What’s The Deal With The 2020 Primaries?

You’ve heard about it in the news, but do you really know what’s going on in the race for the presidency?


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Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden are two Democratic candidates who have received the most momentum behind their campaigns.

This year is a pivotal year in the world of politics. With the duel for the position of commander-in-chief well underway, it’s easy to become confused with all of these political twists and turns being thrown in our direction. Yet, it’s crucial to understand what is truly going on behind the media’s coverage. 

It’s important that teens and young adults understand what the process is behind electing a president. This is a Q&A to everything you might be wondering about the 2020 Presidential Primaries.

What is a primary?

A primary is when voters go to the polls and cast their vote for the candidate who they want to represent their political party in the upcoming presidential election. 

In 2020, state primaries and caucuses began in February and end in June. They began with the Iowa caucus on Feb. 3 and will end with the Puerto Rico Republican primary on June 7. 

What is a caucus, and what’s the difference between a caucus and a primary?

You might have heard of a caucus and thought that it’s the same thing as a primary, but this is not true. A caucus holds the same general idea of a primary: to nominate a candidate. But in the six states that still use the system, people go to local caucus meetings to discuss and vote for a candidate instead of casting a private ballot.

The six states that still use caucuses (or a variation of them) are Maine, Kansas, Nevada, North Dakota, Wyoming and Iowa. 

What is Super Tuesday, and why is it so important?

Super Tuesday is the presidential primary election day when the largest number of states hold their primaries and caucuses. It occurs sometime between February and March and was held on March 3 for the 2020 presidential election.

There are 14 states that participate in Super Tuesday. It is considered important because approximately one-third of all delegates can be won on this day, which is more than any other day a primary is held. There are 1,338 delegates up for grabs on March 3.

To see Super Tuesday election results, analyses and more, click here. 

What are delegates? How many are required to secure the nomination?

Delegates are individuals who represent their state at national party conventions. The first candidate to secure 1,991 out of 3,979 pledged delegates will win the nomination.

A pledged delegate is an individual who is required to support the candidate they were awarded to during primaries and caucuses. An unpledged delegate is an individual who may support any candidate that they wish.

Who are the candidates running for president?

At this time there are five candidates running for president. A total of 27 candidates have dropped out of the race thus far. Out of the 27 who dropped out, 25 were Democrats and 2 were Republicans.

The current Democratic candidates include former Vice President and former Delaware Sen. Joe Biden, Vermont Sen. and former congressman Bernie Sanders and Hawaii congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.

The Republican candidates include U.S. President Donald Trump and former governor of Massachusetts William Weld. 

What happens after the primaries and caucuses end?

According to usa.gov, After every primary and caucus has been held, each political party holds a national convention to choose a nominee. From there, each nominee will announce their choice for vice president. The nominees will then continue to campaign until Election Day on Nov. 3.

In 2020, the Democratic national convention is held from July 13 to July 16. The Republican national convention occurs from Aug. 24 to Aug. 27. 

This year in politics is bound to bring shock, anticipation and hope to members of both political parties. With tensions high and fingers crossed, Republicans and Democrats alike will both be on the edge of their seats as they anxiously wait for the results on Election Day.