The race to be the next president of the United States heats up this week.
This is Trahant Reports.
We have heard from Iowa and New Hampshire — two states that are less representative of the country as a whole — and beginning now a lot more voters will weigh in.
Nevada kicks off the next round with a caucus this weekend. Then South Carolina and then more than thirty contests in March. In fact some two-thirds of the Democratic delegates will be allocated before the end of March.
And Donald J. Trump is cruising through the Republican primaries in states where there is even a contest. There is little question that the GOP will renominate the president — so much so that many states have cancelled the primary vote.
In order to win the nomination, a Democrat must earn 1,991 delegates for the first ballot and 2,375 on the second. This is where it gets interesting. Most of the primary elections are proportional. So a candidate may win the state but only earn a couple more delegates than the other candidate. There is also a bonus if a candidate tops 50 percent … and with this many candidates that’s not likely.
There are a couple of scenarios worth considering.
First, Senator Bernie Sanders could run away with it all. He has an army of volunteers in every state and is now the front-runner. There are establishment Democrats who are uncomfortable with a Sanders nomination. They fear the word “Democratic socialist” will turn off voters and put more states in play for President Trump. But, there is no one “moderate” that people agree on. And candidates are not likely to quit the race just on this point. On the other hand, Sanders is bringing new voters into the process. One exit poll showed that in New Hampshire, Sanders had more votes from young people than all of the other candidates combined. The case for Sanders is that he is bringing about generational change, and that this is not an ordinary election.
The second scenario is that a lot of people will win states. Perhaps it will be former Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Amy Klobuchar, Mayor Pete Buttigeg, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg or Tom Steyer. If that happens there is a chance no candidate gets the magic number to win the nomination. If not, it will be up to the convention to come up with a candidate. The last time that happened was 1960 with John F. Kennedy.
Indian Country will get a voice in the days ahead. Some of the caucuses in Nevada will be in tribal communities. And Indian Country Today has invited candidates to Arizona for a conversation with Native journalists. Plus there will be a national debate in Arizona in March.
A little more than a month from now we may have a clearer picture about the 2020 election.
I am Mark Trahant.