The moment of truth is here. Perhaps the most significant moment to define the political landscape of the free world for the next decade. The American people will be casting their votes in 15 states around the country to decide who will be running against Donald Trump in the race to become President of the United States.
For those who are confused by America’s complicated electoral college system and the primary process, Super Tuesday is the biggest election day in the election primaries, with the people of Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and Virginia all taking to the voting stations to support their preferred candidates. What’s also significant is that there will be 1,357 of the 3,979 pledged delegates up for grabs today, meaning that the candidate who wins big today will more than likely have a clear path to the Democratic nomination (although, in Bernie Sanders’ case, it will be less straightforward – but we’ll get to this later). Most pertinently, the two most populated states in the country, California and Texas, have 415 and 228 delegates up for grabs, respectively. So, there are some incredibly important elections coming up and the candidates in the running have pooled a lot of resources into mobilizing their support in each state. More interestingly, however, there have been some significant developments in this race that have become part of the conversation in the last week, following the results in the early states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. So, let’s take a look at the candidates in the running.
Policy positions: Far-left
Polling (nationally): 1st (27.5%)*
US Senator (Independent-Vermont)
[2007 – present]
Member of Congress
[1991 – 2007]
Mayor of Burlington (Independent) [1981-1989]
Not me. Us.
Obviously I’m a Bernie fan, so you can take what I say with a pinch of salt. If there ever was a good politician, an honest politician or a politician so hated by every Special Interest Group that you can imagine, I haven’t heard of one within the 21st Century. I think he’s going to be making history and will be seen as an iconic political leader akin to Nelson Mandela one day. He’s got it all. He champions free healthcare, climate change action, legalizing marijuana, regulating Wall Street and has the track record to prove that he’ll tackle all of these issues as president. He’s the longest serving Independent in the US Senate EVER, as the Senator for Vermont, and has been rallying behind the same causes now as he did almost 40 years ago, when he was the Mayor of Burlington in the 80s. Bernie straight up refuses corporate donations and basically crowdfunds his campaigns. Literally millions of people donate to his campaign. And that’s why you might have seen a meme circulating that looks like this:
He raised $46.5 million in February, which was almost double what Joe Biden accumulated for the same month. Except, Bernie’s funding came from 2.2 million donations, averaging just $20 dollars per donation. He’s had roughly 350,000 individual donars, compared to the handful of billionaires donating to his opponents’ campaigns. Sanders is accountable to the people, not elites. That’s why you’ll undoubtedly see mainstream media elites condemn him as a socialist and why everyone is now running just to keep Bernie from winning. Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Senator Amy Klobuchar have both recently dropped out and endorsed Joe Biden on the eve of Super Tuesday (we’ll call this day Monday from now on). Everyone is falling so far behind him, with the American people all voting him in first or second place for every primary so far. He’s the first candidate ever to win the popular vote in all of the first three states and now it appears that he will not be getting the nomination unless he wins more than 50% of the pledged delegates around the country (1990 out of 3,979), because ‘only’ having more votes than the other candidates won’t be enough to get through the convention where Super-delegates enter the fray on what’s known as “the second ballot” (another intricacy in America’s electoral college system and the Democratic Party nomination process).
Should Bernie win over more than 50% of the American people, even if every super-delegate pledged themselves to another candidate, he’d win the nomination and face off against Donald Trump in the General election. This was how he lost out to Hillary Clinton in 2016, except that Superdelegates were in the first ballot in that convention. It’s still possible that Sanders wins on a plurality either way, but he’s so hated by the establishment that it seems unlikely if it does come down to a contested Democratic National Convention. The potentially catastrophic result of this could be re-election for Donald Trump, because a contested convention where Sanders doesn’t win could destroy the Democratic Party. And right now, Sanders outperforms Trump in every major poll around the country and the people would not respond well to a clear breach of democracy if the candidate with the most votes doesn’t win the nomination, or to a candidate that is more like Hillary Clinton, who lost to Donald Trump.
Super Tuesday will be huge for Sanders, because if he can accumulate delegates at the same rate as he already has been raking them up, the nomination, through an outright majority, could be his.
Policy positions: Centre-left
Polling (nationally): 2nd (21.3%)*
Joe Biden, like Bernie Sanders, has been around forever. He easily has the most name recognition among your everyday American voter, as the man who served as Vice-President under Barrack Obama. After three and a bit years of Donald Trump, most Democrat voters hold a soft-spot for Biden as they nostalgically reminisce about what the presidency looked like before Trump took office. Biden is exceptionally popular among older, black voters, as proven by his devastating victory in South Carolina on Saturday, where he won a staggering 48.4% of the popular vote and 39 of the 54 delegates available. Biden represents America’s best candidate to take America back to the way things were before Trump, with his moderate approach to policy. However, unlike Sanders, his long, long history as a politician is far more chequered. He was a supporter of the Iraq War and was a driving force behind the Crime Bill that has destroyed the country’s criminal justice system and he also played a massive role in passing the Bankruptcy Bill that has hampered the economic wealth of vast numbers of Americans that fell victim to the 2007/08 global financial crisis. There are various other political miscalculations in the past, such as his opposition to desegregated busing, which was an effort to reduce racial segregation in schools.
Besides his record, Biden is also showing some serious signs of mental deterioration and has frequently been caught slurring his words, making outright false statements and genuinely doesn’t look like he’s fit for office. He’s not the oldest candidate in the race, but it does seem that he’s been hit the hardest by decades of involvement in the US political scene.
Biden was the favourite to win the nomination for the whole of 2019 and only fell behind Sanders in January, after the majority of the debates had other candidates focusing their attacks on him and his policy history. However, haven fallen behind, his campaign was underestimated going into South Carolina, where he campaigned heavily. And now, after his huge victory in the first state that really represented the racial and class demographics in America as a whole, Biden has been handed a major boost ahead of today’s primaries. And with his campaign reignited, Biden definitely seems to have what it takes to run all the way into the convention. Especially after Klobuchar and Buttigieg’s drop-outs and endorsements, he is the clear first choice for moderates and has a real chance of being the candidate that takes on Trump.
Policy positions: Right
Polling (nationally): 3rd (15%)*
Mayor of New York City (Republican)
I’ve already written at some length about why Michael Bloomberg is the worst choice for the nomination and it’s simply because he’s just like Donald Trump. Bloomberg is a former mayor that outlawed feeding the homeless in New York and supported increases in stop-and-frisk police practices exclusively towards young black males. He’s bought his way through the campaign trail and will actually appear on the ballots for the first time today, because he couldn’t have been bothered to fight for delegates in the early states, so sat them out. However, he has gained some support as a successful businessman. He has a net worth of $55.5 billion and has already pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into positive media coverage in crucial states. Even though most people are seeing through the fact that he’s an oligarch looking to buy the presidency, he has still garnered a lot of support and could easily pick up a sizeable amount of delegates today, boosting his already decent level of support.
Policy positions: Left
Polling (nationally): 4th (14%)*
Elizabeth Warren has had the most tragic character arc over course of the Democratic race so far. Warren has been a favoured politician for the working class for the entirety of her career, having been an early supporter of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and she was named as a Special Advisor to it by Barrack Obama. She extracted $12 billion for refunds and canceled debts for 29 million American consumers in response to the Financial Crisis and was pleaded with to run for president in 2016. Among those who wanted her to run was Bernie Sanders and it was only upon her decline that he chose to run himself. Warren remains a popular member of the US Senate, despite some questionable decisions, including her support for Trump’s military budget proposals.
She then announced her candidacy for the democratic nomination at the beginning of 2019 and began by supporting several far-left policies much like Bernie Sanders, including her endorsement for his Medicare-for-All healthcare plan. By June, Warren was placing second behind Biden and ahead of Sanders in the polls and managed to steadily climb to the point where she had taken a lead in the Iowa polls in September. By October she had a lead of 28% to Biden’s 21%, with Sanders, who she seemed to team up with in policy proposals on the debate stages, lagging behind at 15%.
Things started to turn pear-shaped when Kamala Harris dropped out of the race and Warren’s campaign took on the California Senator’s staffers, along with former Obama staffers. Warren’s policy stance started to change, she backed-up on her support for Medicare-for-All, opting for a more modest healthcare proposal. By January, Warren was polling below 15% and she directed her strategy at attacking the Sanders campaign by accusing him of being a secret sexist, which the American public simply did not buy and saw as a desperate, underhand move on the most progressive candidate in the race.
Now at 14%, Warren’s campaign knows that they are unlikely to win by votes or delegates and are rather holding out for a contested Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee. So, effectively, she’s hoping to win the nomination on a technicality, rather than through the democratic process and, even if it comes down to that, there’s no doubt that the establishment would prefer both Biden and Bloomberg over her and her history of leftist policies. And, even if she did win the nomination, her reputation, along with the party’s would be destroyed and Trump would win by a landslide.
It’s a real pity that Warren lacked the political instincts to realize that her early support for the progressive policies that are growing increasingly popular among the American public led to the best moments of her campaign, while her shift to a centrist approach led to its downfall and her shady attempt at playing identity politics led to its eventual death. Now she’s hanging on, refusing to drop out in the hope of a despotic triumph through manipulating the system. Warren is even unlikely to win in her home state of Massachusetts today, with Sanders crushing her in all but one poll in the state.
In the early stages of the primaries, there were literally dozens of candidates running for the nomination and, while the earliest dropouts like Marianne Williamson, Kamala Harris, Julian Castro, Andrew Yang, Michael Bennet and other departures from the race were somewhat insignificant, Pete Buttigieg, Tom Steyer and Amy Klobuchar suspending their campaigns was not. Both had accumulated supporters who may not have taken them all the way, but who those supporters vote for now that both are out of the running is a different story. In terms of ideology, it seems likely that the voters will migrate to the candidate both are endorsing, Biden. However, that may not be the case as some voters don’t see themselves following a particular brand of politics and simply vote for a candidate that they seem to like. So, whichever way it goes, the changing dynamics will be critical and the timing of the drop-outs – hours before Super Tuesday begins – will play a major deciding role in what happens today. And if or when some of the remaining candidates leave the race, it will play a major role in determining the result of this primary and the future of America.
Join the Essential Millennial team on our Twitter page from 09:00 EST (GMT-5) [16:00 GMT+2] for our Live Tweet coverage of #SuperTuesday to keep up to date with all of the latest developments.
*polling data taken from RealClearPolitics on 03/03/20.