Who Supports Who in The Democratic Primary for President?

Which Coalition is Backing Each Major Candidate?

By: Dejon Virgo

The four top polling candidates at the fifth Democratic debate in Atlanta. Credit: slate.com

The question of who will win the Democratic nomination is still up in the air with many polls showing former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Sen. Bernie Sanders leading nationally and Mayor Pete Buttigieg rising in early state polls like Iowa and New Hampshire. 

One way to judge candidates is to see their supporters and coalitions. Candidates like Sanders and Biden tend to have multi-racial working class coalitions that are committed while other candidates have mostly white upper-class coalitions that are not as committed. 

One should also look at the media moments of former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Sen. Kamala Harris, Warren, and Buttigieg. All of them had a bump in the polls and a media moment. 

O’Rourke had a tight loss to Ted Cruz in Texas for the Senate. Harris caused some controversy after her smack down of Biden on race at the first debate.

Warren, after her positive media coverage and good debate performances, plus Buttigieg’s media coverage after his somewhat impressive four debates. 

Right now Buttigieg is rising in Iowa and New Hampshire while Warren is losing half of her support in these states. Nationally, this shows that the white liberal base still has not picked a candidate to get behind. 

They first got behind Beto, then Kamala, then Warren, and now Buttigieg.

The media plays a big role in making these types of candidates. It’s hard to believe that any of these candidates would be rising with positive coverage from the mainstream media who typically prefer established candidates. 

The media even tries to emphasize Sen. Amy Klobuchar but it seems like voters are not buying the same old neo-corporate policies that Klobuchar is trying to sell to the American people. 

A good question to ask is why do Sanders and Biden have similar coalitions, yet vast differences in policies?

 The answer is simple: voters don’t vote based on policy or ideology- they vote based on feeling and emotion. Sanders plays to the emotion of anger at the establishment that has let the working class people of this country down. 

Biden plays to nostalgia going back to America before Donald Trump took office and continuing the Obama-era policies that many in the Democratic Party believe are good. 

This also explains why Buttigieg and Warren are fighting for the same coalitions even though they have different ideologies. 

Another reason for Biden and Sanders’ similar coalitions is that they both play to class politics with a generational gap. Sanders represents a new path for the Democratic Party with more leftist policies which are popular with the working class and younger voters.

Biden represents a status quo for the party and the neo-corporate policies of the past 30 years, which are popular with the well-off working class and older voters.

Sanders has been fighting for the same policies for about 40 years, which shows that he’s consistent and will enact the plans he announces. 

Meanwhile, Biden ties himself to the most popular politician in the Democratic Party, Barack Obama, which is why lots of African Americans in South Carolina support Biden. 

African American support is mostly broken down on generational grounds with Biden doing best with the older and Sanders doing well with the younger. 

The multi-racial working class could be the coalition that will need to turn out if any Democrat wants to beat Trump in 2020. 


Categories: Politics

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