Picture: Sky News https://news.sky.com/feature/the-ultimate-guide-to-the-2020-us-presidential-race-11608694

What are the Primaries?

Every election year, the US political parties select their presidential candidates, by holding primaries and caucuses. This is done by voters choosing who their preferred candidate is, either by ballot or dividing into groups at meetings. Who can vote varies by state, but often requires membership to the party.

These votes impact how many delegates a candidate gets, which is done proportionally or through a winner takes all system. In order to win the party’s nomination, the candidate must win a majority of delegates.

The parties then confirm their candidate at their respective party conventions. For the Republicans this is from the 15th – 18th of July and the 19th – 22nd of August for the Democrats.

Despite the majority of states yet to vote, front runners, Joe Biden and Donald Trump have already made their mark.

The Democratic Party:

The Democrats’ current top presidential candidate is incumbent President Joe Biden, who has won all 91 of the delegates in the Democratic primaries so far. Biden’s campaign is set on countering right-wing extremism and protecting individual rights and freedoms, through protecting social security measures, medicare, abortion rights, and LGBTQ+ rights.

At 81 years old, there are increasing concerns about Biden’s mental fitness. Despite this, he has retained the backing of the Democratic party and has made statements such as ‘I know what the hell I’m doing’ in an effort to affirm his ability to serve as President.

Another issue, which the Biden administration has been criticized for it it’s response to the Israeli-Palestine conflict, because of limited humanitarian aid in Gaza, and continued supply of arms to the Israeli military despite their human rights abuses.

In response to these concerns and the continued violence in the Middle East Biden has placed conditions on military aid for all US allies that states to receive aid must provide written assurances that they have adhered to international law.

Despite these critiques, Biden remains the strongest candidate and is likely to be awarded the Democratic nomination.

Countering Biden for the Democratic nomination is Congressmen Dean Phillips, who is yet to win in any delegates, but continues to campaign regardless. Phillips’ campaign hinges on concerns for Biden’s age and his belief that if Biden is the Democrat’s candidate, they would lose to the Republicans in November.

The core narrative of his campaign is affordability, with plans to support Medicare, build affordable housing, provide tuition-free college, and raise the minimum wage. While Phillips did not appear in Nevada’s primary ballot due to a missed deadline, he will be on the ballot in Michigan on February 27th.

The Republican Party:

Leading the Republican race is former president Donald Trump who has won 63 delegates following the Nevada caucus. Returning from his loss in 2020 and the January 6th Capital riot, Trump’s 2024 campaign continues with his “Make America Great Again” slogan, combined with a populist and anti-establishment focus.

His proposals include tax and regulation cuts, increased border controls and police funding, removing the US from foreign wars, banning censorship, and overhauling federal organizations.

Trump has also made statements on foreign policy, stating a desire to stop the “endless flow of American treasure to Ukraine” saying that he would not protect fellow NATO countries that haven’t met spending targets. Despite his radical views, Trump maintains a strong voter base and has proven that he can mobilize them, so he will likely continue to receive delegates as the primaries continue.

The strongest competition for Trump in the Republican primaries so far is Nikki Haley, despite only winning 17 delegates from the three states that have voted so far. Previously, Haley served as governor of South Carolina from 2010 and was also the US ambassador to the United Nations from 2016 after she was nominated by then-President Donald Trump.

Haley’s campaign is framed in accountability and transparency, with a focus on anti-abortion, strict immigration laws, veteran support, the protection of the Second Amendment rights, defense of Israel, and strict actions against Russia and China. To separate herself from Trump, Haley has made statements supporting NATO and the US’s continued protection of NATO countries.

There is another candidate in the Republican race; Ryan Binkley, a pastor and president of a business consultancy groups. These roles have characterized his campaign, which contains proposals to decrease federal deficits, promoting business competition in healthcare and limiting abortion access. In terms of foreign policy, Binkley closely aligns with Haley and Trump, supporting Israel and a desire to stand against China.

Whilst there are plenty of states still to vote, it looks unlikely that it won’t be another Biden v Trump race for the 2024 presidency.

Edited By: Christina Major (News Editor)


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