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The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

Candidates for the Democratic nomination explained


Joseph Biden Jr.

Joseph Biden Jr. is a former Vice President, a position he held from 2009 to 2017. Prior to being Vice President, Biden represented Delaware in the Senate from 1973 to 2009. In the Senate, Biden was a member of the Foreign Relations Committee and the Judiciary Committee. 

Biden’s bases of support are primarily moderate, older and African-American voters. Exit polls from Super Tuesday show Biden beat Bernie Sanders 45% to 19% among moderate voters, who made up three in 10 voters overall, and split somewhat-liberal voters with Sanders. A CNN poll from March found Biden holds a nearly 20-point edge among white voters over Sanders and a 10-point advantage among non-whites thanks to sizable African-American support. The survey also gave Biden a 72% to 17% lead over Sanders among voters age 45 or older.

In debates and at rallies, Biden tends to focus on supporting Obama-era policies and electability. Biden does go beyond many of Obama’s ideas, however, reflecting a more liberal modern Democratic party. On healthcare, Biden supports returning the public option to the Affordable Care Act and expanding Medicare for All and low-income tax credits, which Biden claims will cover an estimated 97% of Americans. On climate change, Biden says he aims to “ensure the U.S. achieves a 100% clean energy economy and reaches net-zero emissions no later than 2050.” His campaign website says he will do this through a series of Executive Orders, using the Green New Deal as a framework. As for electability, the Real Clear Politics Polling Average has Biden up on Donald Trump by 6.5%.

Biden, who has had a long congressional career, as a result has a large number of votes for which his opponents have criticized him. Namely, Biden has come under fire failing to prevent Republican Senators’ attacks on Anita Hill, who accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment at his Supreme Court nomination hearing. Thomas was eventually confirmed, and Biden blocked several witnesses who claimed to be able to corroborate Hill’s story. Biden has also caught flak from other former campaigns for the Democratic nomination for his authorship of the 1994 crime bill, which some criminal justice advocates claim is the key driver of the mass incarceration of minority Americans. Vox explains, however, that the true effect of the bill is likely somewhere in the middle, with most of the increase in incarceration attributed to state policies and not federal legislation. Notably, Bernie Sanders also voted for the bill while in Congress. 

For more information, visit Joe Biden’s website, [penci_text_block block_title_align=”style-title-left”]

Tulsi Gabbard 

Tulsi Gabbard currently represents Hawaii’s 2nd congressional district in the House of Representatives. A former member of the military, Gabbard was elected in 2012 and is the first Hindu and the first Samoan-American member of Congress.

Although Gabbard is one of the final three major candidates, she has virtually no shot of winning the nomination. Gabbard has a 0% chance of winning a majority or plurality of pledged delegates according to FiveThirtyEight, a politics and sports analytics website owned by ABC. FiveThirtyEight’s election model, which is based on polling, past election results and voter demographics projects Gabbard winning an average of 34 pledged delegates across all their simulations. To win the Democratic nomination on the first ballot, one needs 1,991 delegates

For more information, visit Tulsi Gabbard’s website, [/penci_text_block][penci_text_block block_title_align=”style-title-left”]

Bernard Sanders

Bernard Sanders is a Senator for Vermont, a position he has held since 2007. Prior to being elected Senator, Sanders represented Vermont in the House of Representatives from 1991 to 2007 and was the Mayor of Burlington, Vermont from 1981 to 1989. 

Sanders identifies as an Independent in Congress, and is a self-described Democratic-Socialist. This philosophy advocates for a political democracy, but a state-controlled socialist economy. 

Sanders’s main bases of support in the Democratic Party come from young and very-liberal voters. Exit polls from Super Tuesday showed Sanders won voters younger than 30 by 58% to 13% over Biden and those aged 30 to 44 by 44-20%. Very-liberal voters backed Sanders over Biden by 47-18%. Bernie also performs well with Latino voters. 

A core plank of Sanders’s 2020 campaign for president, as well as his 2016 campaign is Medicare for All. The policy is an expansion of Medicare so it covers every American, resulting in a government run national health insurance program. Although Medicare for All would eliminate the costs of deductibles and copays associated with private insurance, it would necessitate a tax increase for the government to be able to afford it. Sanders’s campaign states “Medicare coverage will also be expanded and improved to include: dental, hearing, vision, home- and community-based long-term care, in-patient and out-patient services, mental health and substance abuse treatment, reproductive and maternity care, prescription drugs and more.”

A common criticism of Medicare for All, and other policies Sanders has proposed is the potential spike in government spending. Sanders has proposed numerous tax increases, namely a wealth tax on those with a net worth over $32 million. His campaign calculates the tax would raise $4.35 trillion over the next decade. 

Sanders is also criticized by his opponents for not being able to beat Trump in the general election. A survey conducted among registered voters from Yahoo! News and YouGov in February found that only 35 percent of voters would consider voting for a “democratic socialist,” while 18 percent said they were “not sure.” Other polls do not reflect Sanders having poor electability in the general election, however. The Real Clear Politics Polling Average for a head to head matchup between Trump and Sanders has Sanders up 5%.

For more information, visit Bernie Sanders’s website,[/penci_text_block]

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