February 12th, 2020


Presidential Primaries and Caucuses: The 2020 New Hampshire Democratic Primary

Last night the New Hampshire Democratic Presidential Primary was held, and with 95% of the polls reporting, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders finished in first place in the popular vote, while Sanders and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg each won 9 of the state's 24 delegates to the Democratic Party's nominating convention. Among the leading candidates, here's how the voting went:

This far Sanders has finished first in the popular vote in both the Iowa Caucuses and the New Hampshire primary. There have been a number of surprises in the campaign thus far, including the strong finish of Buttigieg (who is in first place in delegates won this far) and the poor performance of former Vice-President Joe Biden. Biden, the candidate with the greatest name recognition, finished in fifth place and received 8.4% of the popular vote reported this far, well short of the 15% required to win delegates. Another surprise was the strong third place finish of Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, the only other candidate to win any delegates, aside from the first two finishers. Klobuchar's better than expected finish has assisted her in raising the funds necessary to continue her campaign. Klobuchar's campaign manager Justin Buoen has reported that Klobuchar's campaign has raised $2.5 million since the polls closed at 8 p.m. Klobuchar previously raised $2 million in the 24 hours after the Democratic debate this past Friday.

In his victory speech, Sanders thanked the crowd for his victory and credited his win to the tireless work of his numerous volunteers. He called his victory "the beginning of the end for Donald Trump." He went on to predict victory in the next two contests, the Nevada Caucuses on February 22nd and the South Carolina Primary on February 29th. Sanders also congratulated his opponents, pledging his support for the eventual nominee of the party, even if that person isn't him. He told the crowd, "No matter who wins, and we certainly hope it's going to be us, we're going to unite together and defeat the most dangerous president in the modern history of this country."

Pete Buttigieg also congratulated his fellow Democratic contenders, and commented at the remarkable distance that his campaign has come. He told the crowd, "Thanks to you, a campaign that some said shouldn't be here at all has shown that we are here to stay." He also thanked New Hampshire voters for their level of engagement in the primary, saying "So many of you turned out — diehard Democrats, Independents unwilling to stay on the sidelines and even some newly former Republicans — ready to vote for something new, ready to vote for a politics defined by how many we call in instead of who we push out. So many of you chose to meet a new era of challenge with a new generation of leadership. So many of you decided that a middle-class mayor and a veteran from the industrial Midwest was the right choice to take on this president not in spite of that experience but because of it."

Buttigieg congratulated Sanders for his strong showing in New Hampshire, but couldn't resist a subtle shot at the Sanders' advanced age, stating that he "admired Senator Sanders when I was a high school student." Buttigieg went on to portray himself as the candidate who can unite the political factions. He once again subtly criticized the elder statesmen in the race by telling the crowd "most Americans don't see where they fit in" when presented with the choice of either revolution or status quo, an apparent knock on Sanders and Biden. He added, "We cannot defeat the most divisive president in modern history by tearing down anyone who doesn't agree with us 100% of the time."

Two candidates for the Democratic nomination dropped out of the race for the nomination: businessman Andrew Yang and Colorado Senator Michael Bennet.

The next contest will be the Nevada caucuses on Saturday, February 22, beginning at noon Pacific time. Nevada Democrats have abandoned plans to use Shadow Inc., the vendor for a vote-reporting app that performed so poorly in Iowa. Unlike Iowa, Nevada has early voting. Iowa didn’t have any early voting, but Nevada is going to try to include it into the caucus process by using ranked-choice ballots by early voters submitted in advance. And in another twist that could only occur in the gambling state, ties in the delegate allocation process will be resolved by, and I'm not kidding about this, drawing cards. High card wins.
Three sets of results, again

Three sets of results will ultimately be reported:

1) The pre-realignment vote total: The initial tally of how many people prefer each candidate at each of the many precinct caucus sites, and the first-preference choices among all early votes. They are all added together for a statewide total.
2) The final vote total: After the first tally, any supporters of a candidate who got less than a certain threshold of the vote in a precinct (15 percent in most cases) can shift their support to another candidate. Candidates who are below the viability threshold are eliminated as “nonviable,” and a new and final tally of only viable candidates is taken.
3) County delegates: Finally, the final vote total in each precinct is then used to assign each viable candidate a certain number of county delegates.

In Iowa, results had Sanders winning the initial vote tally by a few percentage points, winning the final vote tally more narrowly, and barely losing the delegate tally to Buttigieg. A similar outcome could conceivably happen in Nevada as well.

The early voting period in Nevada goes from February 15 to 18. The most recent polling numbers for the Nevada Democratic Party race have Joe Biden ahead of Sanders by 3.5%, but those polls were taken in mid January, before the Iowa Caucuses, so those numbers are likely meaningless today.

Abraham Lincoln's Birthday

On February 12, 1809 (211 years ago today) Abraham Lincoln was born in a one-room log cabin on the Sinking Spring Farm in Hardin County, Kentucky (now LaRue County). He is ranked by many as the greatest President and almost everyone places him in the top three. His brilliant leadership through the Civil War and the tragedy of his assassination, as well as his enduring oratory and wit make Lincoln precisely what he was described by Secretary of War Edwin Stanton at the time of his death, as someone who belongs to the ages.

Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 4, 1861 until his death on April 15, 1865. Lincoln successfully led the nation through its greatest constitutional, military, domestic and moral crisis – the Civil War, which resulted in his goal of preserving the Union.

Lincoln was raised in a poor family on the western frontier and was mostly self-educated. He became a country lawyer, a Whig Party leader, an Illinois state legislator during the 1830s, and a one-term member of the United States House of Representatives during the 1840s. After a series of debates in 1858 that gave him a national profile and brought his opposition to the expansion of slavery to prominence, Lincoln lost a Senate race to his opponent Stephen A. Douglas. Lincoln, a moderate from what was then a swing state, secured the Republican Party presidential nomination in 1860. With almost no support in the South, Lincoln swept the North and was elected president in 1860, with less than 40% of the popular vote. His election was the signal for seven southern slave states to declare their secession from the Union and form the Confederacy. The departure of the Southerners gave Lincoln's party firm control of Congress, but no formula for compromise or reconciliation with the south was found. When the North rallied behind the national flag after the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861, Lincoln concentrated on the military and political dimensions of the war effort. His goal was to reunite the nation. As the South was in a state of insurrection, Lincoln exercised his authority to suspend habeas corpus, arresting and temporarily detaining thousands of suspected secessionists without trial.

Lincoln's efforts toward the abolition of slavery include issuing his Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, encouraging the border states to outlaw slavery (mostly as a war policy). This led to Congress passing the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which finally freed all the slaves nationwide in December 1865. Lincoln closely supervised the war effort, especially the selection of top generals, including his commanding general Ulysses S. Grant. Lincoln brought leaders of the major factions of his party into his cabinet (forging what historian Doris Kearns Goodwin would term a "team of rivals") and got them to cooperate. Under Lincoln's leadership, the Union set up a naval blockade that shut down the South's normal trade, took control of the border slave states at the start of the war, gained control of communications with gunboats on the southern river systems, and tried repeatedly to capture the Confederate capital at Richmond, Virginia. Each time a general failed, Lincoln substituted another until finally Grant succeeded in 1865.

An exceptionally astute politician, Lincoln reached out to War Democrats and managed his own re-election in the 1864 presidential election under the banner of the coalition "National Union" Party. As the leader of the moderate faction of the Republican party, Lincoln found his policies and personality were attached from all sides: Radical Republicans demanded harsher treatment of the South, War Democrats desired more compromise, Copperheads (northerners wanting a negotiated peace) despised him, and irreconcilable secessionists plotted his death. Politically, Lincoln fought back with patronage, by pitting his opponents against each other, and by appealing to the American people with his powers of oratory. His Gettysburg Address of 1863 became the most quoted speech in American history. At the close of the war, Lincoln held a moderate view of Reconstruction, seeking to reunite the nation speedily through a policy of generous reconciliation in the face of lingering and bitter divisiveness.

Six days after the surrender of Confederate commanding general Robert E. Lee, Lincoln was assassinated by actor and Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth. Lincoln's death was the first assassination of a U.S. president and it sent the nation into mourning. Lincoln has been consistently ranked by scholars and the public as one of the three greatest U.S. presidents. For many he was the greatest of all.

Throughout the destruction and carnage of the war, Lincoln maintained his compassion, his humanity and his love of the common man. He was not vindictive and approved generous terms of peace when the defeat of the Army of Northern Virginia was imminent. It is Lincoln's magnanimity, his compassion and his empathy that are very relevant today and sorely needed. His demonstration of these qualities in the most difficult of times make Lincoln relevant today.

Throughout what was likely the worst period in his nation's history, Lincoln maintained his humor and his his kindness. He took his job very seriously, but he did not take himself seriously. These are qualities that are crucial to strong leadership because they put the people ahead of ego and personal prosperity. They are needed now perhaps more than ever. It is Lincoln's humility and his his humanity that provide an outstanding example of what true leadership is and continue to make him very relevant today.