JACKSONVILLE, Fla.— On Nov. 3, the next president of the United States will be selected.
Before the public can vote for the president, both the Republican and Democratic primaries must take place.
Austin Trantham, assistant professor of political science in Jacksonville University, helps clarify what political primaries are.
“Primaries help to narrow a large field of candidates and ultimately decide the nominees for each major political party for a general election,” said Trantham.
Currently, the Republican National Committee has not made any plans to hold a primary debate, leaving many to believe that President Donald Trump will likely be re-selected as the Republican nominee. This begs the question as to who the representative for the Democratic Party will be.
The Democratic primary is in full effect, with both the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary complete. Anticipation is high for the Nevada caucuses set to be held on Saturday.
Historically, Iowa has been the first state to kick off the primary season. But with the many issues it has faced over the years, the caucus has recently come into question. Assistant professor of political science in Jacksonville University, Michael Pomante elaborates on this issue.
“In the past the Iowa caucus has been seen as very important by all the candidates,” said Pomante. “The issue with Iowa is that it is very unrepresentative of the American population. Even so, the caucus is so deeply rooted in the state’s history that I don’t see it disappearing.”
After an issue with the application used by Democratic Party leaders to tally the votes, a victor emerged with Pete Buttigieg winning 13 delegates. Bernie Sanders followed closely with 12 delegates and the other 15 were distributed between Elizabeth Warren with 8, Joe Biden with 6 and Amy Klobuchar with 1.
After the Iowa caucus was finalized candidates, moved on to the New Hampshire primary in which Sanders came out as victor with 9 delegates and majority vote.
Pete Buttigieg followed closely by also winning 9 delegates and Amy Klobuchar gained the last 6 delegates.
Rachel Weiss, president of the Jacksonville University College Democrats, says she is expecting several surprises in this year’s primaries.
“We have so many candidates this year that need to get ready for a wild ride,” said Weiss. “It was surprising and exciting to see candidates such as Klobuchar suddenly emerge as an early front runner and it is my opinion that she will go farther in the primary than Warren.”
The early success of Klobuchar has been surprising but another candidate that has shocked the primary is Pete Buttigieg.
“Sanders and Buttigieg have come out strong and I believe that Klobuchar could be in the race for a while, depending on the structure of her campaign,” said Trantham. “I would say that Sanders and Buttigieg will be the top two candidates for the Democratic primary. But, if asked months before the start of the primary, Sanders and Biden would have been my top choices to be ahead.”
As the primary leads into Nevada and South Carolina, more candidates will begin to fall. After the New Hampshire primaries, candidate Andrew Yang ended his presidential campaign.
Super Tuesday, which will be held on March 3, will likely see the number of candidates reduced.
“Super Tuesday is the day of the highest number of primary elections in the country,” said Pomante. “It is being held on March 3 and 14 states vote at the same time, which can give a good idea of who the leading candidate is in the Democratic field.”
With Joe Biden’s lack of support from Iowa and New Hampshire, Klobuchar’s early lead against Warren, and Buttigieg’s great start, the Democratic primaries have grabbed the nation’s attention.
“The Democratic primary taking place is historic,” said Trantham. “All the top candidates bring something different and diverse if elected for the presidency. Bernie Sanders could be the first Jewish president, Buttigieg the first gay president, and Warren or Klobuchar the first female president. All these candidates represent something different and if any of them win, it could truly define the phrase ‘Anyone can grow up to be the president of the United States.’”