Democratic primary gets filtered down to final two candidates

Vermont+Sen.+Bernie+Sanders.

Courtesy of sanders.senate.gov

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

By Randle Kinswa, News Editor

There are many great American rivalries like: Ali vs. Frasier, Coke vs. Pepsi, Call of Duty vs. Battlefield, Yankees vs. Red Sox, Seinfeld vs. Friend and EWU vs. University of Montana. 

A new rivalry brewing this spring, regarding the Democratic Presidential nominee. 

Former Vice President Joe Biden vs. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. 

Brett McCoy, a political science major at EWU, said that the field has finally been narrowed down to the top two.

“It’s gone from pretty hectic to just now the two main candidates who will be battling it out for the next few months,” McCoy said.

This new rivalry will decide the Democratic nomination and who will take on President Donald Trump this November. 

Associate political science professor, Tom Hawley, said that the Democratic party does not have a strong message. 

“The most noteworthy thing for me,” Hawley said, “is the extent to which the Democratic party has no distinct identity.”

Hawley said it is hard for one figure to be the entire face and represent all of the people within the Democratic party.

“It’s really hard to have one standard bearer for a party that has a diverse approach to their platform,” Hawley said. “That is going to be one of the Democratic party’s biggest Ach.’ heels in this election … some significant percentage of the Democratice electorate is going to be dissatisfied with whoever the nominee is.”

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Photo of Bernie Sanders at a rally earlier this year. Sanders has 573 delegates, second only to Biden.

Hawley went on to say that beating Trump is more important to the DNC than actual policy.

McCoy also said that Biden or Sanders winning is not as big of a story as Trump being re-elected.

On Oct. 4th, Sanders had a heart attack. Members of his campaign staff were thoroughly questioned by the mainstream media and were asked if Sanders was healthy enough to return to the race.

The Vermont senator fell in every poll across the nation after Oct. 4. 

In national polls, Sanders fell fourth behind Biden, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Then the Iowa Caucus came.  

It seemed like Sanders was out of the race.

Sanders won 12 delegates, second only to Buttigieg’s 14.

Then, the New Hampshire primary came.

Sanders came out of New Hampshire with nine delegates, tied with Buttigieg for the most delegates allocated in New Hampshire.

“Bernie had all the momentum.” –Tom Hawley, Associate political science professor

Next was the Nevada primary where Sanders dominated, taking 24 delegates home. 

Sanders shocked the nation. 

It seemed, according to mainstream news, that Sanders would be the nominee and Biden’s third time running for the highest office in the land was coming to an end.

But the South Carolina primary would drastically change the mood of this election. 

Biden went on to dominate in South Carolina. 

Biden won 39 delegates and 48.44% of the popular vote.

Buttigieg, billionaire Hedge funder Tom Steyer and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar would all drop out of the race in the days after the South Carolina primary. This left Biden, Sanders, Warren and newspaper tycoon and former mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomburg, to battle it out on Super Tuesday.

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Former Vice President Joe Biden took a commanding lead after Super Tuesday.

Grace Riggs, an EWU student majoring in social work, said that Buttigieg and Klobuchar’s timing of dropping out of the presidential race after Biden’s dominating win in South Carolina was no mistake, and that the DNC has been working hard to undermine Sanders’s campaign.

Biden came out on top of Super Tuesday with 610 delegates. Sanders won 513, Bloomburg won 61, Warren won 52 and Congresswoman from Hawaii Tulsi Gabbard won two. 

Super Tuesday narrowed the race down to Biden and Sanders after both Warren and Bloomberg had putrid turnouts and both decided to drop out of the race.

Hawley was a bit surprised after hearing the results of Tuesday evening.

“I was surprised because Biden had been left for dead after Iowa and New Hampshire,” Hawley said. “Bernie had all the momentum … it was clear Biden was going to do better than he had been doing … but suddenly it was all about Biden.”

McCoy said he was shocked as well with how well Biden did.

“I was genuinely surprised at how well Joe Biden did.” -Brett McCoy, Political science major

“I was genuinely surprised at how well Joe Biden did,” McCoy said. “I thought (Sanders) had more momentum heading into Super Tuesday … and I thought that Biden hadn’t polled well outside of South Carolina.”

After the results of Super Tuesday, political science lecturer Karen Hartman said she thinks that Biden will win the election.

 “I’ll go with Fivethirtyeight’s prediction,” Harteman said. “I think Biden will get the nomination unless there is some dramatic unforeseen event.”

Riggs was disappointed with the election results Tuesday.

“Tuesday was disappointing because it was clear after that the (DNC) would rather have Biden over Sanders,” Riggs said.

Riggs said that the DNC does not want the best for the Democratic electorate.

“The DNC would rather keep the power of the party with the corporations and the powerful figures within the party,” Riggs said. 

Riggs said this election is less of old vs. new and more of popular vs. elite.

“They can make Biden the nominee now,” Riggs said. “But in four more years there will be another progressive candidate … Sanders may die or not run, but his ideas will not die.”

Hawley said that the DNC should back Sanders and his ideas, which correlate with the younger wing of the party and where the party is inevitably going.

On Super Tuesday Biden won big in the South and Midwest, whereas Sanders did well on the coasts.

Biden now has 664 delegates to Sanders’s 573. The magic number to clinch the nomination is 1,991. 

The dispute over who the nominee should be will be a debate that many people on this campus and in the country will have for the next several months. 

Hawley said  the DNC needs to do a better job of committing to an ideology. 

“If it is Bernie it really does change the direction of where the party is headed,” Hawley said.  “The party has not done a good job of defining itself and coming up with an identity and staying committed to it.”

Many precincts reported on Tuesday night that in California, the most populous and most liberal-leaning state in the country, only 11% of voters between 18-29 voted. 

Riggs said she was disappointed in hearing that her generation does not vote as much as they should.

“Boomers get everything they get because they vote. If millenials vote at the same rate as Boomers do … we will get whatever they want.” -Grace Riggs, EWU student

Riggs mentioned free college and healthcare for all would be a possibility if millenials would just vote. 

“People from our generation honestly think that their vote doesn’t change anything,” Riggs said. “And the more that mindset becomes popular, the more it will become true.” 

Hartman said that it is important for people of all ages to vote. 

“It is important for all voters to vote,” Hartman said. “A primary election is an election in which a vote counts more, in a sense, than in any other election …  because of the proportionality of delegate allocation … second choices do count!”

Even though Sanders caucuses with the Democratic party, he is technically an Independent and not a member of the Democratic party. 

McCoy said that a third party run by Sanders is possible.

“I think Sanders is a viable candidate,” McCoy said. “If he were to just run as a third party candidate right out of the gate … he would be the scapegoat when Biden loses to Trump.” 

McCoy also said that if Sanders decided to run as a third party in August or in early September. It could be beneficial if Biden was doing poorly in the polls and the debates. He said it could also show the DNC that they backed the wrong candidate.