Okay, What just happened? You've been kinda-sorta watching the US Democratic presidential fistfight and you thought it was still a mosh pit.
Until last week. Super-pooper Tuesday finished and suddenly it's an asthmatic polka between two old white guys who everybody has known since Moses was pulled from the reeds. Overnight it became all "Rebound King Biden!" and "Joe-mentum!" while the other players, outside of Sanders, have slithered back to Slytherin life.
• Super Tuesday: Joe Biden has the momentum to take Democrat candidacy
• Super Tuesday: Biden, Bernie brawl to shape Democratic race
• United States: Mike Bloomberg quits as resurgent Joe Biden takes Super Tuesday victories
• Super Tuesday: Bloomberg says Democrat battle may go to the convention
Hold on, Konfused Kiwis, here's my cheat sheet for the virginal deep-divers among you.
Wasn't Biden's candidacy about to be declared a dead doggie? What just happened?
Fear happened. Not enthusiasm, not passion for Biden, not sudden hatred of Bernie. The fear of Trump winning a second term against a Socialist (with a capital "Holy Crap, we're going to lose this thing") suddenly rearing its ugly head.
Sanders has built his hopes on a broad coalition of youth and minority voters. But Youth voters didn't turn out on the day. That's a problem. (You listening Kiwi Young 'Uns?)
It's not that Sanders' socialism is so personally frightening. This was a referendum about whether you believed your fellow citizens would buy Sanders Socialism en masse, or at least enough to jettison Trump. What we really saw was millions of voters raise their hand as Never-Trumpers, wrinkle their nose, then tick the box for the man they now believe can biff Trump out of the Oval Office.
I've never experienced a race where so many friends expressed their love for another candidate but ended up voting for the person they thought could beat Trump. It was like Bridget Jones actually marrying Hugh Grant instead.
Why Biden? The guy is the uncle you most dread sitting next to at family dinners
Remember normalcy? Americans are sick of shouting. If Kiwis are revolted just reading about US politics, imagine the state of emergency in our exhausted American reptilian brains seeing our country ideologically at war with each other. We miss decency. We miss "Have a nice day". We miss institutions that function. We miss truth. Badly.
We delight in the good old days when we had a president who was merely egotistical. Yes,
sometimes Biden cannot string a sentence together without spit and sellotape. We know the man has more heart than innovative policy chops, but just look at what Americans have already closed their eyes to since 2016 — and they dove in. For now.
Do Americans want revolution or evolution?2>
Ah, the billion-dollar question. Just ask Mike Bloomberg who's now going to lay that coinage in Biden's palm for the cause.
Revolution is the answer Sanders is banking on. More of the same, or a whole new chapter? After all, isn't Biden just a poor man's Obama, much like Hillary felt?
For many, Sanders represents a whole new political ideal. Is America ready to embrace the social equality we pay lip service to — or is it the messenger who is crippling the message?
What's with the momentum-mania?
Momentum has always been gold in politics. But it's always had to work hand-in-hand with an amazing organisational ground game (circa Obama in 2008) and a mountain of money. Biden had none of those things.
Until he won South Carolina. Ka-ching! The media did their happy dance. A new narrative! Fresh news = fresh views. Biden suddenly looked like a winner. This week.
That media coup was worth more than all the cash, campaigning and field offices combined. But surely that bodes badly for what campaigning may look like in the future. Is this the new normal — that the media narrative is now the entire kingmaker, especially knowing that its modis operandi is attention-deficit disorder?
Meanwhile, Biden and Sanders will go mano-a-mano in their March 15 debate. Biden bumbles versus Sanders finger-wagging. Bernie's biggest challenge isn't just about his socialist message.
For now, he has to truly convince voters that his fire and brimstone can extinguish Trump's inferno, first and foremost. Biden will have to genuinely raise his game from what has been an utterly lacklustre campaign — until now.
Who is America's next presidential hopeful? A white haired, white-skinned, 77-year-old career politician whose schtick Americans know well — or a 78-year-old one?
Right now, the answer is, the one that will beat Donald J. Trump.
• Tracey Barnett is an Kiwi-American columnist based in Auckland, now a bereft former Elizabeth Warren supporter.