The 2020 Democratic Primary boiled down to two candidates after Tulsi Gabbard ended her campaign to endorse Joe Biden on Thursday, March 19th. Her dropout, on Thursday, March 19th, leaves only Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders in the race.
The 11th Democratic Debate took place Sunday night in Washington DC, in CNN’s studio, without any live audience. This debate also excluded Gabbard, although her campaign was still running at the time. This debate also introduced the topic of the COVID-19 Pandemic, to which Sanders argued that testing should be more readily available.
Aside from the new topic, Thursday’s debate was no different from previous ones; it served as a platform for Biden and Sanders to push their campaign promises. Sanders took multiple “hits” at Biden, calling him out on his previous conservative-oriented actions, such as his previous opposition to gay marriage and some reproductive rights. Even with Sanders’ attacks, he remains on track to lose the nomination as suggest by previous polls conducted after the debate.
Additionally, on the debate stage and through an Instagram post, Biden announced that he will be picking a female VP. While he has not yet announced who this person will be, many suspect that it could be Amy Klobuchar or Kamala Harris, who both held presidential campaigns for the 2020 race but recently dropped out.
As Biden continues to sweep the primaries, winning in Florida, Illinois, and Arizona on Tuesday, March 17th, Sanders has been forced to address his wavering support. He stated that he would “reassess his campaign,” but made it unclear if he would take any specific action.
Currently, Biden leads with 1,201 delegates, with Sanders trailing behind at 896. It may be a while until a candidate can win the nomination, however; the COVID-19 Pandemic continues to threaten the primary election schedule. Many states have already postponed their primaries. So far, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, and Ohio have pushed back all the way to June. While the Pennsylvania Democratic Primary remains scheduled for April 28th, postponement appears increasingly likely.
Even with the postponing of primaries, Joe Biden is only 790 delegates away from securing the Democratic Nomination. Although PA has traditionally not played a major role in the primary process, COVID-19 related scheduling changes may give Pennsylvania voters a rare chance to determine the nominee in 2020.