28 de marzo de 2020
Hispanic World

Buttigieg drops out of 2020 Democratic presidential nominee race

(Update 1: updates with Buttigieg's official announcement)

(Update 1: updates with Buttigieg's official announcement)

By Lucia Leal.

Washington DC, Mar 1 (EFE).- Pete Buttigieg, who was aiming to be the first openly gay president of the United States, on Sunday dropped out of the Democratic presidential nominee race.

His decision is likely to work in favor of other moderates such as former vice president Joe Biden on the eve of Super Tuesday.

"Tonight I am making the difficult decision to suspend my campaign for the presidency," 38-year-old Buttigieg said in a speech in South Bend, the Indiana city he was mayor of until early this year.

"We sent a message to every kid out there wondering if whatever marks them out as different means they are destined to be less than," Buttigieg said.

"To see someone who once felt that exact same way can become a leading presidential candidate with his husband at his side," he added.

Buttigieg had stood out as the youngest candidate in a race dominated by men over 70 and just a month ago he had been reported to be the favorite for the Democratic presidential nomination among voters in the party's moderate center after winning the Iowa caucuses by a narrow margin, the first state to vote during the Democratic primary season.

However, Buttigieg was unable to broaden his base of voters and win the support of Latinos in Nevada or African Americans in South Carolina, where on Saturday he took fourth place in the southeastern state's primary.

“The truth is that the path has narrowed to a close," Buttigieg admitted.

The Indiana mayor's prospects for the contests on Super Tuesday on Mar. 3 were not very promising, given the fact that voter surveys have been indicating that Vermont senator Bernie Sanders will win in the big states of California and Texas, with their hundreds of delegates, and in the major polls Buttigieg seemed to have no options to win any state.

Buttigieg's withdrawal will surely benefit the rest of the moderates vying for the Democratic nomination, particularly former vice president Joe Biden, who on Saturday received a welcome push to his campaign by winning the South Carolina primary.

Buttigieg's bowing out may also help senator Amy Klobuchar, who up to now has been obligated to share with the Indiana mayor the status of a presidential hopeful from the Midwest and now will be able to further develop her argument that she represents the "middle" of the country — both geographically and politically — although it remains unclear whether she will be a viable candidate in the longterm since she had garnered even less support than Buttigieg.

Although he pledged to do "everything in (his) power" to ensure the election of a Democratic president in the upcoming polls in November, Buttigieg directed veiled criticism at Sanders, the favorite for the Democratic nomination.

"We need leadership to heal a divided nation, not drive us further apart," he said. "We need a broad-based agenda that can truly deliver for the American people, not one that gets lost in ideology."

President Donald Trump did not delay in reacting to the news of Buttigieg's withdrawal, saying: "Pete Buttigieg is OUT. All of his SuperTuesday votes will go to Sleepy Joe Biden. Great timing. This is the REAL beginning of the Dems taking Bernie out of play — NO NOMINATION, AGAIN!"

Buttigieg's youth and his atypical profile attracted many white moderate voters who saw in him an intelligent, thoughtful, articulate and well-rounded candidate who is progressive, the son of an immigrant (his father is Maltese), educated at Harvard and Oxford, a veteran who plays the piano and speaks seven languages.

His departure from the Democratic contest comes after magnate Tom Steyer, whose key issue had been climate change, bowed out on Saturday, leaving six Democratic contenders still in the mix: Sanders, Biden, Klobuchar, senator Elizabeth Warren, mogul and former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg and congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. EFE


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California: From irrelevant to crucial in primaries in just 4 years

By Marc Arcas

San Francisco, Mar 1 (efe-epa).- California is the most populous state in the United States but historically it has played a decidedly secondary role in the political primary process, something - however - that has changed this year with its emergence as a crucial hurdle for the Democratic presidential candidates to overcome.

The main reason for this change lies in the fact that the primary voting date has been moved up, from June - almost at the end of the primary season, and a point at which the parties' presidential nominees had almost certainly been selected as a result of earlier contests - to Super Tuesday on March 3, a move adopted with the specific aim of obtaining for the state a more significant impact on the selection of presidential nominees.

"Candidates will not be able to ignore the largest, most diverse state in the nation as they seek our country's highest office," said California Secretary of State Alex Padilla in September 2017, when state legislators had just approved shifting forward the state's primaries by several months.

The idea was to avoid the recurrence of scenarios such as the one that came about during the 2016 Democratic campaign, when despite obtaining almost half the primary votes in California - 46 percent - Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders could do nothing to prevent Hillary Clinton from becoming the party's presidential nominee, since by that time she had already racked up a sizable advantage in delegates.

With its almost 40 million residents, California contributes 415 delegates to the Democratic Party's primary process, far and away more than the second-biggest delegate haul in New York (274) and the third biggest in Texas (228), both of which also vote on Super Tuesday.

Of the 415 delegates, 271 will be selected on the election district level while the 144 others will be allocated on the basis of the votes cast in the whole state. In both cases, candidates must garner more than 15 percent of the votes to obtain any delegates at all.

That means that if a presidential hopeful obtains, for example, 20 percent of the votes in the state but only 10 percent in a specific electoral district he or she will receive delegates on the state level but none from that district.

Besides being the most populous US state, California is also one of the most diverse, with Latinos being the largest ethnic group comprising 40 percent of the population followed by non-Hispanic whites at 36 percent, Asians at 15 percent and blacks at 6 percent.

About 30 percent of the state's population knows how to speak Spanish and in terms of religion, the percentages of Catholics, Protestants and non-believers are about equal. In addition, California is one of the US states with the youngest population.

On the political level - and in part as a result of the demographic data cited above - California Democrats are among the country's most progressive, with strongholds in Los Angeles, San Jose and San Francisco, all of which for years have been bastions of the US left.

These characteristics contribute to the fact that in the current Democratic presidential race, Bernie Sanders, a self-declared democratic socialist, is favored to win in California, since - according to an aggregate of voter surveys analyzed by FiveThirtyEight - he has the support of about 30 percent of Democratic primary voters and real strength among the younger voters, Latinos and those who identify themselves as being furthest to the left on the political spectrum.

Following Sanders by quite a ways and all with the support of about 13 percent of survey respondents are Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who is also in the party's more progressive wing, former Vice President Joe Biden and billionaire former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

If these survey results hold true in the actual primary, Sanders should score an overwhelming victory in California, given that not only does he have the support of 30 percent of the voters but none of his rivals are yet showing that they can definitely surmount the 15 percent threshold. This means that Sanders could conceivably take literally "all" the delegates allocated on the state level.

Another matter will be the delegates from individual electoral districts, where other candidates certainly do exceed 15 percent support, and thus the delegates allocated according to those figures ought to be more widely distributed, although Sanders also leads in many of those districts.

This Tuesday, the polls will close at 8 pm and, given the huge size of the state, the existence of isolated and rural areas as well as its huge megalopolises and the precedents set in other electoral processes, it is very probable that definitive results on a statewide level may not become available for several days.

The most probable scenario, however, is that on Tuesday night it will become known who the winner is, especially if exit polling confirms that Sanders has won a sizable victory, but the details of the vote - including the exact vote count and the precise distribution of delegates and which candidate has come in second in the tally - may not be known for a few days.

That is what occurred in the 2018 legislative elections, when it was not known who had won some of the very competitive California districts until days - or, in some cases, weeks - later.

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