March 6, 2016

Iowa and New Hampshire Primaries Highlight Clinton and Sanders

Alissa Lampert ‘18


As the 2016 presidential election is quickly approaching, candidates are using many tactics to draw voters over to their side.
The most recent democratic debate took place on January 17, between Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, Secretary Hillary Clinton, and Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley before the Iowa Caucus.
The night’s focus was to give the candidates one last shot at explaining their plans, reforms and hopes if they were to become president. Taking place just weeks before the first caucus, this debate was mostly Sanders and Clinton trying to prove themselves through heated arguments, while O’Malley was seen as a sideshow and had to fight just for time to speak.
Voters kept this debate in mind on February 1, the day of the Iowa Primaries. A night filled with campaigning and trying to convince voters to join sides, the Iowa Caucus is the first view of the nation’s political stance.
The night ended with a tie between Sanders and Clinton, while O’Malley made the decision to drop out of the race entirely. While Sanders and Clinton were fighting to gain the upper hand, O’Malley was struggling to gain even a percent of the voters, so he thanked his supporters and left. This forced the few remaining O’Malley supporters to pick between Sanders and Clinton.
After many hours, the officiators decided to break the tie with a coin toss. Clinton won the toss and was declared victor.
However, this unexpected tie in Iowa showed how drastically voters’ stances can change over just a few months. When Sanders entered the race towards the end of May, he was losing to Clinton by almost 50 points; however, at the first set of primaries, he was neck-and-neck with Clinton.
The New Hampshire primaries further exemplified this, as Sanders held a 22 percent gain over Clinton when the primaries finished.

Sanders’ gain on Clinton coupled with O’Malley’s dropout gives the Democratic side of this election new perspective. As the primaries transpire, the feud between Sanders and Clinton will become more heated and voters will need to pick their favorite of the two strong contenders.

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