With both the 2020 Iowa Caucuses and New Hampshire Primary in the books, here are some key takeaways that our readers should know:
1. Bernie Sanders, the new front runner?
After a strong second place finish in the Iowa Caucuses, Senator Bernie Sanders followed it up with a strong victory in the New Hampshire Primary, winning 25.7% of the votes. With those two strong finishes and great polling numbers in key states such as Nevada and California, the Sanders campaign seems to be hitting its stride at just the right moment. In fact, Senator Sanders’ popularity has also been surging nationally, but the question is, can the self-proclaimed Democratic-Socialist keep this moment going all the way to the convention?
2. Underdog Buttigieg gets early validation
Throughout Mayor Pete’s presidential bid, questions have come fast and hard about the electability of a thirty-seven-year-old, small town mayor. The best answer to questions about electability is perhaps, oddly enough, winning. Pete Buttigieg may have given his campaign a new ceiling when he won the Iowa Caucuses and finished second in New Hampshire. This once largely unknown Mayor with an upstart campaign can now count himself firmly within the elusive top tier of candidates.
3. Uh oh, Joe
Once thought to be the front-runner and likely nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign appears to be in deep trouble after poor showings in both Iowa and New Hampshire. In the Iowa Caucuses, the former Vice President received only 15.8% of the vote, finishing behind Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren for fourth place. After Iowa, the Biden campaign did not seem to have much hope for New Hampshire either, with the Vice President and many of his staff predicting a defeat in attempts to soften the blow. However, this was not enough to save the Vice President from his catastrophic fifth place result. His measly 8.4% of the vote throws his campaign into serious doubt, especially with other moderates Senator Amy Klobuchar and Mayor Pete Buttigieg having strong showings.
4. Could Bloomberg seize the nomination?
When former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg entered the race late, his campaign decided to employ the risky strategy of ignoring the first four primaries and focusing on the Super Tuesday states. For this strategy to work, Mayor Bloomberg would need a combination of factors to all go his way. First, he would need no clear winner to emerge and for the delegates to be split up among multiple candidates. Check. Second, he would need to utilize his name recognition and vast personal wealth to gain credibility and make up for his late entrance in the race. Check. Thirdly, he would need former Vice President Joe Biden to struggle, as the two candidates possess a similar voter base. Check. After Iowa and New Hampshire, Mayor Bloomberg inherited the perfect scenario. Can he now take advantage on Super Tuesday?
5. Iowa Caucus Disaster
The Iowa Caucus has always been a relatively unusual method of electing a president, but criticisms of the Iowa Caucus have reached new heights after the myriad of problems that it faced. The Iowa Caucus was scheduled on February 3rd, but when voters went to sleep that night, only a small percentage of the voters were actually tallied. The final results were not released until February 10th, a full week later. The debacle was centered around the choice to use a new vote reporting app to communicate the results. However, the new system was hastily created, did not undergo sufficient testing, and the volunteers at the polling stations were largely unprepared to use it. The app did not at all work how it was intended, and the party officials had to resort to counting votes manually. The result has led many to challenge the caucus format, and there have been increased calls to simplify the system to a traditional primary.