The three Ms give Biden a huge boost

CNN projects Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden will win the 2020 Michigan primary.

CNN Opinion asked commentators to weigh in on significance of Tuesday’s results — and what they portend for the Democratic presidential race. The views expressed in this commentary are their own.

Paul Begala: How Biden really won Mississippi

The myth of a Democratic “establishment” handing the Democratic nomination to Joe Biden died in Mississippi Tuesday.

In the 1960’s, Mississippi truly had a Democratic establishment. Led by virulent racists like Gov. Ross Barnett, Mississippi Democrats and their KKK allies practiced a kind of terrorism. Barnett sent the peaceful Freedom Riders, including John Lewis, to the notorious Parchman State Prison, where they were harassed and humiliated.

But he and others kept up the fight, and in 1964, when establishment Democrats brought an all-white delegation to the Democratic National Convention, the civil rights movement brought an integrated slate of “Mississippi Freedom Democrats.”

Fannie Lou Hamer, a leader of the Freedom Democrats told the Democrats’ Credentials Committee, “Is this America: the land of the free and the home of the brave, where we have to sleep with our telephones off of the hook because our lives be threatened daily because we have to live as decent human beings in America?”

The establishment prevailed in 1964. The Freedom Democrats were excluded. John Lewis went on to become a congressman. Fannie Lou Hamer ran for Congress and lost, but one of her young aides in that campaign, Bennie Thompson, is now a senior member of Congress, and Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.

I go through the bloody and shameful history of the old, racist Democratic establishment — and the heroism of African-Americans — to make a point: today, people like Lewis and Thompson are powerful congressmen. And they support Joe Biden

You cannot dismiss Lewis or Thompson with the epithet “establishment.” Nor can you dismiss the tens of thousands of African-American voters in places like Mississippi as “establishment.” The fact that they can vote at all is proof that they and their foremothers and forefathers smashed the Democratic establishment once and for all.

Biden did not win the “establishment” in Mississippi. He won the heart and soul of the Democratic Party.

Paul Begala, a Democratic strategist and CNN political commentator, was a political consultant for Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign in 1992 and served as a counselor to Clinton in the White House.

SE Cupp: Sanders’ expanding base proves elusive

Bernie Sanders has argued that only his campaign could turn out new voters to take on Donald Trump. But those voters are once again proving elusive.

Joe Biden’s early wins in Mississippi and Missouri — especially — revealed a stagnant and static Sanders, who in recent days limited campaigning in those states in an apparent acknowledgment of what was to be. He canceled events in Kansas City to consolidate efforts in St. Louis, and quit Mississippi altogether to head to Michigan.

That Biden was able to turn out a state with a majority African American electorate (Mississippi, 64%) and one with a majority white electorate (Missouri, 78%) further cuts into Sanders’ argument that he is expanding his base. Just as we learned after the first Super Tuesday, Sanders is looking less and less like a national candidate, and more and more like one with very localized appeal.

Final thought, and importantly for a general election: Missouri exit polls will let us know more about who voted for Joe Biden there — it has an open primary, so conceivably, Biden could have benefited from moderates, independents and even some Republicans casting their ballots for him.

SE Cupp is a CNN political commentator and the host of “SE Cupp Unfiltered.”

Nayyera Haq: Biden is creating the coalition of Democrats’ dreams

With wins in Mississippi– a state with a largely black electorate and a median household income hovering around $43,000 a year– and Missouri, a largely white electorate with about $53,000 annual median income, former Vice President Joe Biden is proving to be the candidate who can pull together a multi-racial, working-class coalition. This is what many Democrats have been for; it’s what won the election for Obama, and much of that nostalgia has rubbed off positively on Biden.

But a note of caution – winning voters in southern states did not get Hillary into the White House. The elusive Obama-Trump voter will come into play in key swing states like Michigan and Wisconsin for the general election. An electoral college win in 2020 will also require bringing in new voters and independents — folks who for the most part have yet to make their voices heard at the ballot box this primary season.

While the Biden vs. Bernie Sanders part of the contest has shown that active Democrats want the return to normality and tradition that Biden offers, the big question is whether the broader electorate will be concerned and enthusiastic enough to turn out and Make America Normal Again.

Nayyera Haq is a host on SiriusXM Progress and CEO of an international communications firm. She served in the Obama administration as a senior adviser in the State Department and a senior director in the White House. Follow her on Twitter @nayyeroar.