Anatomy of a political comeback: How Biden earned nomination

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Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

FILE - In this Jan. 14, 2020, file photo Democratic presidential candidates former Vice President Joe Biden, takes the stage before a Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by CNN and the Des Moines Register in Des Moines, Iowa. Biden has won the last few delegates he needed to clinch the Democratic nomination for president. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

BALTIMORE – It seemed easy to write off Joe Biden.

The former vice president came across as easily blindsided at debates. The crowds at his presidential campaign speeches were far from stadium size. Other Democratic candidates such as Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg each had moments of radiating a kinetic energy, while Biden appeared to be conserving his resources.

But Biden had name recognition.

He is able to connect on an emotional level with people who have experienced personal loss, as he has. And as Barack Obama’s wingman for eight years, Biden was a reminder to many Democrats of what a president should be.

The opening contests in the 2020 nominating race in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada were humbling losses for Biden. Then came a commanding victory in South Carolina with help from African American voters. Rivals departed the race, and within days his coalition expanded to make him a lock for the nomination that was officially secured Friday night.

This is how Biden won.

It’s an account drawn directly from more than 40,000 people from AP VoteCast surveys in 17 states that voted between Feb. 3 and March 17. The result is a rich portrait of a diverse Democratic electorate eager to oust President Donald Trump. The issues confronting the nation intensified since Biden took an overwhelming lead in the primary as the United States now faces a pandemic, a recession and civil unrest due to racial inequality.