Think of it as Super Postponed Day.
June 2 had been an afterthought on the Democratic primary calendar. Ever since Joe Biden seized the mantle of front-runner, voters in New Jersey and a few other states scheduled to vote that day assumed the horse race would be over before their primaries rolled around.
But with numerous states pushing back voting to June 2 because of the coronavirus pandemic, the date has gained sudden prominence. It now confers a huge bounty of delegates, second only to Super Tuesday in early March, with Indiana, Pennsylvania and others now moving to hold their primaries the first Tuesday in June.
Although Biden has built an all but insurmountable lead, June 2 — which is a long 10 weeks away — will be his first chance to clinch the presidential nomination. Only then would the former vice president have a definitive reason to press for the withdrawal of Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who has shown no inclination to leave a race that feels frozen in place.
Some Democratic strategists see possible perils in the delay. Having to wait until June 2 for the next major chapter in the nominating race largely deprives Biden of a chance to rack up interim victories that would bring media attention. President Donald Trump, meanwhile, is promoting his leadership in a global pandemic. A Monmouth University Poll on Tuesday showed Biden with a 3-point lead over Trump among registered voters nationally, 48% to 45%.
As the Democratic nominee-in-waiting, Biden may simply have to wait longer.
"This idea apparently being floated by the Sanders campaign that Bernie can stay in the race and accumulate delegates without harming Biden's chances of winning in November is delusional," said J.J. Balaban, a Democratic strategist in Pennsylvania. The lengthy pause in the primary and Sanders' reluctance to step aside are distractions, Balaban said, from the need for Democrats to refocus on the general election race, in which Trump has a head start raising money and coalescing supporters.
On Wednesday, Pennsylvania passed a bill to move its primary, originally scheduled for April 28, to June 2. The governor is expected to sign it.