WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- After the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary, the Democratic Party has a new frontrunner: Senator Bernie Sanders.
- The senator is now the favorite to win the party’s presidential nomination.
- The biggest change is that former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg is now in second place.
Now that the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary behind us, the shape of the 2020 Democratic field is becoming clearer.
Clearly, the Top 2 spots were filled by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who took the top spots in each of the first two contests.
According to CNN, Sanders is the front-runner for now — for a few reasons. First, Sanders has some demonstrated appeal among black and Latino voters, who will start to have a much bigger say in the nomination fight beginning with the Nevada caucuses on February 22.
Buttigieg remains a wholly unproven commodity among those influential voting blocs. He may benefit from momentum gathered in the first two states but that remains to be seen.
Second, no one can raise money like Sanders. His vast online small-dollar donor base is the envy of every other candidate in the field, providing him a massive influx of cash seemingly whenever he needs it. (Sanders raised $25 million in January alone.)
Sanders is fully equipped to go the distance (and beyond) in the primary and caucus process over the next months. Buttigieg, while drastically overperforming fundraising expectations throughout 2019, still isn’t in the same universe as Sanders.
Third, Sanders has done this whole national campaign thing before. He ran in every primary and caucus against Hillary Clinton in 2016. That helped him build organizations in most if not all of these states. It exposed him to voters. And it taught him how to pace himself to survive the slog. That’s a big edge — especially considering that Buttigieg has never even run for statewide office before.
Here are the top five candidates most likely to wind up as the Democratic presidential nominee against President Donald Trump in November.
1. Bernie Sanders – He has received the most votes in Iowa and New Hampshire and has taken the lead in the national polls.
2. Pete Buttigieg – the most naturally talented candidate left in the race, and he’s turning his potential into actual votes — winning in Iowa and coming in a surprisingly close second in New Hampshire.
3. Joe Biden – Following a disappointing fourth-place finish in Iowa, and an even weaker fifth-place showing in New Hampshire, the former vice president stumbled in the national polls in the aftermath.
4. Michael Bloomberg – The former New York City mayor has spent upwards of $350 million on advertising, which appears to be working as he is rapidly rising in national polls and in states set to vote on March 3 and later.
5. Amy Klobuchar – Following a strong debate performance last Friday, Klobuchar catapulted herself to an impressive third-place finish (at 20%) in the New Hampshire primary. However, she hasn’t won a contest yet and is well behind in the national polls.