January 13, 2020

Are You Still Interested in the 2020 Democratic Primary?

woman with braids

The Iowa caucuses will be here soon, and that means those of us living in the U.S. who plan to vote in the Democratic primary will soon have the opportunity to do so. This is usually a big deal for me since it is one of the only times my vote counts at the national level. And yet, I find myself less interested in this primary and who wins it than any I can recall. In part, I think that's because we have a fairly good crop of candidates. I'd be comfortable supporting any of those who are still in the race if they were to win the primary and compete in the general election. I think this is a big part of why I am less interested in the outcome.

All of the candidates are flawed in various ways, and I'm not "in love" with any of them. I think that's another part of why I am less interested in the outcome. Even though I could probably manage to rank-order the remaining candidates in order of preference, the gaps between them aren't huge. Of course, I recognize that not everybody feels that way. I also recognize that being willing to support someone and enthusiastically supporting them are not the same thing. It is not clear to me that voters who are genuinely excited about one candidate will feel similarly about another if their choice does not win the primary. If what they say about Democrats needing to fall in love with a candidate is true, we could be in trouble.

I suppose another reason for my lack of enthusiasm about this primary is that I still don't think any of the Democratic candidates is likely to defeat Trump in the general election. His support among his base remains strong, and I am skeptical that any of the Democratic candidates will be able to generate similar enthusiasm heading into the general election. Perhaps this won't matter as much this year as long as none of the Democratic candidates end up having record-high negatives like we saw in 2016. That is the one thing that gives me some cause for optimism.

I plan to watch the final Democratic debate. I'll be doing so as an undecided atheist voter since I am still not completely sure which of the remaining candidates I prefer. I am leaning toward Elizabeth Warren, but I also like Pete Buttigieg. I like Amy Klobuchar too, but I don't think she has any chance unless Biden collapses. What about Bernie Sanders? I supported him in 2016 but hoped he would not run again in 2020. I think he's run a better campaign this time, and I have found him more impressive as the race has gone on. I don't think he will be my first choice, but I would not rule him out either. Since I don't live in Iowa or New Hampshire, I still have some time to decide.