What does Pete Buttigeig's drop out mean for the Democratic primaries?
Pete Buttigeig, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana made the shocking decision to give up on his presidential campaign. He didn’t perform very well in South Carolina, as expected. South Carolina does have a large African American population, a demographic with which Buttigeig seemed to struggle over the course of his campaign.
Despite being Catholic, Buttigeig’s homosexuality has caused him some issues with the Catholic community. South Carolina has historically been a very religious state and that hindered Pete’s campaign quite a lot. Despite being one of the moderate candidates, Buttigeig’s ideas were fairly progressive when all is considered and he seemed to be well received, especially in the Midwest.
The reality is that such a young figure is probably not aiming to win the nomination on his first try, but merely to get his name out there. This campaign has certainly served to do that, bringing Buttigeig not only fame in the United States, but around the world.
WHAT DOES THE DROP OUT MEAN FOR PETE BUTTIGEIG?
Well, it means that he can continue building a brand for himself and possibly latch himself onto another candidate with the possibility of becoming Vice President in future. That’s not a bad thing at all and in reality this was probably one of the best outcomes that Pete could have hoped for.
There are a lot of things that went right for Pete throughout the campaign and it would be thoroughly surprising if he doesn’t mount another bid for presidency in 2024 after spending some time building his brand. It’s a good idea to remember that before 2016, Bernie Sanders was a relatively unknown figure in the grand scheme of things, but that presidential bid, his mannerisms and new found meme fame made him popular the world over, so there’s no reason that Pete won’t be able to replicate that success.
Buttigeig will, of course, have to relax some of his policies. He is far too conservative for what could be considered a liberal uprising in America. States like California, Colorado, Washington, Maine, Vermont, New York, Oregon, Nevada, Hawaii and Arizona which have emerged as true bases of progressive behaviour may find it difficult to get behind someone who doesn’t share their values on topics such as the legalisation of marijuana or healthcare for example.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR THE OTHER CANDIDATES?
I’m starting by talking about Klobuchar as she followed suit last night and decided to exit the Democratic primary race, putting all of her support behind Joe Biden. It was a bizarre choice considering that she was gaining a lot of ground, but not an action which surprises me.
If you’ve followed American politics for a while, you’ll remember that four years ago in 2016, the Democratic National Convention (DNC) was involved in a scandal when emails were found in which there was a coordinated effort to stop Bernie Sanders from attaining the necessary delegates to become the nominee. This scandal involved a lot of under the table deals with drop out candidates actually being paid substantial amounts of money to endorse Hillary Clinton over Sanders. Eventually, after being made public, the scandal ended with the resignation of DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Shultz.
It sounds like I’m going off on a bit of a tangent here, but what you’ve got to understand is that Sanders has the Democratic established scared and that’s going to shape a lot of what happens.
I’m not one for fueling conspiracies and certainly don’t subscribe to everything that I hear on the internet, knowing how easily information can be manipulated nowadays, but it does seem a tad suspicious that Klobuchar and Buttigeig both dropped out of the race a day before the most important vote in the calendar and threw all their support behind Joe Biden.
The truth is that their dropping out probably won’t affect Super Tuesday and the only thing that will look any different on Wednesday morning are the bank accounts of Klobuchar and Buttigeig.
I’d be surprised if Klobuchar doesn’t mount another effort in four years, much the same as I expect of Buttigeig, but I’d imagine she’s probably more interested in the position of Vice-president than anything else right now.
Now that Buttigeig and Klobuchar have left the race, that leaves 33 delegates able to change their vote for another candidate. You’d expect that these delegates would shift their votes to another moderate candidate, of whom Joe Biden seems the most legitimate option, but it’s really not as cut and dry as one would think.
Firstly, many Super Tuesday states subscribe to early voting, which means a lot of these votes will have been submitted long before the news of Buttigeig and Klobuchar’s respective departures from the race. If the polls are to be believed and Sanders is carrying huge advantages in the most populated states, then the delegate count is unlikely to change.
So far, the polls have given us an idea of what to expect in each contest, with the exception of Iowa, meaning it’s likely that this trend won’t change. Biden’s best hope for Super Tuesday is that he doesn’t trail too much. He’s likely to pick up a few hundred delegates, which should appease some of his angst, but it’s very unlikely to be enough to topple the front runner.
Secondly, the delegates who voted for Klobuchar in the first place may actually find themselves drawn more towards a more progressive candidate than going for another moderate. Biden represents old America. He has a decent track record with African American voters, thanks to his links with former president Barack Obama, and with older voters but he struggles hugely with Hispanic and young voters. The delegates will have this in mind and I’d actually expect a fair percentage of them to endorse either Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren over Joe Biden.
What can I say about Mike Bloomberg? It’s difficult to put it into a few words. It’s best to think of him as the Democrat’s version of Donald Trump. He’s loud, obnoxious, rich, doesn’t have a filter and wherever you look seems to be on the wrong side of the news.
Bloomberg didn’t qualify for the South Carolina primary but did just qualify for Super Tuesday. Latest statistics actually show he’s spent over $340 million dollars on his campaign so far, which is an insane amount of money to be spending on a contest like this. What’s more unbelievable is that he is actually threatening Sanders in New York.
It’s unlikely but possible that the delegates available will switch to Bloomberg. In reality, his campaign should be considered a distraction and nothing more, it’s very difficult to see him winning many states and if he does, I’d imagine New York would be the only one.
Bernie is likely to be looking over his shoulder at the candidates who are gaining ground around him, but he has to rest assured that his ability and popularity are likely to carry him over the line.
The truth is that there are two outcomes which are likely.
A) Nobody wins a majority, there is a contested convention and super delegates are brought into play. This isn’t the situation that Sanders would want in an ideal world as it hands a lot of power over to the Democratic establishment.
B) Bernie Sanders wins the majority of delegates (1,991) before the Democratic National Convention in June and becomes the presidential nominee.
After 2016, there are a lot of sceptics who feel worried about the power that the DNC could have over the election. When viewed objectively, it does seem as though the party elite are conspiring against Sanders, but I’d hedge my bets on the side of the people and I genuinely believe that if Sanders comes out of Super Tuesday with a good showing, he has at least a 60% chance of gaining a majority.
Sanders is extremely popular among young people, Hispanic voters, low-wage employees, teachers and nationally African Americans. Some polls have been showing that state by state, Biden is the number one choice for African Americans, but nationally the polls clearly point to Bernie Sanders. This means that Bernie is picking up key groups who are likely to vote not only in the primaries but also in the national election in November.
Another huge point in his favour is that this election will be about one thing and one thing only for most Democratic voters; getting Trump out of the white house. This favours Bernie Sanders since he is the only candidate in the Democratic field who is beating Trump in every poll.
Much like recent elections in the UK, Ireland, Israel and Spain have been (for the majority of the public) about one issue only, it’s likely that we will see that replicated in the USA in a few months.
If Bernie is successful in his campaign and is chosen to be the presidential nominee, it’s probably a good bet that he will defeat Trump. Bernie’s likely to rouse the young people out to vote and a higher voter turnout generally favours the left.
Are you interested in American politics or politics in general? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section. You could also make some American friends on our language exchange section and talk to them about their preferred choice.
Written by: Jordan Benyon, Staff Writer
- 3 Mar, 2020
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