Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, speaks during a campaign event in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, U.S., on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020.(Bloomberg)
Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, speaks during a campaign event in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, U.S., on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020.(Bloomberg)

Democrats kick off nominating contest for 2020 presidential election

Despite being a small and mostly white state, Iowa caucuses are critical to the race. Democrats who won the Iowa caucuses in recent decades went on to also win the party nomination — Al Gore in 2000, John Kerry in 2004, Barack Obama in 2008 and Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Hindustan Times, Washington | By Yashwant Raj
UPDATED ON FEB 03, 2020 10:35 PM IST

Democrats kick off their nominating contest for the 2020 president election with Iowa caucuses Monday with Senator Bernie Sanders clearly ahead in polls followed by, according to the RealClearPolitics average of polls, former Vice-President Joe Biden, Senator Elizabeth Warren and former Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

Despite being a small and mostly white state, Iowa caucuses are critical to the race. Democrats who won the Iowa caucuses in recent decades went on to also win the party nomination — Al Gore in 2000, John Kerry in 2004, Barack Obama in 2008 and Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Sanders had narrowly lost the 2016 caucuses to Clinton. And he has a “powerful ground game” this time, John Zogby, a political strategist and pollster, said, adding, “It’s enough to suggest that if he wins outright or wins – if he comes in the top two, Bernie Sanders actually has a chance to go all the way and win the nomination”.

Biden, some experts have contended, can survive a defeat in Iowa and make up in the next states, but not Warren, who has seen her poll numbers slide in recent weeks Buttigieg, who has been called the “breakout star” of the 2020 race, is said to have peaked too early and his campaign may have “lost its footing” recently.

Senator Amy Klobuchar, who is polling in the fifth position, has been rising and “speaks Midwestern talk and Midwestern values” very well in Iowa, being from Minnesota, another midwestern state. Others in the race include entrepreneur AndrewYang, billionaire Tom Steyer, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and, another billionaire, Michael Bloomberg.

Republicans will also caucus on Monday, but only nominally as President Donald Trump faces no serious challenger for the party nomination. His campaign has still sent some 80 surrogates to these caucuses.

Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg is being watched closely. Though his millions in ad spent have not started reflecting in polls yet, he is seen by some as a candidate the Democratic establishment might rally around should Biden fail, to take on the progressive Sanders.

Zogby, who worked on Bloomberg’s campaign for New York City mayor, believes the former mayor needs to watched. His approach might look unorthodox, he said, “but after the complete lack of orthodoxy in 2016 (President Donald Trump’s campaign), where we used to say anything can happen but now, we say, well, anything did happen, Mike Bloomberg can go all the way”.

Trump impeachment

Meanwhile, House impeachment managers and the president’s lawyers will present their closing arguments in ongoing Trump impeachment trial in the Senate on Monday, which will be followed by speeches from senators until Wednesday afternoon when the chamber will vote on the two articles of impeachment passed against the President by the House of Representatives last December. He is expected to be acquitted.

State of the Union Tuesday

President Trump will deliver Tuesday his fourth State of the Union speech, in which he is expected to make his case for a second term in the elections due in November. He will become only the second US president to deliver the state of the union during an impeachment trial, after Bill Clinton in 1999.

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