With Iowa on the horizon, the Democratic primary gets aggressive as the field narrows
With only six candidates allowed to participate in the last debate, the Democratic primary has been leading up to the pivotal Iowa caucus, the make or break moment for many campaigns.
The only constant leaders of polling for Iowa have been Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Joe Biden, with a Jan. 10 poll with Sanders in the lead by three points and a Jan. 13 poll with Biden in the lead by six points.
Now, Iowa is only one state with a small amount of delegates, but the winners of this state have usually gone on to win the rest of the race. For example, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, John Kerry, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton won in Iowa, and then they proceeded to win the nomination.
It does seem that due to the massive rally turnouts and large volunteer base, Sanders may have a chance to win the caucus, but we will never really know until the nomination.
This past Wednesday another debate was held, although only half of the candidates in the race were allowed to participate. It was lively to say the least with topics ranging from the war in Iran to Medicare for all, but a ever-present bias could be felt.
While candidates were never asked how they would pay to continue to boost the enormous military budget, Sanders was asked, “How would you keep your plans from bankrupting the country?” Sanders was also compared to Iran’s Ayatollah due to his belief that military forces should be pulled out of the middle east, which felt more like a way to imply Sanders siding with Iran’s leaders rather than the pacifist belief it is.
One of Sanders strongest issues, climate change, was also glossed over, and it was reduced to questions of how to help displaced Iowans and what to do about Trump rolling back previous environmental standards.
The issues of transportation and energy were completely ignored, and the climate crisis was quickly swept under the rug so that CNN could ask candidates if they thought they could beat Donald Trump.
Sanders has also been in controversy lately over a private meeting he had with Sen. Elizabeth Warren in 2018, where anonymous sources not present at the meeting said that Sanders believed “a woman could not be president.”
While Warren doubled down on this statement, it is incomprehensible that a man who has been on record multiple times supporting women in office would make a statement like that. Sanders also approached Warren in 2015 to ask her to run for president, and he only ran once she declined.
During the debate, he was asked about this comment, which he denied ever having stated. Warren was asked “how she felt when Sanders told her a woman could not be president.”
However, this whole controversy has seemed to only hurt Warren, as Sanders gained $1.7 million in donations by the end of the debate, and his campaign benefited from 43 percent of donations on Actblue, the main fundraising tool for campaigns.
One of the notable absences of the debate on Tuesday was Andrew Yang, known for his universal basic income plan and underground support. Yang has been one of the paradoxes of the primary, as he has small democratic support, but he has large amounts of grassroots donors and independent support.
Yang has stood out in this primary as a non-combative, forward-looking candidate who manages to garner both conservative and progressive support. While it does not seem like he will end up winning the primary, his massive show-de-force will earn him a cabinet seat or even the vice presidency for sure.
With the primary getting smaller and smaller each day, it seems like the few that will make it to the end will be Sanders, Biden and Mayor Pete Buttigeig. Biden has been able to consistently come in first for polls, Buttgieg has had a meteoric rise with a wide spread of endorsements and Sanders has had the largest grassroots donation base in American history.
While it may be disappointing to see the lack of diversity in frontrunners year after year, at least we have the chance of having either the first Jewish or first gay president of the United States.
However, this primary has been inconsistent to say the least, and it would be unsafe to truly place all bets on one candidate alone.
~Noah Farrell, Staff Writer~