It was apparently eight short days ago that Nevada held their caucuses, and I wrote that the race was now "Bernie Sanders and everyone else". As I mentioned there, this was my brief summary, as I was stuck in a gazebo leaching WiFi. But at the time, it seemed like a good summary of the race: Joe Biden had underperformed, and Bernie Sanders seemed to have the most enthusiasm and momentum.
Many things can change in a week. But even if things hadn't changed, Virginia would be different from other contests. Virginia is the largest state to finish its vote, although it is smaller than other states that will vote on Super Tuesday. But it is also one of the first truly diverse states to vote: it has cities with upper middle-class government employees, it has a large African-American population, it has rural, conservative white voters, it has suburban, middle-of-the-road voters, it has military voters...and out of this mix, Joe Biden has come out ahead, with a little over 50% of the vote. Virginia is the first state with complete results, but preliminary results from other states seem to show Biden is leading easily across the south.
The numbers haven't changed that much. Biden is still only at the halfway mark. There are still other states where Bernie Sanders is strong, including the behemoth of California, which won't report until much later in the night. What has changed in the past week is that "everyone else" that was running against Sanders coalesced into a single candidate, who had a good showing in the states he did well in. The other candidates still in the race, such as Elizabeth Warren and Michael Bloomberg, didn't make much of a showing in Virginia. So with a little change to the numbers, and a lot of change to the narrative, the race is now Joe Biden, and Bernie Sanders. And that is what has changed in the past week.