Sample Essay on The Democratic Primaries 2020

The 2020 Democratic Primaries are proving to be a battle of wits for candidates. The race, which has attracted interesting demography of candidates, continues to unearth speculations over who will eventually win the race and carry the party’s ticket in November’s presidential elections. So far, the primaries have attracted 12 candidates, including former vice president Joe Biden, 2016 primaries loser Bernie Sanders, Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren, and former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg. The four are the main contenders in the race and the other candidates include Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Tulsi Gabbard, Andrew Yang, Deval Patrick, John Delaney, Michael Bennet, and Tom Steyer. Evidently. Warren, Klobuchar, and Gabbard are the only female candidates in the race. Away from the candidates, however, voters (and delegates) remain the most important determinants of the candidates who will eventually carry the party’s ticket in the forthcoming presidential elections against President Trump. Throughout the primaries, several factors have been at play in determining the choice of voters in the current race. Race, ideology, momentum, and gender have been among the most important factors in voters’ choices in the nomination contest.
Race remains a fundamental factor in determining voters’ choices in any political race in the United States. Across social, political, and economic discourse, the race is a factor that plays a dominant role in the ensuing decisions within the parameters. Therefore, the race is among the most important factors in determining voters’ choices in the 2020 Democrat presidential nominations. The race is especially an important factor for the Democratic Party given its history with minority groups. Francis-Fallon informs that Blacks transformed the Democratic Party through their history of slavery. Blacks and Whites, therefore, had to reckon with this ugly history, establishing the Blacks’ incontrovertible national character. The transformation of the party was most visible from the nomination and eventual election of Barack Obama as the first Black president, sponsored by the Democratic Party.
Massachusetts senator, Elizabeth Warren is a testament to the influence of race in the 2020 Democratic presidential nominations. In one of her campaigns, before she dropped out of the race, her aide had been cut midsentence by a group of rural Black farmers that the aide went to address. the man in the audience who interrupted the aid expressed concern over the potential of Warren and her ilk to deliver on their promises. The member of the audience stated, “Plans and rhetoric are one thing, but to trust a candidate to deliver — or the government at all — is entirely another.” The concern for the constituent was the ability of Warren, and her government (if she won the election) to deliver on her promise given the community’s familiarity with government discrimination and unequal access to public services.
Since their foray into politics, Blacks and other minorities, such as the Hispanics have had a great influence on the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination race. Astead enthuses that Democratic candidates, over the years, have had to accept the reality of their need to present policies that hope to correct racial inequities. Such policies target to win racial minorities, Blacks being the most targeted given their force and importance in the Party’s primary elections.
The bulk of the front-runners in the Democratic primaries have presented policies that hope to correct racial inequalities. Warren’s aide, in the meeting with the Black farmers, delivered a proposal to help the rural Black gain access to funding and address the discrimination present in the Department of Agriculture. Essentially, Warren wanted to assure the farmers that she understood their challenges and that her administration would address them. Moreover, Sanders, Vermont’s senator, and another Democratic presidential candidate laid out plans/policies that they hoped would address issues faced by Blacks. Sanders thinks his proposal of single-payer health insurance will address disparities, including disproportionally high infant mortality rates among Blacks. Similarly, former South Bend Mayor, Pete Buttigieg’s, policy pointed at overhauling the criminal justice system, healthcare, and education. These are all areas where minorities are disadvantaged, particularly the criminal justice system, where the department of corrects holds a majority of minorities, largely Blacks and Hispanics.
Race as a determining factor is also evident in Joe Biden’s popularity among Blacks. Polls on Blacks’ support for the candidates show Biden holding the lead with support from more than 50 percent of the poll’s respondents showing support for him while Sanders follows closely with 20 percent of respondents supporting him, while Warren had 9 percent support. Biden’s popularity among Blacks 65 years and older is especially high at 60 percentage points even as Sanders gets more support from Black voters 35 years and younger. Moreover, buoying Biden’s popularity among Blacks is tied to the popularity of his name, his proximity to former President Barack Obama, and a history of close collaboration with black community leaders at his time in the Senate.
Closely related to race is ideology and policies presented by candidates. Before Warren dropped out of the race after her dismal performance at Super Tuesday, she had met farmers to present her proposal for change. The attendees felt that her proposal did not address racial bias; one of the most important ideological issues affecting minorities. Although Warren later presented a revised policy proposal, the damage had already been done. Part of the contention and Warren’s failure lies not in her candidacy, but the very nature of the nation’s political ideology, especially with concern to minorities. Furthermore, any candidate, particularly white, presenting a proposal to minority communities must first surmount the ideological underpinning of distrust between minorities and elected officials. Most minorities, particularly Blacks, hold the opinion that change promised by elected officials never comes to fruition, particularly white candidates. It is for this reason that despite her track record, Warren received little support from the minorities.
Ideology as a factor runs deeper than the superficial proposals in the policies presented in the campaigns. The challenge for most Democratic candidates, especially those without a history (as Biden and Sanders) is convincing minorities to take a leap of faith in them. The challenge is especially great since minorities, from Hispanics to Blacks, have experience with the non-performance of the government. The challenge, here, therefore, is to convince minorities of following through on the promise, especially for new candidates. Entrenched among minorities is the idea that the government does not work for them. The ideology has been internalized because of decades of neglect and discrimination by successive governments, which then made minorities non-reliant on federal programs. Astead informs “There’s a sense that, if you prefer federal programs, that can be an admission that you can’t make it without white people or government.” The difficulty in breaking through this protective wall of entrenched ideology has been the undoing of many candidates among Black communities while playing as an advantage to Biden. His history with Black communities allows him to present a trustworthy candidate, especially as the primaries now head to states dominated by minority groups.
Momentum is an additional important factor in the current Democratic primaries. Part of Warren’s failure and eventually dropping out of the race is her inability to sustain the momentum she set off early in the race. Most candidates, particularly those with no “national history” presented their candidacies to a lot of furrow from the media and voters. Warren, for instance, presented herself as the best candidate and basked in the limelight that came with announcing her candidacy. She was, therefore, a frontrunner in the race. However, she was unable to sustain this momentum, having peaked too early and unable to recover from the decline she experienced. Her decline was especially assisted by the fronting of more candidates, who then became the focus of the electorate.
Within the idea of momentum is the idea of the electability of the candidates. The fact that the GOP already has a candidate in President Trump makes the electorate even more careful in choosing a candidate. The electorate is especially wary of the ability of the preferred candidate to not only sustain the momentum that has at the start of the primaries but also at the presidential elections. Ideally, voters are not taken to the idea of making a mistake by choosing the wrong candidate on a trial basis. The bottom line is that Democratic voters are fixed on choosing a candidate capable of running against the incumbent President Trump and who has the highest possibility of winning the presidential race. It is for this reason, therefore, that Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden have emerged as the two main contenders for the Party ticket. Perhaps it is the fact that the electorate feels that the two offer better and safe bets, as they have the experience, are electable, and can sustain the campaign momentum past the primaries into the presidential elections.
Gender is an additional factor in the 2020 Democratic primaries. Curiously, of the more than 12 presidential contenders in the race, only three are women. Of the three women, Elizabeth Warren stood out but was sadly edged out of the race following a dismal performance on Super Tuesday. Even more interesting is that while women have outnumbered and outvoted men in every election since 1980, they have not come out strong to support one of their own. Warren’s poor performance on Super Tuesday is evidence of gender as a factor, where women voters seem to prefer Joe Biden over other candidates, including women. Polls on the primaries have indicated a preference for a male candidate as the Democratic nominees for both male and female voters. The preference is perhaps fueled by the idea of electability, or a safe bet, given Hillary Clinton’s (a woman) failure to win the presidency against one of the most unqualified candidates GOP ever fielded.
Race, ideology, momentum, and gender are proving to be important factors in voters’ decisions in the ongoing Democratic primaries. Blacks and minorities are influential in the primaries, thus the visible inkling towards more inclusive policies as presented by candidates. Relatedly, the need to break ideologies entrenched over decades of discrimination and government neglect plays a major role in the primaries. Conclusively, given the incumbency of President Trump, momentum and electability more than ever influence voters’ decision on choosing their candidate.
Bibliography
B., Francis-Fallon. “The many political communities of Latino America.” In The Rise of the Latino Vote: A History. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2019.
Dittmar, Kelly. “Gender matters: A status check on the gender gap in presidential primaries.” Presidential Gender Watch, March 17, 2016. Accessed March 10, 2020. http://presidentialgenderwatch.org/gender-matters-status-check-gender-gap-presidential-primaries/
Herndon, Astead W. “The Big Ask of Black Voters: Trust the Government.” The New York Times, 2020. Accessed March 10, 2020.
Kornacki, Steve. “Journey to Power: The History of Black Voters, 1976 to 2020.” NBC News. July 29, 2019. https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2020-election/journey-power-history-black-voters-1976-2020-n1029581.