Leadup to 2020 primary election intensifies

Ian Streeter ‘20, Social Media Manager

Tensions for the primary elections for the President of the United States are reaching their greatest heights right nownot within the Republican Party, since Donald Trump has the Republican primaries on lock due to being the incumbent and having a huge supporter base; the real tension comes from within the Democratic Party.

The current national frontrunners for the Democratic nominee are Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren. National polling data over the past few months suggests a surge for Sanders, stagnation for Biden, and a downturn for Warren. Biden’s role as Barack Obama’s vice president from 2008 to 2016 is undoubtedly a contributing factor to his consistently strong poll numbers, as well as his desire to keep the Democratic Party more moderate, a promise that will most likely appeal to older voters and lifelong Democrats who feel betrayed by the party they love continuing to go further and further left, as can be seen by some of the policies proposed by Sanders and Warren. 

Though Sanders and Warren share many of the same goals and face many of the same criticisms, tensions have been brewing between the two. Warren has recently accused the Sanders campaign of sending volunteers out to read a script describing Warren’s base as “highly-educated, more affluent people”. The Sanders campaign has confirmed official ownership of the script, though it is unclear whether its intended use was for phone canvassing or for going door-to-door. Warren described the aforementioned comments made in the document as “[Sanders …] sending his volunteers out to trash [her]” and expressed hope that the Sanders campaign would shift its gears into a more positive direction after this incident. She also accused Sanders of saying in a 2018 private meeting that a woman could not win the Presidency against Donald Trump. Warren and Sanders discussed this at the Democratic debates in January, with Warren reaffirming her statement about what Sanders said and Sanders denying it while using feminist statements he made about women running for president from decades ago as evidence. 

Current candidates are not the only political figures in the limelight. 2008 and 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton seems to be making her way back into the news cycle with the release of her new documentary, Hillary, in which on top of further explaining the role of sexism in politics and her campaign, she makes several disparaging remarks against Bernie Sanders, stating that “nobody likes him”, that he did not do enough work in the 2016 election to unite Democrats, and that she is undecided about whether or not she will support him if he wins the Democratic nomination. 

Clinton was recently booed by Michigan congresswoman Rashida Tlaib at a rally for her attacks against Sanders, who Tlaib is endorsing and campaigning for as part of the primary election. Though Tlaib did apologize for doing so, her actions have caused notable controversy within the Democratic Party, with some people seeing her behavior as unprofessional and divisive and her apology as hollow while others see them as justifiable pushbacks to Clinton’s attacks which they see as unfounded.

Notable primary events that have taken place so far are the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 3 and the New Hampshire primary on Feb. 11. A caucus is a type of primary event in which opposed to the standard format where voters go to polls and cast their ballots and party members and leaders meet to select candidates and elect convention delegates. Iowa, Nevada, and North Dakota, Maine, Kansas, and Wyoming are the current states that use caucuses. 

The Iowa caucus was the subject of many controversies, including the uses of coin flips from delegates to determine the winner, the delay of results past election day, and the discrepancy between Sanders being ahead in the popular vote and Buttigieg having more state delegate equivalents. Said discrepancy led some Sanders supporters to think the Democratic National Convention was rigging the election.

The Democratic and Republican primaries for the state of Michigan take place on March 10 and the deadline for registration is Feb. 24, so make sure to do whatever you can in your power as a resident of South Lyon and a citizen of the United States to do your research and vote for whichever candidate you believe will do the best job for America.

 

Photo courtesy of The New York Times

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