LOS ANGELES — On Sunday, Karen Badon filled out a ballot to vote early for Elizabeth Warren, after deciding that she agreed more with Warren’s platform than anyone else’s.
She didn’t send it in. On the night of Super Tuesday, she stood in line at the Baldwin Hills Recreation Center in Los Angeles with a Biden for President sign in hand, indicating the candidate she’d ended up voting for instead.
"I saw all these people dropping out and they were all endorsing Biden, and I thought, Biden is the one who can be elected," said Badon, 57. "So I did not mail in my ballot. I went to vote today, tore up my ballot, and voted for Biden."
Joe Biden delivered results on Super Tuesday well beyond expectations, with about 30% of Super Tuesday voters saying in exit polls they’d made up their minds on who to support in the last few days, and almost half of those voters saying they’d decided to go with Biden. He surprised with wins over Sen. Bernie Sanders in Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Texas, the second-largest state of the day. The race in California was not decided by early Wednesday morning.
Badon was among the crowd at Biden’s election night rally in Baldwin Hills with three other women who all voted for Biden. They talked to BuzzFeed News about how they arrived at their choice, telling part of the story of the Democratic primary's sudden turn.
“It was very close between the two, I was back and forth,” she said. Buttigieg’s endorsement helped, but Biden was always her number two choice, because she likes his demeanor and his experience in politics.
Debbie Mars, 63, said she’s been behind Biden since he announced, because of his “kindness and civility.”
Mars, who is black, said Biden was the candidate who came across as the most genuinely invested in black communities, a view that helped Biden to a blowout win in South Carolina this past weekend.
“As a very proud African American, many of us are very offended at being the flavor of the week. Many of the candidates are bubbling up, ‘We need the black vote; we need the black vote.’ And it makes us feel very much token. This is a very organic thing with Joe,” she said.
She looked at Biden’s track record as “a solid policymaker, decision-maker,” she said, adding that she’s not worried about the fact that he’s 77 years old and criticisms over his occasional verbal mishaps because “politics is a machine anyway — he’s going to have plenty of people around him to keep him on the straight and narrow.”
After embracing Biden as their candidate, the women turned to an animated discussion about whom, if he’s the nominee, Biden should pick as his running mate to give him the best chance of beating President Donald Trump and governing successfully.
“If you really want to bring everybody together and get Trump out, what if you had a Biden — Bernie ticket?” said Taravella.
“That’s never going to happen! That’s 140 years of wisdom between them, that’s too much. That’s too much!” said Mars, as everyone in the group burst out laughing.
“I would like Kamala. I would love her,” said Badon, referring to Sen. Kamala Harris, who ran for president until late last year.
Mars said she was turned off by Harris’s aggressive approach during some of the primary debates. She was more interested in Beto O’Rourke, another former candidate who endorsed Biden this week, as a potential VP.
“Honestly, as an African American woman, my first love would have been to support an African American woman. But the way she came across so hostile during the debates, it was a turn off for me. She pulled a Hillary,” she said. “When Hillary first went against Barack back in the day, Hillary was so condescending, and just a pit bull. It turned me off and I immediately went to Barack’s camp.”
For Badon, that trait of Harris’s was the whole reason she was drawn to her in the first place — “I love that about her,” she said. “But unfortunately, like with Hillary, America does not like strong women. So you’ve got to look on the ticket, who would be the most electable.”
But the women agreed that they would love to see Stacey Abrams, the former Georgia governor candidate, on the ticket.
Taravella added that she would like to see Michelle Obama take on the VP role.
“Michelle would run for president, okay,” said Mars.
“Trump would just keel over, right,” said Taravella.
And as for Buttigieg, the man Taravella had hoped would be the nominee — if he’s not vice president, “I would like to see him as DNC chair after everything that happened in Iowa.”
“I don’t think the country is ready for him, it’s unfortunate. We’ve got a lot of people that are closeted in the Senate, trust, but I don’t think the good old boys are going to let that happen,” Mars said.
With Sanders and Biden emerging out of Super Tuesday still seemingly locked in a tight contest, they all said they would ultimately, if begrudgingly, support Sanders if he ends up being the nominee against Trump. They’re just concerned that Sanders supporters, if the situation is reversed, wouldn’t support Biden.
“Something I really do believe, I don’t even want to put in the atmosphere that Joe doesn’t get it, but if he does not, the Democrats have to come together, the game’s over,” said Mars.
But, Taravella said, to agreement from the group, it would be a less energetic kind of support.
“If Bernie wins, I’m not jumping in with any money, I’m not volunteering. I’ll vote for him, but I don't think he’s going to be a two-term president,” she said.