3 lessons from the 2020 Primaries

With Joe Biden having all but officially wrapped up the 2020 democratic nomination, here are a few quick lessons to take away and some historic context for them. 

1. Money does not matter

Michael Bloomberg spent 433 million on ads. He came in fourth. Tom Steyer spent 154 million. He didn’t get a single delegate. Bernie Sanders spent 40.2 million and was out by mid-March. Mr. Biden spent 16.1 million and won with half the primaries remaining. 

2. Trust the national polling average. 

With the exception of February, Mr. Biden had an uninterrupted lead in the RCP democratic primary national polling average. The same trend can be seen in recent past primaries. In 2016 both Trump and Hillary took the lead in their respective polling averages in the summer before primary season. Romney was the only republican constantly above 20% in the 2012 primary. 

Related: 10 Hard Questions for Progressives

3. Iowa picks democratic nominees, New Hampshire picks second place candidates 

In the last five democratic primaries, Iowa has picked the winner every time since 2000 (not counting 2012 because there was a popular incumbent) except 2020. On the flip side, New Hampshire has now picked the second place candidate each of the last three primary cycles. Interestingly, the opposite phenomenon is true for republicans. For the last three primary seasons, Iowa has picked the second or third place candidate in each primary while New Hampshire has picked the winner. 

Related: Debunking Progressive Cliches, Entry 1: “We need more democracy”

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