The best shot the Democratic Party has at defeating Donald Trump in the 2020 United States election is to nominate Bernie Sanders – and it looks like that might happen.
The recent results from the Democratic Party’s primaries in Iowa and New Hampshire yielded astounding results. Political veterans with big-name recognition, such as former Vice President Joe Biden, ended up with under 10%, while anti-establishment candidates Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg traded first and second places in Iowa and New Hampshire. Polling had suggested a very different picture.
This all may have begun back at the Iowa Democratic debate during which CNN journalist Abby Phillip asked Sanders if he had told fellow candidate Elizabeth Warren that he thought a woman could never become president. Sanders emphatically denied this. Then, as if disregarding the denial, Phillip turned to Warren and asked how she felt about what Sanders had purportedly said. The incident earned CNN widespread criticism, but also marked the beginning of Warren’s decline in the polls, and Sanders’ rise.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg has always been a dark horse in the race for the nomination. The young mayor from Indiana has consistently polled within the top four, but rarely has he come out as the most popular candidate. His win in Iowa makes sense in some ways – he comes from a Midwestern state and has been trying to appeal to the more moderate side of the Democratic base, but his success is nonetheless quite unexpected given the polling data.
Statistically, a large percentage of Democratic candidates who win the Iowa Caucuses go on to win the nomination. The next two primaries in Nevada and South Carolina have the potential to change the race significantly. If Buttigieg and Sanders continue to dominate it could give them the opportunity to push Biden out of the race for good, with the Democratic Party possibly nominating an outsider candidate. Should this happens, it could be argued that it would be their best chance at defeating Donald Trump. Even then, however, their chances appear to be slim.