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    • Democratic canidates introducing themselves at the first debate.

Political Primary Primer for Fall 2019

Sophie Sonnenfeld ’21 Op-Ed Editor
On Tuesday, November 3, 2020, current Hopkins juniors and seniors will have the opportunity to vote for the first time in the presidential election.
As of October 1, 2019, our Hopkins student voters have 19 Democratic and 4 Republican candidates from which to choose. Although the election is more than a year away, the heads of Young Democrats and Young Republicans are already planning a joint Political Discussion Series.

For the Democrats, Former Vice President Joe Biden, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders emerged as the three
main front runners in recent polls. The September 22 Politico poll placed Biden at 32%, Warren at 20%, and Sanders at 19%. Other Democratic candidates that made it in the top ten include: California Senator Kamala Harris; Mayor of South Bend, Indiana Pete Buttigieg; former Texas Representative Beto O’Rourke; Entrepreneur Andrew Yang; New Jersey Senator Cory Booker; Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar; and Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard. Of these candidates, there are a record number of women and people of color running.

In 2018, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) slated 12 DNC debates to take place, six during 2019 and the remaining six for the first four months of
2020. At the time this article was written, some logistics including an official candidate list and timing of the next debate on October 15 were still being determined. The debate was moderated by CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Erin Burnett as well as New York Times National Editor Marc Lacey. CNN, The New York Times, BBC, and other news analysts disagreed over who won and lost in the debates, but candidates differentiated themselves in terms of strategic attack and defense, public speaking and debating ability, and policy.

For this election, there will be 50 primaries and seven caucuses in Iowa, Nevada, Wyoming, and four territories. The primaries and caucuses lead up to the 2020 Democratic National Convention which is scheduled to take place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin from July 13 to 16, 2020.

Aaron Gruen ’21, said he feels the Democratic primaries are important in order to determine the direction of the Democratic Party. “There are so many monumental issues, such as climate change, healthcare, and taxes, and every candidate has a different take on each. I think it’s important that we debate and discuss in these early stages of the primaries, as these candidates are the future of our country.”

Environmental activist Julia Kosinski ’21 said she is not in support of any specific candidate at the moment but feels the primaries are important because “it allows a political party to unite behind a candidate.”

Similar to the Democratic Party Presidential Primaries, states and US territories will hold 2020 Republican Party presidential primaries and send delegates to the 2020 Republican National Convention, which will be in Charlotte, North Carolina on August 24 to 27, 2020.

In September, Kansas, South Carolina, and Nevada state committees, as well as the Arizona and Alaska Republican Parties, decided to cancel their primaries and caucuses. “As a general rule, when either party has an incumbent president in the White House, there’s no rationale to hold a primary,” said South Carolina GOP Chairman Drew McKissick.

Head of Young Republicans Alessandro Amoedo ’20 is a Trump supporter but said he does care about primaries. “[The Primaries] allow the viewer to experience what each candidate offers in a much more specific scenery than a presidential debate.”

Amoedo said he thinks debates are sometimes the best way to learn from other people and is always interested to talk with friends who have different political opinions. While Amoedo has political discussions with peers during activities or free time, some of Amoedo’s classes have discouraged talking about politics after the 2016 elections. “I think certain teachers are very outspoken about their beliefs in class and sometimes that scares away kids from expressing their opinions if they are not the same.”

Head of Young Democrats Nate Meyers ’22 said his classes have not talked about politics either. “I understand why teachers don’t speak about it, but I still think discussing politics leads to some vibrant and fun debate. When it’s controlled, [it] can be very beneficial in introducing contrasting points of view to the world.”

To get involved in politics at Hopkins, Amoedo suggests students join Young Democrats or Young Republicans. “Young Democrats and Young Republicans are a great way to get involved in a political scene. The Political Discussion Series will be coming back, so people with different ideas can discuss as well.”
Gruen said although most Hopkins students can’t vote, “we can inspire others to vote on our behalf for the issues we care about. I’ll be able to vote in 2020, but regardless of the Democratic nominee, I have plans to knock on doors, make phone calls, and volunteer in any way I can.”


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