Here’s What You Need To Know About The U.S. Democratic Primary Right Now

05.11.19

As of today, we are a little over two weeks away from the next Democratic Primary debate. And as of yesterday, we are one year away from the United States 2020 election. November 3rd, 2020. Wild.

It probably feels like this election has been going on for three years, but the reality is it’s only just getting started and the next few months will be the most significant yet in terms of revealing who the Democratic nomination is likely to be. With all that being said, there’s a few things to catch you up on:

Most recently, Beto bowed out. After failing to gain any real momentum or average more than 2% in national polling, O’Rourke announced in a statement posted to Medium on Friday that his “service to the country will not be as a candidate or as the nominee.”  Adding, “Though it is difficult to accept, it is clear to me now that this campaign does not have the means to move forward successfully.” 

Meanwhile, Buttigieg has soared. The mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who the media initially believed had no clear path to the nomination, has continued to surprise and eclipse other candidates and, in recent weeks, has started polling at 10%, up from 6% in August. That’s huge for a guy who’s last name people only recently learned how to pronounce. Mayor Pete delivered a powerful and hugely optimistic speech at a Democratic dinner in Iowa on Friday that only further intensified the buzz around his campaign.

Former Vice President Joe Biden is still holding a slight polling edge above Warren and Sanders – but only just – and continues to have fundraising problems. Biden only pulled in $15.7 million in the third quarter – well behind that of Sanders, Warren or Buttigieg, and his inability to raise money highlights his problem with appealing to grassroots donors and small-dollar donors like those who are fuelling his competitors campaigns. It’s also worth noting that most of Biden’s strong polling is a result of name recognition; don’t forget that the majority of American voters don’t pay as close attention to the news as we do (they usually start engaging at the beginning of election year), and therefore when asked who they’re most likely to vote for they say the candidate who they know best – which is Biden. His support is based on familiarity, affection and respect. 

Another candidate having big money problems is Kamala Harris, and she’s in a much worse position than Biden because she has yet to enter the top-tier of candidates in national polling. Harris’s team recently announced that they’ve had to cut salaries, reduce staff size at their headquarters in Baltimore and re-distribute those funds to Harris’ plan to campaign in Iowa (where the first caucuses will be held on February 3rd, 2020). Speaking of Iowa, more candidates like Beto are likely to drop out of the race in the next few months as we inch closer to the Iowa caucuses, and then on February 3rd another round of candidates will also decided whether to stay in the race or cut their losses. It’s also entirely possible that a candidate who hasn’t been polling in the “top three”, like Harris or Buttigieg, will exceed expectations in Iowa and see a surge in media attention and donations (this is exactly what happened to Barack Obama in ’08). Basically, anything could happen.

And lastly, Warren has finally laid out the details for her healthcare plan; a $20.5 trillion plan that would impose huge tax increases on businesses and billionaires but wouldn’t raise taxes on the middle class. Bernie bounced back into the race on October 19th, a mere three weeks after a heart attack landed him in hospital, with a rally in New York City where he pledged to resume at full throttle his battle against the business and political establishment. Sanders has also officially received the enviable double endorsement of Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar, as well as the endorsement of liberal filmmaker and activist Michael Moore. His fans continue to adore him and there’s a really good episode of The Daily called “The Zeal of Bernie Sanders Supporters” which is worth a listen.


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