“I’ll forever have respect and love for Senator Reid,” Mr. Shakir said. “But I’m old enough to remember when he thought Biden’s ideas were worthy of being put in a fireplace.”
Democratic officials say that Mr. Reid has been helpful in rallying support behind Mr. Biden, and has quietly talked a handful of the now-former candidates. In a telephone interview Monday night, Mr. Reid acknowledged speaking with Ms. Klobuchar earlier in the day, before she dropped out. And while he insisted she was already planning to withdraw from the race when they talked, Mr. Reid acknowledged he has been working behind the scenes.
“I do my best,” he said. “We need less confusion about who we’re all for.”
So far, Mr. Sanders has made few concessions, or even gestures of conciliation, toward the Democratic Party establishment he is aiming to displace, and if Mr. Biden does manage to slow or halt his ascent on Tuesday, it could be seen in part as a function of just how little Mr. Sanders has done to assuage moderates’ anxiety about his campaign.
After a triumphant win in the Nevada caucuses late last month, Mr. Sanders delivered a victory speech in Texas that sounded like a plea for unity. But he then spent much of the next week defending his own provocative pronouncements, including his past praise for the Cuban government, and making a doomed attempt to undercut Mr. Biden in his stronghold of South Carolina. And he spent valuable time campaigning in Ms. Warren’s Massachusetts and Ms. Klobuchar’s Minnesota to try to beat them on their home turf — a gamble that could have unpredictable consequences, given Ms. Klobuchar’s decision to leave the race.
Ms. Warren has shown no sign of yielding to Mr. Sanders, and on Monday she collected an endorsement from Emily’s List, the national Democratic women’s group. Her campaign has laid out a plan to amass delegates, state by state, until the nomination is decided at a contested convention — a risky strategy, and one that could significantly complicate Mr. Sanders’s hopes of building a rock-solid coalition of support on the left.
Over the weekend, Ms. Klobuchar’s political allies were split about whether she should press on, with some arguing that she should compete through Tuesday because she would probably carry Minnesota and deny Mr. Sanders the opportunity to harvest a large number of delegates there. In her own internal polling, Ms. Klobuchar held a 13-point lead over Mr. Sanders, who was in second place with a narrow lead over Mr. Biden, according to a copy of the poll reviewed by The Times.
But after Mr. Biden bested Mr. Sanders in South Carolina by nearly 29 percentage points — and outdistancing Ms. Klobuchar and Mr. Buttigieg by an even more towering margin — Ms. Klobuchar began to deliberate with her advisers about whether it made sense to continue in the race even until March 3, according to people familiar with the conversations, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.