Building on his ongoing surge toward the Democratic presidential nomination, Joe Biden won the Democratic presidential primaries in Arizona, Florida and Illinois on Tuesday night.
Florida was the biggest prize with 248 delegates that Biden can now add it his totals. Illinois was next with 184 delegates followed by Arizona with 79.
The former vice president’s victories were another big blow to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders whose early strength has evaporated as African Americans and working-class whites across the country have sided with Biden.
Biden now has a decisive delegate lead over Sanders. That delegate lead makes a comeback by Sanders numerically unlikely as the number of delegates for states to still hold primaries declines going forward.
Biden needs less than half of the remaining delegates to become the nominee.
Some Democrats are now calling on Sanders to leave the race in the name of party unity. But the Vermont senator made no mention of that Tuesday night in a livestream to supporters.
The former vice president said earlier Tuesday evening that wins in Florida and Illinois made it a "good night." But Biden spent most of a brief address confronting the coronavirus and the national quasi-quarantine that had him speaking online rather than at a raucous rally with supporters.
"It's moments like these we realize we need to put politics aside and work together as Americans," Biden said. "The coronavirus doesn't care if you're a Democrat or Republican. ... We're all in this together."
Coronavirus Impact on Politics
But Tuesday’s primaries demonstrated the tremendous uncertainty confronting the Democratic contest as it collides with efforts to slow the spread of the virus that have shut down large swaths of American life.
The state of Ohio canceled its presidential primary after health officials ordered the polls closed over concerns related to the coronavirus. And Louisiana, Georgia, and Kentucky have postponed their presidential primaries to a later date this year in an effort to prevent the spreading of the virus, CNN reports.
Wyoming Democratic Party Chairman Joe Barbuto announced last week that "the in-person portion" of the states' meetings were "suspended due to growing concern" over the public health crisis.
Coronavirus Changing Life from Coast to Coast
While some aspects of this political horse race are being delayed, one famous horse race is also being postponed. An update was posted on The Kentucky Derby website early Tuesday morning explaining that the iconic event has been rescheduled to September 5.
The 146th Kentucky Derby was originally scheduled for May 2. In a statement, Churchill Downs Incorporated CEO, Bill Carstanjen wrote, "The most recent developments have led us to make some very difficult, but we believe, necessary decisions and our hearts are with those who have been or continue to be affected by this pandemic."
This is the first time the Derby has been delayed since 1945 - after the government banned horse racing due to World War II.
On Monday, President Trump issued new guidelines for public gatherings, setting a limit of no more than 10 people for the next eight weeks.
"We've made the decision to toughen the guidelines and blunt the infection, now recommending all Americans work to engage in schooling from home, gathering in groups of no more than 10, avoid travel and eating and drinking in restaurants and public food courts," he said.
New safety measures continue to be released with the purpose of protecting the public and to prevent spreading of the coronavirus pandemic.