March Democratic Presidential Primaries

by Steph Gratiano


March 25, 2020

As of March 23, twenty-seven states have had their presidential primaries, and what was formerly a largely divided race has narrowed down to two frontrunners. Since the results of Super Tuesday, the day on which the most states hold primaries, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, and Senator Elizabeth Warren have all suspended their presidential campaigns, with Bloomberg and Gabbard following the pattern of most Democratic drop-outs and endorsing former Vice President Joe Biden. The race is now officially a two-person faceoff between moderate favorite Biden and progressive candidate Senator Bernie Sanders. 

Super Tuesday saw a victory for Biden in both state and delegate count. The former Vice President earned 445 delegates and ten states, compared to Sanders’ 279 delegates and five states. This pattern of victory hasn’t faltered in the elections since. The March 10 primaries yielded victory for Biden in all states but one, North Dakota, which went to Sanders. All states that voted last week went to Biden. Biden now has 1,215 delegates, while Sanders has 909, numbers that have caused mixed emotions in our community. 

“Right now, it looks like Biden is holding [onto] that lead, and I don’t think it’s changing anytime soon,” Milo Simpson ’20 said, but when asked whether he believes Sanders should drop out, continued, “I don’t think it matters too much at this point — the important part is that, if he loses, he directs his supporters to rally behind whoever the nominee is. Last time a lot of [people] who were gonna vote for Bernie swung the other way with Trump, because they hated Hillary, and that’s what cost her the election even [though] her policies were the next best thing.” Another Sanders supporter, Anna Dzhitenov ‘20, doesn’t believe Sanders will be getting the nomination either, but supports Sanders because “a lot of my friends who rely on healthcare would get screwed by Biden.” Many members of the BUA community seem to feel similarly: in an informal Instagram poll, 72% of participants said they supported Sanders, despite 94% thinking that Biden would be the Democratic nominee. 

“You never want to declare victory until you officially cross 1,991 delegates,” Friedrich Liu ‘21, an enthusiastic Biden supporter, said. Still, he thinks that Biden has “a very good chance at winning, and should start working with Bernie to bring the party together.” When asked whether he thinks it’s time for Sanders to follow the other hopefuls on the way out, he replied in the affirmative, adding, “The best gift for Donald Trump would be for the Democrats to get into a food fight, while he trains his fire on the presumptive nominee.” 

Other Biden supporters are on the former Vice President’s side only out of necessity. Sonya Poznansky ’20 describes herself as “a relatively reluctant Biden supporter.” Averse to both a Trump and Sanders presidency, the former supporter of entrepreneur Andrew Yang and Mayor Pete Buttigieg has turned to the Democratic favorite by process of elimination. “I think [Sanders is] only further polarizing an already very strongly divided country. I sometimes say that it’s sometimes much easier to me to be accepted by Republicans than Democrats, since it’s often the case that Republicans will be eager to have another vote on their side even if there’s only agreement on one issue, whereas I could agree with 98% of Bernie’s platform and disagree on 2% and be attacked for it, instead of being welcomed for the things we agree about. And I think that’s why a Trump v. Bernie race will be very, very dangerous.”

The coronavirus pandemic has caused some states to delay their primaries, including Ohio, which announced its decision to postpone its primary to June mere hours before its intended March 17 polling date. On March 29, Puerto Rico is still planning to vote, followed on April 4 by Alaska, Hawaii, and Wyoming.

Almukhtar, Sarah, and Lauren Leatherby. “Democratic Delegate Count and Primary Election Results 2020.” New York Times, last updated March 25, 2020.

Corasaniti, Nick and Stephanie Saul. “2020 Democratic Primary Election: Voting Postponed in 10 States and Territories.” New York Times, March 25, 2020.

Ceron, Ella. “Everything You Need to Know Aabout Who Dropped Out of the 2020 Presidential Race.” MTV News, March 19, 2020.

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