Months Before the First Primaries, Democrats Struggle to Identify a Frontrunner

In contrast to the Republican Party’s steadfast unity behind current incumbent Donald Trump’s re-election, the Democratic Party remains largely divided among the three frontrunners Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren. The Democratic race has narrowed down significantly, with several candidates having already dropped out, but the party has yet to settle on one particular candidate. Despite being just months away from the first primaries, the selection for the Democratic nominee still remains up in the air. Each candidate has his or her own strengths and weaknesses, but the question that everybody wants to know, of who will be locking horns with Trump next November, remains unanswered.

In 2016, Bernie Sanders’ campaign was considered a new frontier by many. His borderline-radical socialist ideals immediately attracted a solid base of supporters; however, it also left many people on the fence about his extremism. Over the months leading up to the primaries, Sanders’ support swelled, and many believed that he had the nomination locked down. Despite Sanders being seemingly unstoppable, Hillary Clinton beat him out in the end. Sanders resiliently delved back into the campaign process early this time around, confident in his abilities to succeed. Unfortunately for Sanders, his once never-heard-before ideas of universal healthcare, income reforms, and “Democratic Socialism” as a whole are no longer considered original. Elizabeth Warren and Andrew Yang also possess similar ideas. With Sanders losing the originality that gave him an advantage in 2016, many people believe that there is no distinction between him and the rest of the Democrats, and his chances of success are even lower as a result.

Former Vice President Joe Biden is a familiar, comforting figure for many Americans. Having already been in the public eye for decades serving in the Obama Administration and the Senate gives him a significant advantage; polls from previous Congressional and Presidential elections demonstrate that voters are generally more comfortable voting for a recognizable official as a way of “playing it safe.” Joe Biden’s campaign, to many, is the definition of “playing it safe.” He is arguably one of the most reactionary candidates out of all of the Democrats and does not possess the same furor for major policy reforms as the other top runners, making him the obvious choice for most centrist-leaning Democrats. Polls from Fox News and the Economist place Biden in first place, but the margin of error could be much larger than the polls let on. Furthermore, it is important to note that in terms of campaign funding, Biden lags significantly behind both Sanders and Warren, with only a third of what they each have to spend.

Elizabeth Warren, similarly to Biden, self-identifies as a Democratic Socialist, pushing for Medicare For All, a higher minimum wage, and increased taxes on the wealthy. Most polls indicate that she and Biden are neck-and-neck, but the campaign budget deficit that Biden is facing, Warren’s significantly more radical views, and Biden’s 8-year tenure as Vice President are all factors that could very well turn the tide either way. Despite the fact that several newscast polls show Biden taking the top spot, most polls conducted by universities put Warren leagues ahead of every other candidate. This may be due to the fact that Warren is adamant about young workers having a leg up in the real world and the elimination of student debt. These are all factors that likely cater to young university students.

While the Democratic party is still largely divided between the top three primary candidates, this does not necessarily give Trump the upper hand. In fact, the recent controversy about the Ukrainian phone call and a potential quid pro quo has somewhat united the Democrats around the idea of impeaching Trump. While a conviction in the Senate is unlikely, impeachment by the House would most definitely leave a smudge on Trump’s reputation and hinder his chances of being re-elected. With the primaries still months away, it is much too early to determine who will secure the Democratic nomination. One thing is for certain, however. Whoever the Democratic nominee is, he or she will be able to unite the entire party behind a campaign for Trump’s defeat, or impeachment.