Democratic Primary News

Warren wins endorsements, but loses ground in Iowa. Sanders moves up in the polls.

Elizabeth Warren
Democratic senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts gives a speech in Bloomfield Township, Iowa, January 19 (Phil Roeder)
  • Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren have been endorsed by The New York Times.
  • Warren has also been endorsed by The Des Moines Register, the top newspaper in Iowa.
  • Bernie Sanders has once again apologized to a fellow candidate for the tactics of his supporters. In an op-ed that Sanders’ campaign promoted in their newsletter, failed congressional candidate Zephyr Teachout accuses Joe Biden of corruption. Another Sanders ally, Nina Turner, earlier accused Biden of “betraying” black voters. Sanders has apologized, just like he apologized to Warren for instructing supporters to describe her as the candidate of wealthy white liberals. It’s the same pattern NBC described at the time: “Sanders, his supporters and his surrogates go on the attack; Sanders downplays or dismisses the attacks; and the party becomes more divided.”
  • Iowa Democrats caucus in a week from now, on February 3.

Who is ahead?

  • Michael Bloomberg now ties with Pete Buttigieg in national polls at 7-8 percent. Sanders for the first time polls above 20 percent. Biden remains in the lead with close to 30 percent.
  • Sanders was losing support in Iowa, going down from an average of 22 to 17 percent, but he is up in recent polls, beating Biden into second place with 25 against 22 percent support.
  • Sanders is also ahead in New Hampshire, where Biden’s support has fallen from a high of 23 to 15 percent.
  • Biden still leads in Nevada and South Carolina.
  • Biden is also ahead in the endorsement primary, having won the support of fourteen more members of Congress as well as the mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, since the beginning of the year. Warren is catching up, but most of her recent endorsements have come from party and state officials.

How the Iowa caucuses work

Iowa will allocate 41 of its 49 delegates to the nominating convention in July based on the outcome of the caucuses on February 3.

The remaining eight delegates will be five members of the Democratic National Committee and Iowa’s three Democratic members of Congress. They will be unpledged delegates, or superdelegates, who can vote for any candidate (although they cannot be tiebreakers on the first ballot). Three have endorsed Biden and one Buttigieg.

To qualify for pledged delegates, who are bound on the first ballot, candidates usually need 15 percent support at a given caucus site. That puts Warren in the danger zone. She is polling at an average of 13.5 percent statewide. Klobuchar, who is polling at 8.5 percent, is likely to end her presidential bid unless she stages a surprise comeback.

Things could change at individual caucus places. Supporters of candidates who don’t meet the 15 percent threshold will be allowed to switch. Given that caucus sites are usually small, a mere handful of votes could make the difference between qualifying or not.

CNN has more.

Read more

  • Kurt Bardella on the ugly tactics of Sanders’ most fanatical supporters on social media.
  • Ezra Klein on why, despite polarization, Democrats still need to appeal to the center while Republicans can move to the right: their coalition (white, Christian, rural and small-town) is more homogenous than Democrats’ and America’s electoral system gives disproportionate power to the areas where Republicans live.
  • Richard North Patterson on how Trump would destroy Sanders in a general election campaign.
  • Politico on the Democratic establishment’s Catch-22: attack Sanders and risk galvanizing his supporters or leave him alone and watch him continue to gather momentum.

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