The spectacular collapse of Joe Biden as the Democrats’ front-runner

MANCHESTER, N.H. — He was once the presumptive Democratic nominee, but on Tuesday, Joe Biden fled New Hampshire with his tail between his legs — and headed to South Carolina, where he watched his dismal results come in.

Sensing a humiliating defeat in the Granite State, Biden’s team announced the former vice president was throwing in the towel before the polls had even closed, spending Tuesday evening at a campaign launch party in Columbia, SC, about 1,000 miles away.

Biden ended up placing fifth in New Hampshire, capturing less than 9 percent of the vote and none of the state’s pledged delegates.

Despite the potentially disastrous showing, Biden rallied with supporters in South Carolina, insisting the first two states in the primary season are not bellwethers.

“Tonight, though, we just heard from the first two of 50 states. Just two,” Biden said. “It ain’t over, man. We’re just getting started.”

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Political experts, however, saw a campaign with little to offer new voters.

“It’s never a good sign when you leave a primary before the results are in,” said University of Southern California political scientist Robert Shrum, who managed Democrats Al Gore’s and John Kerry’s White House campaigns.

“It’s probably not a good message to people who might be inclined to vote for him, but on the other hand, [Biden’s team is] anticipating a mediocre result.”

Biden started out as the untouchable front-runner when he entered the presidential race in April 2019, but 10 months later, he is engaged in a battle for his political survival after a devastating fourth-place finish in the Iowa caucuses.

Political experts said the 77-year-old Biden’s campaign has been dealt repeated blows by poor debate performances, his family’s ties to the Ukraine scandal, cringe-worthy gaffes, low-energy events and a lackluster ground game in early states.

University of Iowa political science professor Timothy Hagle said that at least one of his colleagues was turned off by Biden because of the “whole Hunter thing” — referring to Hunter Biden’s controversial and lucrative stint on the board of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma while his then-veep dad was in charge of US policy on Kiev.

“A lot of Democrats, their main issue is they want someone who can beat Trump,” Hagle told The Post.

“They thought it was a weakness in the general election that Trump could go after,” the professor added, referring to the Hunter debacle, which was amplified during the House impeachment hearings and Senate acquittal of President Trump.

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