Democratic contest shaping up to be a battle between Sanders and Buttigieg

World | 12 Feb 2020 2:53 pm

Bernie Sanders won New Hampshire’s presidential primary Tuesday night, edging moderate rival Pete Buttigieg and scoring the first clear victory in the Democratic Party’s chaotic 2020 nomination fight.

In his win, the 78-year-old Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, beat back a strong challenge from the 38-year-old former mayor of South Bend, Indiana. The dueling Democrats represent different generations, see divergent paths to the nomination and embrace conflicting visions of America’s future.

As Sanders and Buttigieg celebrated, Amy Klobuchar scored an unexpected third-place finish that gives her a road out of New Hampshire as the primary season moves on to the string of state-by-state contests that lie ahead.

Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden posted disappointing fourth and fifth place finishes respectively and were on track to finish with zero delegates from the state.

The New Hampshire vote gives new clarity to a Democratic contest shaping up to be a battle between two men separated by four decades in age and clashing political ideologies. Sanders is a leading progressive voice, having spent decades demanding substantial government intervention in health care and other sectors of the economy. Buttigieg has pressed for more incremental change , preferring to give Americans the option of retaining their private health insurance while appealing to Republicans and independents who may be dissatisfied with Trump.

Their disparate temperaments were on display Tuesday as they spoke before cheering supporters.

“We are gonna win because we have the agenda that speaks to the needs of working people across this country,” Sanders declared. “This victory here is the beginning of the end for Donald Trump.”

Buttigieg struck an optimistic tone: “Thanks to you, a campaign that some said shouldn’t be here at all has shown that we are here to stay.”

Both men have strength heading into the next phase of the campaign, yet they face very different political challenges.

While Warren made clear she will remain in the race, Sanders, well-financed and with an ardent army of supporters, has cemented his status as the clear leader of the progressive wing of the party.

Meanwhile, Buttigieg must prove he can attract support from voters of color who are critical to winning the nomination.

And unlike Sanders, he still has multiple rivals in his own ideological wing of the party to contend with. They include Klobuchar, whose standout debate performance led to a late surge in New Hampshire and a growing national following.

While deeply wounded, Biden promises strength in upcoming South Carolina. And though former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg was not on Tuesday’s ballot, he looms next month when the contest reaches states offering hundreds of delegates.-AP

 

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