Meeting the Candidates
Night one of the primary season of the US Presidential Election was chaos, but before I can get into that, we have to meet the candidates.
Former Vice-President Joe Biden
Joe Biden served in the US Senate from 1972-2009 before serving as President Obama's VP for eight years. The majority of his case for the presidency relies on his time as Obama's VP, giving Biden a lot of support in the African-American community where he is the highest polling candidate. This is significant as minority voters often have higher turnout in Democratic primaries. Biden is a moderate, return-to-normalcy candidate, pushing a public option for healthcare and working across the aisle with Republicans. His path to the nomination relies on electability and beating Donald Trump.
Major Pete Buttigieg
The mayor of a city of 100,000 in Indiana has gained a significant following and built up a ground-game in key early states that will make him a contender throughout the primary season. After losing the election for Indiana State Treasurer in 2010, Mayor Pete relies on a message of generational change and young support for his bid for the presidency. The other candidates question Pete's age, experience and palatability to the nation as a 38-year-old gay mayor who lost running for a minor state position. Pete has virtually no support in the African-American community but left Iowa with the most delegates, placing him in the upper tier of Democratic contenders for President.
Senator Elizabeth Warren
The Senator from Massachusetts, Warren's campaign is all about economic inequality and changing the American economy to work for the average American. Although not a socialist, she is pushing for a wealth tax and overall tax increases on wealthy people to fund programs such as universal healthcare and student debt relief. Her campaign relies on individual donors giving $5 or $10 online, and a progressive movement within the Democratic Party that wants significant reform without the label of socialism.
Senator Bernie Sanders
The Senator from Vermont, Bernie ran against Hillary Clinton for the nomination in 2016. He has a significant number of young people and progressives behind his brand of democratic socialism which pushes Medicare For All, free university tuition, a federal jobs guarantee and many other large government programs. He plans to pay for this through tax increases on the middle and upper classes. The danger for Sanders comes with his electability. Socialism is a dangerous proposition for any candidate hoping for major office in the US, and many Democratic voters are wary of a self-described socialist facing Donald Trump.
Businessman, Andrew Yang
It will be hard to hold back my bias here, Yang is my favourite candidate, but I will try and give him a fair look. Andrew Yang's rise as the AI/Automation/UBI candidate has come thanks to an online fanbase that has moved him from 0% to 6% in a year. His support comes from the youngest and most diverse group in the democratic field, and centres around Yang's central proposal, the Freedom Dividend, which is a universal basic income of $1,000 a month to every American adult for life. Yang warns about a changing economy which will see the majority of American jobs replaced by robots and automation in the next few years, and his followers believe he is the only candidate who can fix it. After a disappointing finish in Iowa, Yang has promised that he has the money and support to stay in the race until the end.
Billionaire, Tom Steyer
Tom Steyer has focused on climate change for the majority of his campaign, making it the centrepiece of his platform. He has tried to make himself the climate change candidate, believing that his success as a businessman will translate to success in the White House and that the best way to beat a millionaire might be running another billionaire. His support is minimal, but he certainly has the funds to continue in the race as long as he likes.