Resurgent Joe Biden battles Bernie Sanders - a critical 24 hours for Democrats ahead of Super Tuesday

The battle for the Democratic presidential nomination is entering a frenzied 24-hour phase.

The party establishment is engaged in last-ditch behind-the-scenes manoeuvring to stop Senator Bernie Sanders from seizing the crown.

There is no time to waste.

On Tuesday, 14 states will vote for the nominee, including delegate-rich California and Texas.

Moderate figures in the party fear that if Senator Bernie Sanders - a self-described democratic socialist - wins the nomination, then the real victor will be President Trump in November’s election.

So they see it as critically important that Sanders’ march is slowed down immediately. In fact, many believe the future of the nation is at stake.

Their tactics are clear.

Firstly, and most importantly, boost Biden. Following the former Vice President’s success in South Carolina over the weekend that is underway. Donations and endorsements for Biden are flooding in.

Secondly, narrow the field. That is going well, too. Pete Buttigieg - the impressive former mayor from Indiana - has fallen on his sword and agreed to abandon his candidacy in the name of party unity.

Many of his voters will flow to his fellow moderate Joe Biden. At least, that’s the expectation.

The same is true of moderate Amy Klobuchar who dropped out of the race on Monday and endorsed Joe Biden.

Pete Buttigieg has fallen on his sword and quit the race. Credit: AP

Thirdly, hope that on Super Tuesday Biden can perform well enough to make it a two person race.

Biden versus Sanders. That would force out other candidates like Elizabeth Warren, especially is she fails to win in her home state of Massachusetts, where residents will vote in a primary on Super Tuesday.

But there is a problem. And it’s not one that Democratic party officials can do anything about.

Bernie Sanders is drawing huge crowds and mobilising young activists. He’s passionate, tough, energetic, determined, and with huge grassroots and financial resources .

And furious that he was denied four years ago by the Hillary Clinton establishment machine. He is ready for a fight to the finish.

Hillary Clinton denied Sanders four years ago. Credit: AP

So we are at a fascinating moment in American politics. The Republican Party has already been hijacked by an anti-establishment insurgent.

Now the Democrats are trying desperately to keep their own populist outsider at bay.

It will be touch and go.

Ultimately, Biden and Sanders may both fail to get a clear majority of delegates, and the issue of the nominee could be left unresolved until the party convention in Milwaukee over the summer.

That would be an epic mess that would have the White House salivating.

Tuesday could be decisive.

Super Tuesday may shape the fate and direction of the Democratic Party, and hence of the nation.