Charleston, South Carolina (CNN)Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said she wouldn’t step aside before the Democratic convention if none of her presidential rivals reach the number of delegates required to clinch the party’s nomination before then.
It was the biggest headline in a marathon night of town halls from South Carolina. Over four hours, former Vice President Joe Biden displayed his ability to make deep connections over faith. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave his clearest answer yet on stop-and-frisk policing. And Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar expanded her definition of the Midwest.
The candidates also weighed in on President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus.
Here are five takeaways from the second night of CNN town halls in South Carolina:
Warren said she’s willing to take her presidential campaign to the convention this summer if none of the candidates clinch a winning delegate majority during the primary.
According to party rules, if none of the candidates reach that number, Democratic superdelegates — who are not elected — would get to vote on a second ballot. That could create an awkward — and potentially contentious — floor fight as candidates jockey to win over those unbound delegates.
Asked by an audience member why the person who gets the most votes shouldn’t be awarded the nomination, Warren said that the rules set a higher bar — and she would be open to fighting to the last.
She also suggested that Bernie Sanders’ argument that a candidate with a plurality should be declared the nominee was inconsistent with what his campaign publicly argued in 2016, when he was losing to Hillary Clinton. Then, the Sanders campaign argued that a candidate who won the most delegates shouldn’t necessarily win the nomination if he or she didn’t reach a majority.
In the aftermath of that primary, in which the superdelegates overwhelmingly backed Clinton, Sanders and others struck a deal to dilute their power. Unlike four years ago, they will only be able to vote on a second ballot in 2020.
“The way I see this is, you write the rules before you know where everybody stands. And then you stick with those rules. So for me, Bernie had a big hand in writing these rules. I didn’t write them,” Warren said.
Biden reminded voters on Wednesday what made him a beloved figure in the Democratic Party.
Biden, with tears in his eyes, connected with a pastor whose wife was killed in the 2015 Charleston church shooting by reflecting on the repeated tragedies that have impacted his life, including the death of his wife and daughter in 1972 and the death of his son Beau in 2015.
“I kind of know what it’s like to lose family. And my heart goes out to you,” Biden said, his eyes welling.
The answer showcased Biden’s ability to connect with voters on an emotional level, a skill that even the former vice president’s fiercest critics often commend.
Biden recalled how he came back to Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the site of the shooting that killed nine people in 2015, the Sunday after the shooting “because I had just lost my son and I wanted some hope.”
“I don’t know how you’ve dealt with it, reverend, but the way I’ve been able to deal with when my wife was killed and my daughter was killed and my son died, I’ve only been able to deal with it by realizing they’re part of my being,” Biden said. “My son, Beau, was my soul.”
South Carolina is central to Biden’s campaign and he needs a good showing here to propel his campaign.
But on Wednesday night, Biden’s answer was about more than just elec