Cruel primary history lessons Joe Biden won't want to hearBreaking News
tags: political history, Joe Biden, 2020 Election, Democratic primary
Joe Biden is the national front-runner in the Democratic presidential race. He is holding a steady lead in national polling, and his campaign boasts of the firewall he's established among African American voters, who may be the key to victory in the Feb. 28 South Carolina primary and who have backed the ultimate winner in every Democratic nominating contest since 1992.
That's the good news for Biden.
If that holds, it will place Biden on the perilous side of history. Traditionally, the results from Iowa and New Hampshire play a dramatic role in winnowing and clarifying presidential fields. Since the dawn of the Democratic Party's modern presidential primary system in the 1970s, no candidate has lost contested races in both Iowa and New Hampshire and still gone on to win the nomination.
First of all, the list of contested Democratic presidential races since 1976 isn't long: There are eight examples. So the historical "rule" that candidates who lose Iowa and New Hampshire don't win nominations isn't built on the deepest of foundations.
Plus, the dynamics that defined each of these campaigns vary widely. On that basis, we can probably toss out two that just aren't that relevant to Biden's situation. In 1976, Hubert Humphrey led in a Gallup national poll taken just before the Iowa caucuses. But Humphrey wasn't actually a candidate, and never ended up being one. So there's not a ton to be gleaned.
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