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democratic nomination

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The presidential nominees will be chosen through a series of primaries and caucuses in every state and territory that began in Iowa on February 3 and ends in Puerto Rico in early June.

Short of a big shock, the Republican nominee will be Donald Trump. Even though technically he has two challengers, he is so popular among Republicans, he has a clear run ahead of him. With that in mind, the Democratic primaries are the only ones worth watching.

Step one: The start line

A whole year before the primaries, the first candidates emerged from hibernation. Over the year, others woke up and eventually 28 people announced they were running to become the Democratic nominee for president.

But dwindling funds, luke-warm or (ice-cold) public reaction and campaign infighting have, to varying degrees, led to 16 candidates pulling out of the race.

At the start of primary season, 11 people remained in the running. In theory, any one of them could become the nominee. In reality, only a few have a chance.

Step two: The Iowa caucuses

The first event of the primary season isn’t a primary at all – it’s a series of caucuses, in Iowa. These took place on February 3, in somewhat chaotic fashion.

What are caucuses?

A caucus involves people attending a meeting – maybe for a few hours – before they vote on their preferred candidate, perhaps via a head count or a show of hands. Those meetings might be in just a few select locations – you can’t just turn up at a polling station.

As a result, caucuses tend to really suit candidates who are good at rousing their supporters to get out of bed. People like Bernie Sanders, for example, who performed well in Iowa this time, as did Pete Buttigieg.

Caucuses used to be far more popular back in the day, but this year, Democrats are holding only four in US states – in Nevada, North Dakota, Wyoming and Iowa.

Iowa Caucuses 2020: Voters to Choose Their Preferred Nominees for White House Race
4 Things We Learnt From The Iowa Caucuses

If any candidate gets under 15% of the vote in any caucus, their supporters then get to pick a second choice from among the candidates who did get more than 15%, or they can just choose to sit out the second vote.

Why Iowa caucuses matter?

A win there for any candidate can help give them momentum and propel them to victory in the primaries.

Why is Iowa first in the primary calendar? You can blame Jimmy Carter, sort of. Iowa became first in 1972, for various technical electoral reasons too boring to go into here. But when Carter ran for president in 1976, his team realized they could grab the momentum by campaigning early in Iowa. He won there, then surprisingly won the presidency, and Iowa’s fate was sealed.

Why Iowa caucuses don’t matter?

Iowa doesn’t represent the entire US – it’s largely white, so the way people vote there is very, very different than in other states.

The sate’s record on picking the eventual nominees is a bit rubbish too, at least when it comes to Republicans – when there’s an open Republican race, Iowa hasn’t opted for the eventual nominee since 2000. Such names as Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum and Ted Cruz have won there in recent years.

Step three: The New Hampshire primary

Eight days after Iowa on February 11, is the first primary, in New Hampshire. The tiny north-eastern state of only 1.3 million people will once again become an unlikely hotbed of political activity.

What is a primary?

Unlike a caucus, where voters are expected to turn up at a few limited locations at certain times and stick around for a while, primary voters can just turn up at a polling booth and vote in secret. Then leave.

How does a primary work?

The more votes a candidate gets in a caucus or primary, the more “delegates” they are awarded, and all candidates will be hoping to win an unbeatable majority of delegates.

The number of delegates differs in each state, and is decided by a convoluted series of criteria. In California’s primary, for example, there are 415 Democratic delegates up for grabs this year. In New Hampshire, there are only 24.

This year is a bit different. Any candidate would need to get at least 15% of the vote in any primary or caucus to be awarded delegates. There are still 11 candidates in the running – an unusually large number – so there’s a risk the vote share will be spread out and some of the candidates may struggle to reach 15%.

After New Hampshire, we could get a clear picture of who is struggling, but whoever has claimed the most delegates at this stage is still far from guaranteed to be the nominee.

Even those who are struggling may not drop out right after New Hampshire, because there is so much at stake on…

Step four: Super Tuesday

A few other states vote in between New Hampshire and the end of February, but this is when things really start to warm up: Super Tuesday, on March 3.

What is Super Tuesday?

It is the big date in the primary calendar, when 16 states, territories or groups vote for their preferred candidate in primaries or caucuses. A third of all the delegates available in the entire primary season are up for grabs on Super Tuesday. By the end of the day it could be much clearer who the Democratic candidate will be. The two states with the most delegates are voting on Super Tuesday – California (with 415 Democratic delegates) and Texas (228). California is voting three months earlier than in 2016, making Super Tuesday even more super than normal.

California and Texas are two states with very diverse populations, so we may see them going for very different candidates than those chosen in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Step five: The rest of the race

After hectic Super Tuesday, everyone gets to cool down for a week, before another busy day on March 10, when six states vote, with 352 delegates available.

After that, the primary season still has three months left to run, and at the end, the role of those delegates will become clear…

Step six: The conventions

Donald Trump will almost certainly be sworn in as the Republican nominee at the party convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, between August 24 and 27. The Democrats will confirm their candidate at their own convention between July 13 and 16 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

What happens in a convention?

Here’s where those delegates come in.

Let’s say that during primary season, candidate A wins 10 delegates. During the convention, those 10 delegates would vote for candidate A to become the Democratic nominee. (Any party member can apply to be a delegate – they tend to be party activists or local political leaders.)

All through the Democratic primaries, there are 3,979 delegates available. If any one candidate wins more than 50% of those delegates during primary season (that’s 1,990 delegates), then they become the nominee in a vote at the convention.

But if we get to the Democratic convention and no-one has more than 50% of the delegates, it becomes what’s known as a “contested” or “brokered” convention. This could well happen this year. There are so many candidates that no one frontrunner emerges in the primaries, and they split the delegates between them. In that circumstance, a second vote would follow.

In that second vote, all the 3,979 delegates would vote again, except this time they would be joined by an estimated 771 “superdelegates”. These are senior party officials past and present (former president Bill Clinton is one, as is current Vermont senator and presidential contender Bernie Sanders), and they’re free to vote for whomever they wish.

If a candidate wins 50% or more in that vote – 2,376 delegates – then they become the nominee.

This is all thanks to a rule change in 2020: last time around, the superdelegates voted at the start of the convention, with the delegates. But many had pledged their support to Hillary Clinton even before the convention, leading her rival Bernie Sanders to suggest the deck was stacked against him.

Bernie Sanders is the one who campaigned for the change – and it may benefit him in 2020.

Step seven: The presidency

After inching past Iowa, negotiated New Hampshire, survived Super Tuesday and come through the convention, there is only one step left for the nominee: the presidential election, on November 3.

Hillary Clinton made history by accepting the Democratic nomination at the party’s national convention in Philadelphia.

The former secretary of state has told voters the presidential election is a “moment of reckoning”.

Speaking on the final night of the Democratic convention, the first woman nominated by a major party said there were huge challenges.

Hillary Clinton accused her Republican opponent in November’s election, Donald Trump, of sowing discord.

“He wants to divide us – from the rest of the world, and from each other.”

Donald Trump tweeted that the speech had failed to address the threat posed by radical Islam, making Hillary Clinton unfit to lead the country.

Before taking the stage, Hillary Clinton’s daughter Chelsea shared personal memories of her mother.

Photo Getty Images

Photo Getty Images

“My wonderful, thoughtful, hilarious mother,” she said.

Chelsea Clinton added: “She was always there for me.”

After embracing her daughter, Hillary Clinton delivered a speech which featured a stark admission about the threats to national unity.

“Bonds of trust and respect are fraying. And just as with our founders there are no guarantees. It truly is up to us. We have to decide whether we’re going to work together so we can all rise together.”

The former secretary of state and first lady added: “We are not afraid. We will rise to the challenge, just as we always have.”

The risk to American prosperity included inequality, limited social mobility, political gridlock, “threats at home and abroad” and frustration over wage stagnation, Hillary Clinton said.

However, the Democratic nominee was confident these challenges could be overcome with the American values of “freedom and equality, justice and opportunity”.

Hillary Clinton acknowledged that too many Americans had been “left behind” by economic forces and addressed them directly: “Some of you are frustrated – even furious. And you know what? You’re right.”

Another highlight at the convention on July 28 was when the father of a fallen Muslim soldier challenged Donald Trump over his Muslim ban, prompting an ovation.

General John Allen, former commander of US forces in Afghanistan, appeared on stage with other military veterans and gave Hillary Clinton a ringing endorsement as commander-in-chief.

Hillary Clinton’s high-stakes remarks on the closing night of the four-day convention followed a rousing speech by President Barack Obama.

Barack Obama said on July 27 there had never been a man or woman more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are set for an election battle widely considered to be a tight race when voters head to the polls in November.

Hillary Clinton has announced Tim Kaine, a 58-year-old centrist senator from Virginia, as her running mate.

The Democratic presidential candidate broke the news in a tweet on July 22. She plans a formal announcement on July 23.

Hillary Clinton passed over more left-leaning candidates in favor of Tim Kaine, who is a strong supporter of free-trade agreements.

Tim Kaine’s home state of Virginia is a major battleground in the coming election.

He speaks fluent Spanish and could help the Clinton campaign maintain its support among Hispanic Americans – a growing voting bloc.

Photo Reuters

Photo Reuters

An experienced politician who has been toughly vetted, Tim Kaine is considered a “safe” choice for the vice-president slot. He personally opposes abortion but supports abortion rights.

Tim Kaine was a finalist to be Barack Obama’s running mate in 2008 and served as Virginia governor before his time in the Senate.

Hillary Clinton also reportedly interviewed liberal firebrand Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Senator Cory Booker, an African-American senator from New Jersey. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was said to have been on her shortlist.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump, in a text to his supporters, described President Barack Obama, Hilalry Clinton and Tim Kaine as “the ultimate insiders” and appealed to voters to not “let Obama have a third term”.

GOP chief Reince Priebus tweeted scornfully: “Hillary Clinton’s choice of Tim Kaine does nothing to unify a fractured Democrat base repelled by her dishonesty and cronyism.”

Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton has thanked her supporters for helping her reach a historic moment for women – the nomination for president.

“Tonight’s victory belongs to generations of women and men who struggled and sacrificed to make this moment possible,” Hillary Clinton told cheering crowds at a rally in New York.

“Thanks to you, we’ve reached a milestone.” Hillary-Clinton

The former secretary of state hailed “the first time in our nation’s history that a woman will be a major party’s nominee”.

Earlier, Hillary Clinton won the Democratic primary in New Jersey, cementing her hold on her party’s nomination.

Hillary Clinton went on to win South Dakota and New Mexico, while her rival Bernie Sanders found victory in the Montana and North Dakota caucuses.

Six states have been voting in primaries on June 7 but the race in California will count the most.

Bernie Sanders had been hoping for a win in that state but early results indicated a significant lead for Hillary Clinton.

Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton has reached the required number of delegates for her nomination, an AP tally suggests.

The count puts Hillary Clinton on 2,383 – the number needed to make her the presumptive nominee.

Hillary Clinton will become the first female nominee for a major US political party.

However, rival Bernie Sanders said Hillary Clinton had not won as she was dependent on superdelegates who could not vote until July’s party convention.

Hillary Clinton reached the threshold with a big win in Puerto Rico and a burst of last-minute support from superdelegates, AP reported.

Superdelegates are party insiders who can pledge their support for a candidate ahead of the convention but do not formally vote for them until the convention itself.Hillary Clinton on Brussels attacks

At an appearance in Long Beach, California, shortly after the news broke, Hillary Clinton said: “We are on the brink of a historic and unprecedented moment but we still have work to do.

“We have six elections tomorrow and we’re going to fight hard for every single vote, especially right here in California.”

Voters will go to the polls for Democratic primaries on June 7 in California, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, and New Jersey.

The nominee for either party is not officially named until the parties’ respective conventions.

Bernie Sanders has vowed to stay in the race until the convention, and his campaign team said the Vermont senator would attempt to win back superdelegates who have pledged their support to Hillary Clinton.

His spokesman Michael Briggs said it was too early to call the Democratic contest.

“It is unfortunate that the media, in a rush to judgement, are ignoring the Democratic National Committee’s clear statement that it is wrong to count the votes of superdelegates before they actually vote at the convention this summer,” Michael Briggs said.

“Our job from now until the convention is to convince those superdelegates that Bernie is by far the strongest candidate against Donald Trump.”

Hillary Clinton, a former secretary of state, New York senator and First Lady, leads Bernie Sanders by three million votes, 291 pledged delegates and 523 superdelegates, according to AP’s count.

She has won 29 caucuses and primaries to his 21 victories – and an estimated 2.9 million more voters have backed her during the nominating process.

That gives Hillary Clinton a significantly greater lead over Bernie Sanders than Barack Obama had over her in 2008 – he led by 131 pledged delegates and 105 superdelegates at the point he clinched the nomination.

Democrat Bernie Sanders has won the Maine caucuses, beating former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the Democratic nomination race.

With 91% of the vote counted, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is polling 64%, while former Hillary Clinton has 36%.

In the Republican race, Marco Rubio easily won Puerto Rico’s primary, beating Donald Trump.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump remain overall leaders in the nomination campaigns.

On March 6, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders clash on a number of issues in a CNN-hosted debate in Flint, Michigan.

They traded accusations on economy and trade, with Hillary Clinton saying her rival voted against a bailout of the US car industry in 2009.

Photo Getty Images

Photo Getty Images

“I went with them. You did not. If everybody had voted the way he [Bernie Sanders] did, I believe the auto industry would have collapsed, taking four million jobs with it,” Hillary Clinton said.

Bernie Sanders countered by saying: “I will be damned if it was the working people of this country who have to bail out the crooks on Wall Street.”

He described the measures taken at the time as “the Wall Street bailout where some of your [Hillary Clinton’s] friends destroyed this economy”.

During March 5 voting, Bernie Sanders took two states – Kansas and Nebraska – but Hillary Clinton maintained her Democratic front-runner status after a big victory in Louisiana.

While the win in Puerto Rico will boost Florida Senator Marco Rubio’s campaign, it sends just 23 delegates to the Republican convention which nominates a presidential candidate.

Republican hopefuls need the votes of 1,237 delegates to get the nod for the presidential race proper.

Marco Rubio still trails well behind Donald Trump and Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

Speaking after wins in the Republican Kentucky caucuses and Louisiana primary election on Saturday, Donald Trump told a news conference: “I would love to take on Ted Cruz one on one.”

“Marco Rubio had a very very bad night and personally I call for him to drop out of the race. I think it’s time now that he dropped out of the race. I really think so.”

Ted Cruz – who won Republican caucuses in Kansas and Maine – said he believed that “as long as the field remains divided, it gives Donald an advantage”.

The first one-to-one Democratic debate saw Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders clashing over Wall Street and foreign policy.

Hillary Clinton cast Bernie Sanders as an idealist who will not get things done and Sanders accused the former Secretary of State of being too tied to the establishment to achieve real change.

The MSNBC debate in New Hampshire was their first since the Democratic race was whittled down to two this week.

Without a third person on stage, the policy differences were laid bare.

Hillary Clinton said Bernie Sanders’ proposals such as universal healthcare were too costly and unachievable.

She went after her rival aggressively over his attempts to portray her as being in the pocket of Wall Street because of the campaign donations and the fees she had received for after-dinner speeches.

Photo Reuters

Photo Reuters

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders used a favorite attack line against Hillary Clinton that she backed the Iraq War, but she questioned his foreign policy expertise.

The debate comes five days before the second state-by-state contest in the battle for the presidential nominee, in New Hampshire on February 9.

Despite the tensions over policies, the debate ended on a warm note, when Hillary Clinton said the first person she would call would be Bernie Sanders, if she won the nomination.

The debate was their first without the presence of the former governor of Maryland, Martin O’Malley, who quit the race on February 1.

Martin O’Malley was a distant third in the first state to vote, Iowa, where Hillary Clinton narrowly beat Bernie Sanders after a prolonged count.

Bernie Sanders holds a big lead in polls in New Hampshire, which borders the state where he is a senator, Vermont.

Both Republican and Democratic parties will formally name their presidential candidates at conventions in July.

Americans will finally go to the polls to choose the new occupant of the White House in November.