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President Donald Trump rally. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

2020 March Primary Preview: Democratic and Republican Presidential Primaries

California Globe takes an inside look into the Democratic and Republican primary races

By Evan Symon, March 2, 2020 3:17 pm

With the California Primary now only days away, the California Globe takes a look at the six top performing candidates in the Democratic and Republican primaries, as well as where they stand on the five biggest issues Californian’s face today.

Bernie Sanders:

Senator Bernie Sanders. (Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

Most recent elected position: Senator (I-VT) 2007 – Present

Previous elected positions: Congressman (I-VT) 1991 – 2007, Mayor of Burlington, VT 1981 – 1989

Current poll numbers for California: 33.5% of the Democratic Primary (1st)

Where he stands: By far the most left-leaning of the major candidates running on the Democratic ticket, Sanders is also currently winning nationally. Wins in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada has proven that Sanders now has even greater minority support than once thought and that many voters are now willing to take a chance on Sanders.

His age is seen to be a major factor in the race, as at age 78, he is the oldest candidate to ever win a state in the primaries, let alone come out ahead as the current leader. With even centrist Democrats now embracing farther left and even socialist issues than before, Sanders is currently the man to beat on the campaign. He’s entering Super Tuesday with unforeseen momentum, although this has been somewhat dampened by Biden’s win on Saturday in South Carolina.

Sanders on Californian issues:

  • Homelessness: Sanders has proposed a national rent cap and rent control to alleviate homelessness not only in California but also the nation. Plans for new affordable housing include $70 billion (with a B) plan to repair and decarbonize current public housing, as well as build more in the 2020’s. And that’s on top of a $2.5 trillion (with a T) plan to build 10 million more affordable units nationwide and an expansion of section 8 housing. Basically he’s planning to alleviate homelessness by having more housing.
  • Healthcare reform: His plan includes capping prescription drug costs, instituting a national single-payer policy called ‘Medicare for All’, removing all networks and most associated costs like co-pays, and medicare expansion. While there are numerous concerns over such a plan, ranging from tens of thousands of lost insurance jobs to possible declination of care, the main point on this, like most of Sanders plans, is how it will be paid. The answer is taxes. Much higher taxes. Most widespread of these would be a 4% income based tax for those that make more than $29,000 a year and a 7.5% income based premium from employers. Americans are pretty divided on this, but to the surprise of many, more are supporting the Democratic plan than the Republican plan.
  • Housing Crisis: See Homelessness.
  • AB 5: He’s all for it, but he also hasn’t weighed in too much on it since problems surrounding it began to swell in December.
  • Education: Sanders has been for greater money going into public schools, but by far the most controversial parts of his education plan is the erasure of student debt and tuition-free colleges. Any student loan interests in the future would also be capped at 1.88%. For Californians, the impact would be all over the place. Sanders plans to pay for the plan by having a ‘Wall Street tax‘ on stock and bond trades, trading increased costs there for more money for younger people early on. 57% of Americans don’t want this, but compared to support levels for his other plans, education is doing pretty good among voters.

Michael Bloomberg:

Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg. (Photo: Michael Bloomberg for President 2020)

Most recent elected position: Mayor of New York City (R/D) 2002-2013

Previous elected positions: NA

Current poll numbers for California: 11.3% of Democratic Primary (4th)

Where he stands: Bloomberg has bet it all on Super Tuesday, as so far the results have been mixed. He’s shot up to being one of the top candidates in the race and is projected to be pretty high in polls, but he’s faltering elsewhere. A massive ad campaign is turning people away from him, his history of relations with minorities has been exposing many skeletons in his closet, poor debate performances have turned off many voters, and he has been criticized for trying to buy the election. Even fellow billionaires Tom Steyer and Donald Trump have largely managed to dodge that accusation.

Bloomberg has failed to shed his ‘billionaire’ image, and many Californians have taken objection to his ad blitz. Many are also upset about how New York-centric they have been. He does come in with experience as Mayor of New York in the wake of 9/11, but he has only come so far in the race. He needs a stellar performance on Super Tuesday, as well as carrying a state or two, to have any chance in later rounds with New York stalwart primaries in places such as Florida, New Jersey, and the empire state itself.

Bloomberg on Californian issues:

Elizabeth Warren:

Senator Elizabeth Warren. (Wikipedia)

Most recent elected position: Senator of Massachusetts (D-MA) 2013 – Present

Previous elected positions: NA, but did serve as the Chairwoman for the Congressional Oversight Panel 2008 – 2010

Current poll numbers for California: 13.9% of Democratic Primary (2nd)

Where she stands: Warren was widely expected to win…something at this point only a few months ago, but she has only consistently lagged behind other candidates. She’s currently 2nd in California, but that can easily change following her South Carolina performance. Her appeal has been narrowed in recent months as well due to other candidates like Sanders and Biden closing in on her core support demographic, and she has also been dodging the scandal over her Native American heritage for quite some time.

She does have a fair amount of minority and women backing her within the party, and her debate performances have been mostly stellar. Her campaign has promised to go to the convention no matter what happens, but her Super Tuesday performance could change those plans. For California voters she’ll be the middle ground candidate between the more left leaning Bernie Sanders and the more centrist Biden and Buttigieg.

Warren on Californian issues:

Pete Buttigieg

Note: Pete Buttigieg dropped out of the Democratic race on Sunday but is still included here as he is still currently on the ballot in California, he is tracking higher than other Democratic candidates still on the ballot, and he will get at least a few percentage points due to absentee and early balloting. His support and possible delegates could also help another candidate win should there be a too close to call race.

Former Mayor Pete Buttigieg. (Facebook)

Most recent elected position: Mayor of South Bend, IN (D) 2012 – 2020

Previous elected positions: NA

Current poll numbers for California: 8.2% of Democratic Primary (5th)

Where he stands: Mayor Pete is the youngest candidate in the race by a few decades and also comes in as the first major LGBT candidate running for the nomination. A surprise win in Iowa as well as subsequent strong showings has made him a top contender in the race, and he has been garnering a huge and critical based of Midwesterners and Midwestern ex-pats, as well as those that live in the Western part of the country simply because he isn’t from the East Coast.

He was leading in California a month ago but has since trailed off due to the rise of Bernie, South Bend police brutality issues coming back up and costing critical black support, and Bloomberg’s Super Tuesday blitz. At this point he’s likely not going to win the nomination, but his name is now nationally known, and he can make that into a good Gubernatorial run or finagle a cabinet position out of it. That is if he doesn’t surprise again and win some more states.

Buttigieg on Californian issues:

Joe Biden

Former Vice President Joe Biden. (Evan Symon for California Globe)

Most recent elected position: Vice President of the United States (D) 2009 – 2017

Previous elected positions: Senator (D-DE) 1973 – 2009, New Castle County, DE Councilman (D) 1970 – 1972

Current poll numbers for California:13.4% of Democratic Primary (3rd)

Where he stands: A year ago everybody knew former Vice President Joe Biden was going to be the Dems nominee in 2020. Today Biden stands with only a few lukewarm primary outcomes besides the South Carolina victory and sits at third place, both nationally and in California polling. He has always done well in blue collar areas and among minorities, but he didn’t foresee the in-roads Sanders made in Latino communities, nor did he expect Buttigieg to become the moderate of choice. Now he’s scrambling for a victory to get that momentum going again, although his victory South Carolina will help out a lot there.

Like most of the candidates, age has been a huge consideration, but more recently his fading star has come out of not creating enough excitement about his campaign. He’s always been seen as the safety candidate and lauded as the only person who could beat Trump, but now most Democratic candidates can claim that. Biden failed in 1988 and 2008 exactly because of this reason: he’s the generic candidate. It’s great quick out of the gate, but fading into the stretch he hasn’t changed all that much or challenged as much and it has showed. Biden needs to get California and a few other states to join his South Carolina win, but even now that seems like a tall order. But he did take away the momentum from Bernie going into Tuesday, so he still has a shot.

Biden on Californian issues:

Incumbent Donald Trump

President Donald Trump (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

Most recent elected position: President of the United States (R) 2017 – Present

Previous elected positions: NA

Current poll numbers for California: 90+% of Republican Primary (1st)

Where he stands: With an approval rating that has not been above 45% since around the time of his press honeymoon in 2017, President Trump faces a tough 2020 contest. Every Democratic candidate on here is currently beating him in polls, with Bernie Sanders in particular shown to be holding a victory even within the bounds of margin of error. But Trump had heard this before in 2016, and he managed to win on electoral votes, so he is by no means out.

He hasn’t really started campaigning too, too hard yet, but he needs to get past several issues to stay competitive. He’ll be facing heat from the impeachment proceedings, as well as numerous national and international policy decisions. He has a strong base, as his approval ratings have never shown to make any long-term dramatic dips, but he needs to win voters beyond that, especially with recent poll numbers showing him down. A strong economy going in would help, although with the coronavirus currently causing worldwide stock market strife, now isn’t the time to claim that. It’s still way too early in the race to make any call, but the Republicans know they need to start making game plans now. But a solid base guaranteeing an automatic 45% of the vote in November isn’t a bad start.

Trump on Californian issues:

 

Evan Symon
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