VCU students head to polls for Super Tuesday, many favoring Sanders

Many student who live on Monroe Park Campus vote in the University Student Commons. Photo by Katharine DeRosa

Katharine DeRosa, Contributing Writer

Freshman business foundations major Jordan Gayle was going to vote for Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg, but after he dropped out, he decided to vote for Bernie Sanders. Like many VCU students, Gayle said that he would vote for any Democratic candidate in November for the 2020 Presidential Election.

“They’re all pretty better qualified than the current president,” Gayle said.

VCU Student Jordan Gayle after voting in the University Student Commons. Photo by Katharine DeRosa

Virginia participated in primaries on Tuesday, known as “Super Tuesday” along with California, Texas, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Colorado, Tennessee, Alabama, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Utah, Maine, Vermont and American Samoa.

After Amy Klobuchar, Buttigieg and Tom Steyer dropped out like clockwork days before Tuesday’s primaries, some voters had to pick another candidate at the last minute. Steyer dropped out on Saturday, Buttigieg on Sunday and Klobuchar on Monday.

Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Michael Bloomberg are the remaining Democratic nominee hopefuls.

Emily Helft, a VCU employee at the Student Accessibility and Educational Opportunity Office, said Buttigieg’s decision made it easier for her to vote for Elizabeth Warren.

“They kind of made the decision for me by dropping out,” Helft said.

Helft also said there could be confusion because candidates who dropped out of the race still appear on the ballot.

“I was very confused when I went to vote this morning that their names are all still on the ballot,” Helft said, “which I feel like is going to cause a lot of confusion for people whose votes aren’t going to count for anything.”

Helft said she would vote Democratic in November, no matter who the nominee is.

On Monday night, Klobuchar and Buttigieg announced their endorsements of Biden.

“We need a politics that brings back dignity, and that is what he sought to practice in my campaign. That’s what Joe Biden has been practicing his entire life,” Buttigieg said at an appearance with Biden in Dallas before Biden’s official rally, according to The New York Times.

Klobuchar announced her endorsement of Biden at his rally in Dallas.

“If we spend the next four months dividing our party and going at each other, we will spend the next four years watching Donald Trump tear apart this country,” Klobuchar said.

Political science major Jane Schwartz said she wasn’t a fan of the candidates who dropped out.

“The Democratic Party is doing a lot to stifle a grassroots movement, Bernie Sanders,” Schwartz said. “I think they’re putting a lot of energy into it, where they should be putting in energy into defeating Donald Trump.” 

Although she isn’t a fan of the other candidates, Schwartz said she would vote for any Democratic candidate in November.

“The one person I would really have a hard time voting for is Biden,” Schwartz said. “I don’t think he’s coherent, and I don’t think he deserves to go into the White House again.”

VCU Student Katelyn Brownlee. Photo by Katharine DeRosa

English major Katelyn Brownlee compared Hillary Clinton’s 2016 run to Warren’s presidential bid. She said that Clinton’s fame was helped by her marriage to former president, Bill Clinton.

“It’s such a male-dominated hierarchy,” the senior said, “So I feel like not that many people are aware of who Elizabeth Warren is.”

Brownlee said she voted for Sanders but would vote for a Democrat in the presidential election, even if Sanders did not secure the nomination.

On Feb. 29, Biden gained traction with black voters in the South Carolina primary winning over three out of every five black voters, while Sanders received one out of every five black voters, according to CNN

This win put Biden at 53 delegates and Sanders at 60 delegates. A candidate needs 1,991 to secure the democratic presidential nomination. Before Super Tuesday, Warren had eight delegates, while Bloomberg had zero.

Biden’s win in South Carolina comes after Sanders’ wins in New Hampshire and Nevada.

Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York, announced his campaign on Nov. 24, late in comparison to other candidates, and has only participated in the February Democratic debate.

Bloomberg’s spending has been a point of interest among voters and candidates alike.

At his Richmond rally last Friday, Sanders expressed his disdain for Bloomberg’s tactics.

“Bloomberg has every right in the world to run for president,” Sanders said, “but he doesn’t have the right to buy the president.”

Bloomberg has spent $233 million on digital and TV ads, according to The Washington Post. Fox Business reported that his total spending was up to $312 million on ads as of Monday.

Steyer, another billionaire, spent $250 million of his personal funds, according to The Wall Street Journal, but his spending has not attracted as much attention as Bloomberg’s.

Freshman music education major, Richard Pannell said he didn’t like Bloomberg’s quantity of ads and mentioned his disapproval of Bloomberg’s history as a former New York City mayor, specifically his “Stop and Frisk” policy.

“He denounces it now,” said Pannell, “but it’s about the numbers and the facts, and the fact is that the policy was used too much in his run as mayor of New York.”

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