Views on the News: Super Tuesday Predictions
On Feb. 22, United States Democratic Presidential candidates competed for the votes of 36 pledged delegates during the Nevada Caucus. Sen. Bernie Sanders won the caucuses, which demonstrated that he could expand his platform beyond white liberal supporters to minority groups such as Latinos, African Americans and Asian Americans. Does this performance build momentum and prepare him to come out ahead on March 3, Super Tuesday? Of all the current presidential candidates, who do you believe is best equipped to succeed on Super Tuesday, and what is their most likely path to the nomination?
Vandita Malviya Wilson
I believe it is too early to tell, even with Super Tuesday, and all the candidates are flawed. Back in 2016, Sanders, with the anchor of Democratic Socialism, won both New Hampshire and Nevada. Biden skipped Nevada, going directly to South Carolina. Warren has been bubbling for four years, but her campaign has been more notable for its losses, not its wins. Still, we have yet to consider the Bloomberg factor. His ads are great, but we can't say what their impact will be. Buttigieg might be able to eke out a second or third place finish. Klobuchar hasn’t had the resources to make a dent, and won't. And Tom Steyer has only focused on a handful of states. Sanders' campaign talks about things that are determined at the state level, but so far he hasn't been called out on this. In the meantime, the general population fails to realize that the Presidential election is far less meaningful than the elections for Congress and the Senate, and yet it gets an outsized amount of attention. My take: Sanders gets the nomination, and loses the election in the fall.
Vandita Malviya Wilson is an MBA candidate at the Brandeis International Business School and is a senior staff writer at the Justice.
Prof. Maura Jane Farrelly (JOUR)
I’d like to see all news outlets do less “horse race” journalism when it comes to campaigns and more reporting that delves into the costs and possible consequences of the candidates’ various proposals (and also interrogates the cultural, economic, bureaucratic, and political challenges candidates will face in making those proposals a reality). Granted, the kind of journalism I’m calling for IS getting done; when people say “the media” (a vague term…) aren’t covering something, it often means they just haven’t been paying close attention. Good work on the candidates’ policy proposals is being done by journalists. But so long as the horse-race stuff is out there, I’m afraid it’s going to be what attracts people’s attention. Human beings like competitions – and Americans, in particular, seem to like “winners” and “underdogs.” Nevertheless, we might get better elected officials if we weren’t allowed to be distracted by such things.
Maura Jane Farrelly is a professor of American Studies and Journalism.
Prof. Andreas Teuber
While Trump complains that the Democrats and media are causing “his” economy to shrivel by overblowing the threat of the Coronavirus, party candidates for the Party’s nomination are on the ballot in 16 states today, competing for a spot on the ticket to defeat Trump in November. California and Texas are the two big ones with half the delegates at stake in California. The dramatic change from 2016 to 2020 is California’s decision to move its primary from June to “Super Tuesday,” as we are wont to call it, in the hope of (finally) playing a role in who will represent the party in the 2020 national election. Forecasting, however, is a tricky business. Philosophers are terrible at it. But then so are most forecasters. Philosophers do better once results are in, that is, after the fact, although even then they usually cannot be certain which way the wind blows. As one philosopher put it somewhat fancifully in the early 19th century: “The Owl of Minerva spreads its wings only with the fall of dusk.” So ask me again in the wee hours of the morning. Still, it looks as if the Bern will continue and Sanders will snare the most delegates by the time the sun comes up - blunted some by Biden’s win in South Carolina — with “Uncle Joe” in second; and “mini-Mike” in third. How’s that for a non-prognosticator?
Andreas Teuber is an associate professor of Philosophy.
Prof. Gary Samore (POL)
With 1,357 delegates at stake on Super Tuesday, Bernie Sanders will win more delegates than any other candidate, with Joe Biden in second place and Mike Bloomberg in third. Based on his strong win in South Carolina, Biden may deny Sanders a majority of Super Tuesday delegates, if moderate voters rally to Biden as the party's best chance to stop Sanders. Going forward, the nomination will be largely determined by whether third-tier candidates, such as Mike Bloomberg, stay in the race (good for Sanders) or drop out (good for Biden).
Gary Samore is the senior executive director of the Crown Center for Middle East Studies and professor of the practice in politics at Brandeis University.
This question is the question that many voters, pundits, and political scientists are asking: who will be the Democratic nominee? Had I a crystal ball, perhaps this would be easier to answer. We are far too early in this unusually crowded process to make any real predictions about the eventual nominee. For a prediction as to a specific candidate, please refer to the opinion section of any major newspaper. While this drama is compelling, Democrats must contend with the existential crisis gripping their party: a move either towards the left or the center. A progressive candidate and their supporters must accept the reality that they will vie for votes in battleground states in November, potentially jeopardizing a more progressive campaign. Conversely, centrists must contend with a growing progressive faction whose support may be crucial in the primary stage — especially troubling as moderates have not yet coalesced around any one candidate. Regardless of the outcome on Tuesday, a fraying Democratic Party is a liability in November, not an asset.
Daniel Ruggles is a Ph.D. student studying American Politics at Brandeis University.
Of the remaining candidates, Bernie Sanders is best equipped for success on Super Tuesday. Having the grassroots funds from earlier months, he’s already been campaigning there, while other candidates have been in the first four states. Despite Joe Biden’s impressive win in South Carolina, this will likely not materialize into success soon. Unless Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s dropping out throws a substantial wrench into calculations, Sanders is more likely to compound on a strong Super Tuesday showing. That said, the likelihood of a contested convention is very high. Fewer candidates in the race may potentially lessen the margin between Sanders and the others; Sanders has a clear path to the largest number of delegates and/or votes, but not above the needed 50%, so the Party can easily award the nomination to someone else. However, there are two considerations increasingly being accepted. First, the Sanders bloc is demonstrated to be the largest constituent group in the Democratic Party, and it has less loyalty to the party elites. Second, awarding a second or third place candidate with the nomination undermines the Democratic Party’s democratic argument, especially considering frustration with the electoral college in 2000 and 2016. Without including the Sanders bloc, a Democratic Party victory in November is considerably less likely.
Nathanial Walker is a Ph.D. student studying International Relations at Brandeis University.