Democratic Primary Update

What you should know about the candidates and the upcoming March 3 election

Democratic Primary Update

Willa Roberts, Managing Editor

Election Season Approaches

Impending presidential elections are categorized by frenzy in the media with “fake news” and exposés, ongoing debates during which the candidates try to sell the American people on their ideals for the country, and growing anxiety among voters to see who will be the next President.

This election season is no different with seemingly polarizing news stories being released every day and World War III headlines trending on Twitter from the very first day of 2020. Following Trump’s impeachment by the House of Representatives on Dec. 18, but ultimate acquittal and clearing of both impeachment charges in the Senate, it is more than likely he will be running for re-election as the 2020 Republican candidate.

The Democratic Candidates

On the other end of the spectrum, there were 28 democrats running for office at the beginning of 2019, but only nine remain as of Feb. 2020. Several democratic candidates are emerging at the forefront of voter support. These include Bernie Sanders, Vermont senator since 2007 whose politics, self-proclaimed, lean towards democratic socialism with selling points of free public college and Medicare for All, Pete Buttigieg, the previous mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who is 38 years old, an astonishing 30+ years younger than his competitors, Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts senator since 2013 who switched from the Republican party in 1996, Amy Klobuchar, senior senator from Minnesota since 2007 and member of the MN Democratic-Farmer-Labor party, and Joe Biden, the previous vice president under President Barack Obama and previous Delaware senator who claims to be the one politician who can dislodge Trump.

Whoever the Democratic candidate is revealed to be, we may see the first Jewish president, female president, or openly gay president—which would make strides in our acceptance as a nation and the representation of minorities.

The Good and the Ugly

Prior to the start of the primaries, Biden held a significant lead on many national polls likely because he is a familiar face and has the experience of a two-term vice presidency and pre-established foreign relations. The Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary, however, have highlighted the lack of voter support for Biden as election season progresses. Sanders, on the other hand, is holding strong with his grassroots-focused campaign, recently pulling ahead in Iowa polling. Sanders’ platform appeals to young voters because of his goals for a $15 minimum wage, tuition-free college, and a wipeout of the nation’s $1.6 trillion in student debt. Besides the selling points of each candidate, there are a fair share of controversies including allegations of sexual harassment by male staffers on Sanders’ 2016 campaign and claims that Biden is living in the past, compromising with segregationists, plagiarizing an important speech, and being disrespectful in his conduct toward women with accusations of sexual harassment of his own.

Primary Update

After the Iowa caucus, the first major contest of the primary season, which took place on Feb. 3, 2020, unexpected candidates took the lead. Though Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders were neck and neck for the lead as the results were gathered, Buttigieg emerged as the highest polling candidate, receiving 26.2 percent of the vote while Sanders received 26.1 percent. The Associated Press has not declared an official winner due to possible errors and inconsistencies which are currently being investigated. Following closely after, Elizabeth Warren received 18 percent of the vote, and Joe Biden earned 15.8 percent of the vote. Historically, there has only been one instance of someone placing after 3rd in the Iowa Caucus and still going on to win a party’s nomination—John McCain in 2008. Although the Iowa Caucus doesn’t account for the representation of the nation as a whole, it has proven to be a strong indicator of how the candidates will perform as the election season progresses.

The New Hampshire primary on Feb. 11 resulted in Bernie Sanders taking the lead with 25.7 percent of the votes, followed by Buttigieg with 24.4 percent, Amy Klobuchar with 19.8 percent and Elizabeth Warren with 9.2 percent. Though the results differ among the two primaries that have happened thus far, Buttigieg and Sanders remain the frontrunners.