The Past Two Weeks

A summary of the recent developments in the 2020 Democratic presidential primaries


Buttigieg supporters holding signs. Picture courtesy of Google Images via Creative Commons

On June 26, 2019, the Democratic race for the 2020 nomination officially began with the First Debate, hosted by NBC News at the Arsht Center in Miami. Now, seven months and nineteen days later, the race has changed drastically. Not only has the field grown smaller, having gone from twenty-four candidates to just ten, but previously unforeseen developments in key primaries and caucuses can be said to have the race more exciting to watch, with the past two weeks being particularly eventful. Though the political news cycle can move a bit fast for some, the events in the past fortnight or so can be easily summarized.

The Iowa Caucus

Although serious technical difficulties have delayed the Iowa Democratic Party’s official release of the state caucus results and led DNC Chairman Tom Perez to call for a recanvass of said results, the latest results show a surprising figure in the lead: Mayor of South Bend, Ind. Pete Buttigieg (26.2%/13 delegates), followed by U. S. Sen.  Bernie Sanders (26.1%/12 delegates), U. S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (18.0%/8 delegates), former Vice President Joe Biden (15.8%/6 delegates), and U. S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (12.3%/1 delegate). Philanthropists Andrew Yang and Tom Steyer had 1.0% and 0.3% of the vote, respectively. Though Democrats at large were worried about the Iowa debacle, they were quick to focus on the future, with candidates attempting to find firm footing before the New Hampshire primary. 

The Eighth Debate

On February 7, 2020, ABC News and Apple News hosted the eighth Democratic Party presidential debate at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire. Seven candidates qualified for the debate: Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar, Tom Steyer, and Andrew Yang. Sanders and his self-described democratic socialist brand of politics, proved to be a notable topic among the moderate candidates, with Biden claiming that Sanders would hurt the Democratic Party’s performance in 2020, Klobuchar citing her ability to win over independents and Republicans when asked whether on not she was opposed to a democratic socialist receiving the nomination, and Buttigieg criticizing the polarizing effect he has had on the party. Pete Buttigieg also drew ire from his fellow candidates, with Biden remarking on his poor performance among Democrats of color and Klobuchar criticizing comments made by Buttigieg during the impeachment hearings, namely that he would rather “watch cartoons” than the proceedings in the Senate. Healthcare once again showed itself to be a polarizing issue, with progressives supporting universal healthcare on one side (Sanders, Warren), and moderates supporting a public option on the other (Biden, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Steyer). Amid all their disagreements, Steyer implored his fellow Democrats to come together and focus their efforts on defeating Trump in 2020, stating that Democrats “gotta win or we are in deep trouble.” 

The New Hampshire Primary

Bernie Sanders once again won the New Hampshire primary with 25.8% of the vote and 9 delegates, followed by Pete Buttigieg (24.4%/9 delegates), Amy Klobuchar (19.8%/6 delegates), Elizabeth Warren (9.3%), Joe Biden (8.4%), and Tom Steyer (3.6%). 

The Upcoming Debate in Las Vegas

NBC News and The Nevada Independent will host the ninth Democratic debate at Le Théâtre des Arts in Las Vegas at 9pm EST on February 19. So far, five candidates have qualified for the debate: Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren.