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The race doesn’t end in Iowa

February 14, 2020

This piece represents the opinion of the Bowdoin Orient Editorial Board.

With New Hampshire and Iowa behind us, it may seem like the primary season is in the rearview. The media often becomes fixated on the candidates who win these primaries, creating the impression that the race has already passed its most important threshold. But there are 120 primaries and caucuses left in the Democratic and Republican parties, plus two conventions in North Dakota and Wyoming. Iowa and New Hampshire are just the beginning.

One thousand nine hundred and ninety delegates are needed to win the Democratic primary. After the first two primaries, the leading candidate, Pete Buttigieg, only has 22 delegates with Bernie Sanders at 21. Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar have eight and seven, respectively. Just 17 delegates—fewer than the total delegates that Maine alone has to offer—could put Joe Biden ahead of Buttigieg.

This means that the race is still anybody’s game. With a third of the delegates up for grabs on Super Tuesday—California alone has 415 delegates—March 3 could change the outcome of the election.

This isn’t to say that the primary election will be a complete toss-up, or that Iowa and New Hampshire don’t matter at all. The point is that activism and engagement still have a place in the primary going forward—and if you really care about a candidate, now isn’t the time to give up just because they didn’t do well in Iowa or New Hampshire.

Even if you’re from a state that does not vote until June, there are countless ways to get involved so that you have a greater chance of being able to vote for your favorite candidate in the general election. Sanders and Warren have both highlighted the amount of money they have raised from small donors. Three-dollar donations can quickly add up.

Canvassing, phone banking and raising awareness are also fantastic ways that students can get involved. As Super Tuesday draws nearer, Brunswick will host canvassing centers for many of the candidates. One day spent canvassing on the weekend is feasible, even for full-time students.

It’s easy to forget how much of a privilege it is to be able to vote. Our democracy depends on participation from its citizens, even in elections that may seem less important than others. The United States has dismal voter participation rates compared to other democratic countries around the world. It’s up to our generation to reverse this trend.

If you’re eligible, there is no good reason not to vote in the primary. Bowdoin Votes is driving vans from the Moulton loop to the polls all day on Super Tuesday, and taking less than 30 minutes out of your day to vote is a small price to pay for the sake of democracy.

This editorial represents the majority view of the Bowdoin Orient’s editorial board, which is comprised of Emily Cohen, Anna Fauver, Conrad Li, Alyce McFadden, Becca Norden-Bright and Tianyi Xu. 


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