23/09/2020

Check back here for the latest numbers as the Democrats decide who will face off against Republican President Donald Trump this fall

There are 11 candidates running to be the Democratic Party’s nominee for president.
Photo illustration by The Globe and Mail
In a race unlike any in the partys modern history, the Democrats are choosing their champion to take on Donald Trump in 2020s presidential election. Primary and caucus season lasts from February to June, as each state and U.S. territory picks a candidate for their delegates to support at the Democratic National Convention, scheduled for July 13-16 in Milwaukee, Wis. But important rule changes have altered the math that candidates need to win. Heres a guide to help you follow along.
Making sense of the math
Of the Democrats 4,750 delegates, most are pledged delegates, who have to support their home states choices. If one candidate gets 1,990 or more of these, they win. Others, called superdelegates, are senior figures in the party who can support whomever they want. Under new rules this year, superdelegates wont vote unless no one meets the 1,990 threshold before the convention starts. (More on that later.)
Whos currently leading the race?
Full results from Iowa have been delayed since Monday after an app failure and subsequent telephone logjam while reporting the final count. As of Friday afternoon, 40 of the 41 national delegates available in Iowa have been awarded and one remains undecided.
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The primary calendar
Why there are two thresholds to win
One of the reputed benefits of the U.S. primary process is that it leaves lots of time for a bandwagon effect that builds clear consensus around one candidate as their competitors drop out. Thats been more or less the case for every nomination race in both parties for the past 70 years. The less likely (but, to the front-runners, more worrisome) possibility is a brokered convention, in which no candidate can manage enough delegates to win when the convention holds its first ballot.
If there is no brokered convention, then the magic number of delegates needed to win is only 1,990, or more than half the 3,979 pledged delegates. But if no one gets a simple majority on the first ballot, those superdelegates we mentioned will take part in the second. There are 771 superdelegates, so with them in play, the threshold for victory increases to 2,376.
The reason why superdelegates have less power this time is because most of them were early supporters of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 race, which challenger Bernie Sanders and his supporters said was an unfair advantage. Leaving them off the first ballot makes it easier for a close second-place challenger to survive. A second ballot would also create a more important role for any delegates left supporting dropped-out or third-tier candidates; depending on where they shift their votes, they could have a decisive impact.
What are the Republicans doing?
Republicans are also holding primaries and caucuses, though some states have cancelled them as the party falls in line behind Mr. Trump. Some candidates are running against him for the nomination, but the Republican convention in August is largely expected to be a Trump coronation. Then he will face off against the Democratic contender in the presidential election on Nov. 3.
Further reading on the U.S. election
Unease and uncertainty reign at the start of an unprecedented Democratic primary season
Medicare for All: These are the patients at stake in the U.S. battle over universal health care
In Elizabeth Warrens war on corporate greed, she has some allies on Wall Street
With a file from The Associated Press.
Data from The Associated Press, The Green Papers
Top image sources: Frank Franklin II/AP Photo, Spencer Platt/Getty Images, Pete Marovich/The New York Times, Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images, J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo, Robyn Beck / AFP, Samuel Corum/Getty Images, Carlo Allegri/Reuters, Justin Sullivan/Getty Images