California earlier today announced that its 2020 Presidential Primary will be moved well up the calendar to Super Tuesday joining a handful of progressive states like Massachusetts and Vermont for the March 3rd election-athon.
Prior to California’s entrance into Super Tuesday, the states that participated heavily favored more moderate or centrist candidates (See: Hillary Clinton) as southern more conservative states dominated the ballot. Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, and Virginia made up over 63% of states participating in Super Tuesday elections and over 70% of the available pledged delegates. Bernie Sanders was able to scrape by four outright victories on Super Tuesday, 2016 yet only one of those came from a conservative leaning state (Oklahoma). This gave Hillary Clinton, an inarguably more moderate politician, a huge advantage and helped swing the media narrative that Clinton had “too big a lead” for Sanders to surpass.
Fortunately 2020 has now had a huge swing in favor of Democratic Presidential candidates especially progressive ones. In 2016 only 47% of registered voters turned out in California’s primary election. And only 34% of eligible voters made it to the ballot box. However, a record 75% of registered voters turned out for the Presidential Election on November 8th. This drastic plummet in turnout was caused by the primary season nearing its end with Secretary Clinton with a near unreachable lead.
Now come 2020, California alone will represent over 44% of the available pledged delegates on Super Tuesday, a state which Sanders was able to eek out a near tie. This gives a massive advantage to progressive and lesser known candidates fighting an up hill battle against more conservative Democrats to ensure a more competitive race going forward.
Not only will this help progressive candidates, but California will see a huge bump in their voter turnout. Low voter turnout and disinterest is never good for democracy, and now with the buzz surrounding California’s early entrance to the primary season and huge voter population, expect those voting booths to be jam packed with eager deciders. The more votes that truly matter in an election, the healthier a democracy is. And California becoming a serious player in the Presidential Primaries only helps.