In Brief

Joe Biden close to sealing nomination after primaries hat-trick

Bernie Sanders under pressure to drop out after losing string of primaries

Joe Biden swept three key primaries last night, dominating a third week of consecutive presidental nomination elections.

Biden’s comfortable victories in Florida, Illinois and Arizona all but eliminated his rival Bernie Sanders, and came as Donald Trump formally sealed the Republican presidential nomination.

Biden now has more than 1,100 delegates, more than half of those needed to clinch the nomination. Sanders, who trails with just over 800, would need to win several of the upcoming primaries by huge margins to remain in the race.

“Biden is well on his way to being the presumptive Democratic nominee,” said USA Today, with CNN adding that he has a “near-insurmountable lead” over Sanders.

“Our campaign has had a very good night – and is a little closer to securing the Democratic party’s nomination for president,” Biden said in a speech from his home in Wilmington, Delaware.

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Yesterday’s primaries took place to the backdrop of stringent measures to control the spread of coronavirus in the US, with President Trump advising Americans not to gather in groups of more than 10.

Mike DeWine, the Republican governor of Ohio, announced on Monday afternoon that he would seek to postpone his state’s election until 2 June. An Ohio county judge rejected the request, saying it would set a “terrible” precedent, however the vote was delayed after DeWine instructed the state’s director of health to declare a public health emergency.

Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, attacked the delay, claiming that it caused “more chaos and confusion”.

Meanwhile, pressure is now growing on Sanders to drop out of the race so that Democrats can unite behind one candidate.

“#DropOutBernie” was trending on Twitter last night, with The Guardian reporting that the Vermont senator is facing calls “to make a gesture worthy of wartime and call it quits for the national good”.

The paper notes that Biden has built up a “nearly indomitable lead”, with former George W. Bush aide, Lloyd Green, writing: “Biden has now amassed more than 1,000 delegates, more than half way to clinching the nomination. The primary battle is over in all but name. November looms.” 

Sanders “needs to take a long, hard look at how and why he would stay in the race,” Chris Meagher, a former  adviser to ex-presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, told CNN.

“And given how long he waited to drop out of the race in 2016, that pressure to drop out of the race when the writing is clearly on the wall is even greater.”

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