By Ken Barlow
The Democratic presidential primary race has no clear nominee. The party and many candidates have stated that their goal is to defeat President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election, but this could be difficult since there is no candidate dominating the democratic primary elections.
Before the caucus and primary elections former Vice President Joe Biden was favored to win the Democratic nomination but is currently fifth in delegates. Biden announced his campaign on April 25th. Many believed that Biden would be the best candidate to defeat Trump. His electability was appealing and one of the reasons he was the leading candidate going into late January. However, after the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary election, Biden has fallen 11 points in polls conducted by ABC News and The Washington Post.
Currently, Sen. Bernie Sanders is leading the race for the nomination. ABC News and The Washington Post report that Sanders has increased in polls by 8% since Jan. 23. Sanders currently holds 21 delegates, second to Pete Buttigieg’s 22 delegates.
Sanders is a self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist and even considers his ideas radical to Americans. His focus has been on his “Medicare For All” proposal, which is a single-payer health insurance plan that would be provided to all Americans. In addition, his proposal includes no premiums, deductibles or copays. Sanders’ also wants to make college tuition-free and to curtail the influence of billionaires.
Former mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg is also surging up polls. In a poll conducted between Feb. 13-16 by NPR and PBS Newshour, Bloomberg held 19% of Democratic support. This was enough to qualify him for the Nevada primary election debate on Wednesday.
According to Business Insider, as of February 18th, the Bloomberg campaign had spent $338.7 million in advertisements. This broke the presidential advertisement spending record held by former President Barack Obama in 2012. According to FiveThirtyEight, Bloomberg has been paying for almost 60% of all presidential advertisements. Trump has spent close to $16 million and Tom Steyer is second in spending on advertisements at an estimated $136 million.
Bloomberg’s campaign is focused on equal opportunity for all. According to his campaign website, Bloomberg has emphasized rebuilding the middle class and bringing everybody along with it through “equal rights, opportunities, and justice.” In addition, Bloomberg has been a long-time advocate for increasing gun control regulations.
Current delegate leader and former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Buttigieg is a moderate-left candidate. Buttigieg differentiates himself as a young person wishing to help America tackle issues millennials face. Buttigieg recently shared in an interview with Edward- Isaac Dovere of The Atlantic that he was running to help represent this new generation that is facing issues older generations have never dealt with.
“If you’re my age or younger, you were in high school when the school shootings became widespread; you’re going to be dealing with climate change for most of your adult life in specific, noticeable ways,” Buttigieg said. “It just gives you a very different relationship to
political decision makers and decision making.”
Buttigieg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar gained a combined 15 delegates in New Hampshire. The presence of Klobuchar has hurt Buttigieg and likely hindered the number of delegates he would have received, since they are both moderate-left candidates. This has benefited Sanders.
According to a tweet from Michigan State University political scientist Matt Grossmann, “Bernie won & both his main national competitor (Biden) & his ideological faction competitor (Warren) lost badly. But field remains too muddled for him to see full assault. All good for Bernie.”
Biden’s decrease in voters has also left speculation to where this support is going. University of Virginia and Center for Politics writers Kyle Kondik and J. Miles Coleman note that over the last month Bloomberg went up 7.5 points in the FiveThirtyEight national polls and Biden dropped 7.5 points.
“The field is so fractured and fluid that it would be wrong to suggest Bloomberg is siphoning all his newfound support from former Biden supporters, but it’s also not a total coincidence,” wrote Kondik and Coleman.
Kondik and Coleman also noted that Bloomberg has increased in black voter support in polling and Biden has seen a slip in this demographic.
Others have also noticed the dip in Biden’s support from black people and voters overall. Politico reported a statement from Quentin James, the leader of a political PAC that backs black candidates.
“A big reason lots of black voters were with Biden is they thought he was the best person to beat Trump,” James said. “And they thought one reason for that is that he had the support of white voters. Now they see he has done so poorly with white voters and he no longer looks like the electability candidate.”
Even with a strong start, Sanders is still likely to be contested. His advantage stems from his early lead along with Buttigieg and that nominations are being split among the moderate-left candidates.
The next states, Nevada and South Carolina, are diverse voting states, and in the New Hampshire primary election, center-left candidates received more support than progressive and further left candidates. There is no strong candidate leading this race.