that it is possible that neither Biden nor Bernie will win more than 1,885 of the 1,991 votes required in the first ballot. 

    "In that scenario, it is certain that the 771 unpledged delegates in the party officials and elected officials will choose Biden over Bernie", the journalist predicts.

    That means that the former vice president is most likely to become Trump's punching bag. Biden is "the ideal opponent for Trump, not to mention on a personal level his mental state is questionable given the amount of routine gaffes he has been making in public appearances", Parry presumes. "Trump will run circles around him in a debate".

    "Before Biden continues his practice of reliably stumbling and bumbling, Republican and independent voters seem to be getting even more interested in backing President Trump for a second term", Ortel suggests. "That said, much can happen in the eight long months until Election Day".

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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    Tags:
    Hunter Biden, Ukraine, Burisma, 2020 election, Super Tuesday, Donald Trump, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, United States
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