Iowa fiasco, progressives vs. moderates, underdog Pete Buttigieg and “Super Tuesday” in Oklahoma: A SWOSU political science professor provides insight on the Democratic primaries.
By Johannes Becht
On March 3, on the so-called “Super Tuesday,” Republican and Democratic voters from 14 states, including Oklahoma, will cast their vote for their preferred presidential candidate.
While the Republican primaries are likely to not provide any surprises, the Democratic Party is experiencing a race between progressives such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren on the one hand and moderates like Pete Buttigieg and Joe Biden on the other. In Iowa, the first primary, Buttigieg won narrowly against Sanders.
“What Iowa represents is a more divided party than ever,” Dr. Heather Katz, professor of the Social Science Department at SWOSU, says.
In addition to that, Iowa turned out to be a total fiasco for the Democrats since they didn’t manage to provide the election results on time. This, however, is not only a lot of ammunition for the political opponent, but also for the progressive wing of the Democrats, who could argue that the elite is trying to prevent Sanders from becoming the Democratic candidate for the presidential election in November.
“It certainly is embarrassing for the Democratic Party,” Katz agrees. “One of the reactions was ‘if they can’t even run an election, how can they run a country,’ which is not particularly fair, but it does make for a good soundbite.”
The biggest surprise in Iowa was certainly the results of Buttigieg, 38 years old and former mayor of South Bend, Indiana.
“He represents a youthful vibe that even Obama represented when he first ran,” Katz says. “He is not necessarily part of the establishment, but he is also not trying to challenge it in the way populists like Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are. Joe Biden is often considered the safe choice, but perhaps, Buttigieg represents something new Democrats want to see from their candidates from now on.”
Who will take the Sooner State?
So could “Mayor Pete” win the primaries in Oklahoma?
“He could have a chance, but I have the feeling that Bernie’s gonna take Oklahoma again,” Katz says. “In 2016, he beat out Hillary Clinton by over 10 points.”
Another reason Katz suggests is “The populist wave has a lot to do with why people are both supporting Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. People are dissatisfied with the way things are and these candidates both promised significant changes.”
Additionally, Katz thinks, Sanders has a big base and a great recognition factor in Oklahoma, even bigger than Elizabeth Warren, who was born and raised in the Sooner State.