“In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.”
The words of one Franklin D. Roosevelt, an icon of the United States’ Democrat Party and America’s most important political figure of the twentieth century.
In the twenty-first century so far, leadership has swung between Republican and Democrat in eight-year cycles and despite Donald Trump’s shock victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016, it certainly didn’t happen by accident. It was meant to be.
The last three American Presidents have served the maximum two terms in charge of their nation – Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. And history is on Trump’s side to become the fourth as unlike Roosevelt, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders offer the Democrat Party precious little.
Today is ‘Super Tuesday,’ where five candidates will battle it out to for the right run against President Trump in the 2020 election. In reality, it looks to be a straight shootout between Obama’s Vice-President Biden and the progressive Sanders in simply making the upcoming election an event.
The states of Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont and Virginia, and American Samoa will all vote.
After the first four primary contests, Sanders is currently in the lead with 60 of the delegates needed to win the Democrat leader nomination, while Biden has 54.
Today, 1,344 delegates will be up for grabs in a decisive day for the Democrats.
Barring a miracle, the winner of the Democrat leadership election in March will be the loser of the Presidential election in November.
Super Tuesday will provide some progression from a Democrat point of view in that it will offer an indication of the type of campaign that is to take place. Biden and Sanders, along with billionaire Michael Bloomberg, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, and American-Samoan Tulsi Gabbard make up the five candidates, all of whom offer very different leadership.
Sanders is a Soviet-style politician who appeals to the socialists of America. Biden wishes to focus on equality and restoring the Obama days. Bloomberg appears to lean more towards the centre, even agreeing with Trump on the treat China poses to America’s position at the head of world affairs. Warren’s priority is the economy, something Trump has already boosted and has full control of. Gabbard’s focus is on empowering women more and reversing Trump’s stricter immigration policies.
Moderates in the shape of former Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar have in the last couple of days withdrawn from the race, pledging their support to Biden over Sanders.
Buttigieg and Klobuchar are examples of centrist moderates clubbing together to effectively sift Sanders out of the race, as was the case in four years ago.
Given Sanders’ grace yet cowardice in 2016 to forgive being passed over in favour of Clinton to then come out and support her, it’s a past sign of weakness that the Democrats could play on again tonight.
Sanders is being conspired against, and given that around a third of the delegates are up for grabs in California where the states’ Senator Kamala Harris is coming after him, it doesn’t bode well for the Vermont Senator who will be 84 by time the 2024 election takes place. For Sanders, 2020 represents a last chance saloon in politics.
Contrast this multi-pronged and quite frankly unjust Democrat approach to the single-minded approach the Republicans adopt – to ‘Keep America Great’ – a campaign President Trump launched last June.
The recent impeachment trial threatened to put an end to Trump’s presidency, but in reality it reinforced the Republican’s backing for him as all but one of the party’s Supreme Court members (the exception being 2012 Presidential runner Mitt Romney) voted not to remove him from the Whitehouse.
The Republican Party are in as strong a position as they have been for many years.
Trump has essentially stuck to his ‘America first’ approach from 2015 and the launch of his re-election campaign last June simply reinforced that the Republicans are looking at continuation.
There’s certainly no reason to suggest they should think otherwise, the winning formula from the last election will be the winning formula again this year in an even more convincing manner.
Biden or Sanders will try and throw a spanner or two in the works, but to Trump they don’t offer much.
“In fact, one of the Democrats today, said that he – sleepy person… said that he heard from a lot of foreign leaders and they want him to be President. Of course they do, so they can continue to rip off the United States,” Trump said of Biden at his Florida rally last May.
“And then you have Bernie. You’ve got some real beauties. You’ve got a choice between ‘Sleepy Joe’ and ‘Crazy Bernie.’” Trump added.
Indeed, whoever wins out of Biden and Sanders, they only have eight months to put together a winning formula and turn the tables dramatically.
This is a situation Trump knows all too well. He was the firm underdog going into the 2016 Presidential election up against Clinton, but he won majority support in the states of Florida, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – states which endured a shift from Democrat in 2012 to Republican in 2016.
Trump also maintained the support of all 24 states who won a Republican majority in 2012, meaning he won the support of 30 states in America with Clinton claiming the other 20.
Trump ran a very strong campaign and didn’t look to target people from a social class or equality viewpoint. He targeted them on a nationalist viewpoint, meaning he won the support of the American electorate. The core of Trump voters were ordinary working-class Americans – the people who have the biggest say in the way an American election goes.
The division in the Democrat Party right now in contrast to the full support Trump has from the Republican Party (as the impeachment trial shows) is the main factor that’s going to decide the upcoming Presidential election.
Right now, Trump has a 95 percent approval rating in his own party. Republican support will be maintained ahead of this year.
95% Approval Rating in the Republican Party, a Record. 218 Federal Judges, also a Record. 2 Supreme Court Justices. Thank you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 23, 2020
Whoever wins the Super Tuesday vote will simply run against Trump and nothing more.
In terms of writing their name into the history of the Democrat Party, by 2020 Biden or Sanders will likely occupy the same dubious honour as Jeremy Corbyn occupied when he wrote his name into the history of the Labour Party in December 2019.
Like the Labour Party in the UK right now, the Democrat Party in the US has far too much division within it. No matter who wins the Democrat leadership election tonight, these divisions will remain and it will scupper their chances of ousting Trump this year.
Trump’s core of supporters is solid. Right now, the President has as much support amongst Republicans as Roosevelt had amongst Democrats in the 1930s and 40s and when he’s re-elected in November, it certainly won’t happen by accident.