Tag Archives: Joe Biden

What to Look for in Tonight’s Democratic Debate

Unlike the previous three-ring circuses put on by the Republicans, tonight’s debate will only have five candidates.  More importantly, with so few candidates, there is little need for the candidates to go after each other at this point of the race.  Rather, what each candidate needs to accomplish in this debate has very little to do with the other candidates.  With that said, here is my take on what the candidate’s goals need to be heading into the debate.

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Pre-Labor Day Reflection: The State of the Presidential Race — Democratic Primary

Presidential primary races follow a somewhat predictable path.  We are nearing the end of the first stage of the race for both parties — the stage in which candidates enter the race or decide not to enter the race (or leave the race when their initial efforts as a candidate prove underwhelming).   Time is starting to run out for candidates to enter the race as the last time a candidate won their party’s nomination while skipping the early primaries is 1968.

Right now the field can be split into three tiers.  In tier one, there is Secretary Clinton.  Even in the most unfavorable polls, she is getting near 50% of the vote nationally (roughly the same numbers that she got in 2008).  As long as Secretary Clinton is getting near 50%, it will be very difficult for another candidate to win the nomination given the Democratic proportionality rules.

In the second tier, you have Senator Sanders and Vice-President Biden.  Both are polling well enough that they will get some delegates.  Senator Sanders is more the anti-Clinton candidate and appeals to those who think that the party needs to run a more liberal candidate.  Vice-President Biden is more the not Clinton candidate, appealing to those who think that Secretary Clinton has too many vulnerabilities to win the general election.  Of course, Vice-President Biden has not yet entered the race.  If he decides not to run, some significant portion of those currently supporting him will decide to hold their noses and support Secretary Clinton.  While it is too early to project individual states, Senator Sanders appears to be competitive in Iowa and New Hampshire.  His problem is that both states are likely to be narrow wins.  While there are some other early states that Senator Sanders might narrowly win (although he may comfortably win Vermont on March 1), Secretary Clinton is favored to win other states by large margins.  Vice-President Biden does not currently have any early states that appear to be places where he can win.  Slightly over half (2,050 out of 3,760) of the pledged delegates come from states that hold their first tier (either a primary or local caucuses) by March 15.  While delegate counts from the caucus states are tentative, if Secretary Clinton is at or over 1,000 delegates, and neither of the other two candidates is over 800 delegates, there will be pressure for Senator Sanders and Vice-President Biden to suspend their campaigns.

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