Joe Biden’s success Super Tuesday primary elections shocked Democrat voters, many of whom expected a much stronger turnout for Bernie Sanders. Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, and Mike Bloomberg have all dropped out of the race, and Biden now stands as the frontrunner. Before the South Carolina primary on Feb. 29, Sanders was the favored candidate. Now, after Biden took the majority in 10 out of 14 Super Tuesday primaries, he’s projected to win the nomination. “Election betting odds have gone from 8% chance of Biden winning the primary to 85%,” said Professor of Political Science Derick Hulme.
Biden’s success was the result of a lot of good timing.
“The key thing for Biden was getting the endorsement from Jim Clyburn and then winning by 30 points,” said Hulme, “Suddenly the psychology of everything changed.”
That change in psychology was exactly what Biden needed to be taken seriously and the results speak for themselves. Biden was no longer just another candidate with nothing new to say. Instead, he represents a more stable, moderate substitute for Sanders. On top of that, he alienates fewer independent voters and therefore stands a better chance against Trump in the presidential election. “I don’t think the Democrats want to put forward a full-on socialist like Bernie Sanders,” said Reo Donnelly, (’23). “I think it’s going to come down to Trump vs. Biden.”
The Michigan primaries are coming up and students all over campus are getting involved. Increasingly, young people are engaging with politics. Social media has allowed young people to get involved in ways that weren’t possible before. However, young people still aren’t voting. Sanders was relying on young voters to turn out in the primary elections, but they just didn’t show up to vote for him or anyone else.
Many young people feel apathetic about voting, whether they don’t think their vote matters, or they don’t like their options for candidates, they ultimately choose not to vote. They don’t like being forced to choose between the ‘lesser of two evils’.
“This year I’m choosing not to vote. I know that makes people mad, but I rest easier knowing that I didn’t give either candidate my support,” said Ethan Zalac, (’22).
However, young people are situated to vote in elections that really matter. The leaders we elect now will have impacts that will affect us for the rest of our lives.
“If young people have ever experienced a time when who their political leader is matters, it has been over the last 3 years.” said Hulme, “If you think that it matters who’s in charge, you should get out and vote.”
As more young people vote, their collective votes will start to matter more, but it’s up to the youth of the United States to take action.
Fortunately, there are a lot of opportunities on campus for Alma students to get involved in politics. Left-leaning students have clubs for the Democrats and Young Democratic Socialists of
America. For right-leaning students, there are fewer options. However, Donnelly is working to create a platform for those voices at Alma.
“We’re only really getting one side, as students, in politics,” said Donnelly, “So me and a few friends have actually started the ball rolling on starting a Turning Point USA chapter at Alma.