Following a disastrous caucus in Iowa, the Democrats are now on the next phase of their journey to face off against Donald Trump, who’s hoping for re-election in 2020. Dozens of names have been pushed forward for the party’s presidential nominee, but with the first hurdle now over, only a few names have remained solid.
The Democratic Frontrunnners
South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, former Vice President Joe Biden and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar are the top tier candidates. None has any significant majority. Perhaps another name, billionaire Michael Bloomberg, may join them due to fact that he intentionally skipped Iowa but continues to have significant support.
Buttigieg: Growing Support But Still Lacking Enthusiasm Among African-Americans
Buttigieg was eventually declared the winner in Iowa, surprising many pollsters. So-called Mayor Pete was a lesser known candidate when he put himself forward for the presidential race. He was mainly overlooked due to his lack of experience and questionable support among African-Americans and minority voters. It is also important to remember that Buttigieg is the first openly gay politician to seek the Democratic nomination, and in the beginning, it was rather unknown how this factor might play a role in his run. Despite these factors, Buttigieg’s young age and energy, notable foreign policy knowledge, solid performances in debates and moderate approach to various policies has had a positive impact and increased his support. His real power will be tested in areas such as South Carolina and Nevada. Buttigieg’s lack of experience may be quoted more frequently during the remainder of the presidential race and more contenders, including President Donald Trump, will focus their attacks on him.
Sanders: Questions Over Health And Far-Left Positions
Obtaining second place during the Iowa caucuses, experienced policymaker and Senator Bernie Sanders will try again—like he did in the 2016 election—to become his party’s presidential nominee. Sanders hopes to rise from the ashes after his close combat with Hillary Clinton in 2016. A self-described democratic socialist, Sanders’ age and his slide to leftist policies are the main obstacles facing him. If elected, the 78-year-old lawmaker will be the oldest president in the history of the United States. However, the heart attack that he suffered in 2019 raises questions about his health. Sanders’ leftist political ideas are also questionable in terms of the appeal they might have on more moderate voters. His positions on war, healthcare and the economy will be constantly questioned by his adversaries the further he gets in the race.
Warren: Losing Momentum But Still A Strong Candidate
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren was another dominant name during the second part of the Democratic presidential race. Her ambitious approach on Medicare, the economy and taxation faced both criticism and praise from electors. Warren’s anti-establishment approach—like Sanders’—faced criticism and was accused of being unrealistic. For instance, her “Medicare for all” plan helped her gain significant momentum in the beginning, but then the same plan was accused of being unrealistic due to how it would be paid for. Warren never backed down in strong confrontations with other candidates—especially Buttigieg and Sanders—but it is also difficult to say that she won either of her main duels. Despite these doubts, Warren remains the most powerful female candidate for 2020, especially after being endorsed by the New York Times. If Warren can overcome doubts about her “electability,” she can remain a top candidate.
Biden: Iowa Loss A ‘Gut Punch,’ But VP Is Still A Formidable Contender
Biden called himself the only candidate who can beat Donald Trump during his campaign. Biden dominated the polls soon after announcing his run for the presidency, but for the same reason he became an obvious target. His fourth place in the Iowa caucuses was a surprise for many and Biden himself called it a “gut punch.” With age being a potential concern for Sanders and Warren, it is also an important factor for some in considering whether to vote for Biden, who is 77. Biden’s involvement in Trump’s impeachment case through work activities that he and his son Hunter had in Ukraine became both positive and negative at the same time. Biden’s cold-blooded coolness during the impeachment case was praised by his supporters, but his opponents saw that as a way to emphasize all the unanswered questions around his Ukraine activity. Nonetheless, Biden is one of the best choices for Republican voters due to his moderate political views. He is still seen as the candidate that may “steal” the most votes from the Republican vote pool and among right-leaning independents in the Rust Belt and other areas. Biden’s foreign policy knowledge and experience will also continue to play an important part. Like his supporters claim, Biden may witness a significant boost once he participates in voting in states with major racial diversity where he enjoys strong support among African-American voters and minority voters, unlike Iowa, which is a state with mostly white voters.
Klobuchar: Struggling To Stand Out, But Lots Of Potential
Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar took the fifth spot at the Iowa caucuses, but she continues her attempt to become the leading candidate of the Democratic Party. So far, she has failed to dominate any polls. Klobuchar is struggling to solidify her position as a strong moderate candidate and has had challenges in trying to distinguish her policies. Despite remaining in the grey-zone for a lot of the race thus far, Klobuchar has started to reinforce her position after being co-endorsed by the New York Times along with Warren. Nevertheless, as one of two strong female candidates remaining, Klobuchar has a lot of potential and her strong performance during the recent New Hampshire Democratic debate points to future success.
Bloomberg: Long-shot Candidate With A Bigger Chance Than You Might Think
Despite deciding not to participate in early caucuses and primaries, America’s eighth richest man, Michael Bloomberg, continues to have a solid footing in various polls. His policy to focus on primary races further down the line is seen as strategic for his supporters and some critics say that the Iowa disaster actually helped him boost his position. On the other hand, avoiding direct confrontation with other candidates by skipping both primaries and debates is perceived by some as dodging real debate. In the same way, Bloomberg’s ambitious campaign spending for his cause has been characterized by some as his attempt to buy the presidency. Bloomberg’s moderate policies coupled with his economic and international experience may put him ahead of other candidates to eventually face Trump.
It is important to remember that the schism between moderates and liberals within the Democratic Party is stronger than ever. Democrats need to heal their party divisions if they want to win the election, perhaps by bringing moderates and leftists together in a presidency and vice presidency ticket so that they can rally more Trump supporters, independents and undecideds to come to their side.