Through a series of articles we call The State, the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Advocacy and Political Affairs team is providing analysis related to "the state of" various aspects of the 2020 campaign season, including the race for the White House and key elections around the country.
Already well underway, the race for the Democratic presidential nomination will reach a much-anticipated peak on Super Tuesday (March 3), when 14 states hold primaries. At stake are 1,357 delegates to the Democratic National Convention, about 34% of the total number of delegates needed to clinch the presidential nomination.
With that in mind, let’s examine the state of the race as it stands.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has won a plurality of the popular vote in the first three contests. While it took some time to work through the inconsistencies in the Iowa caucus, the results were essentially a tie between Sanders and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg. No other candidate received a double-digit allotment of delegates.
In New Hampshire, both Sanders and Buttigieg each won nine delegates, followed by Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who won 6 delegates. Sanders continued his winning ways in the Nevada caucus on Saturday, Feb. 22, with a resounding victory, making him the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination.
The ultimate goal is to win a simple majority –1,990 – of the 3,979 delegates to the Democratic National Convention, which will be held in Milwaukee in August.
Sen. Sanders position as a front runner, solidified by his success in New Hampshire and Nevada, has been reflected in national and state polls.
However, many pundits and leading Democrats are talking a lot about a candidate who has yet to appear on the ballot but will likely have in impact on the Democratic nomination – former mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg.
Skipping the first three contests and as well as the upcoming primary in South Carolina, Bloomberg is running an unconventional campaign. He spent over $400 million of his own money in January alone on nationwide television advertising and operations in the 14 Super Tuesday states.
The political media did not give Bloomberg high marks for his first debate in Las Vegas, leading to questions about his viability. Others have suggested that his ability to self-finance will allow him not only to continue but to craft his own narrative.
Super Tuesday will be the test of staying power for every Democratic candidate and could likely result in a significant winnowing of the field.
Mike Sistak is director of grassroots program development at the American Farm Bureau Federation.