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2008 Democratic Presidential Primary

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2008 Democratic Presidential Primary

Hello again, everyone!

As the 2020 Democratic Primary field continues to grow, I felt it would be useful to take a look at one more recent Democratic Presidential Primary for insight into how this large field might turn out, as it is one that is shaping out to be equally hard-fought and contentious.

The 2008 Primary, which shaped into a battle of titans between then-Senator Barack Obama of Illinois and then-Senator Hillary of New York, was one of the closest in the modern era and came down to the wire as each candidate's respective campaigns came down to the wire in attempts to win over the divided Democratic electorate and succeed President George W. Bush. The primary was tumultuous as events, oft forgotten now by younger Democrats, served to make one campaign feel advantaged over another; infamously, for example, the Democratic National Committee initially stripped Florida and Michigan—states which Clinton won—of their delegates for moving their primary dates into January to be held early along with the usual early states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina. Those delegates were later partially restored, but not without hurt feelings and accusations.

The 2008 Primary also held a very special Super Tuesday on February 5, 2008, called among other things "Tsunami Tuesday", which featured the largest simultaneous number of state caucuses and primaries ever held in Presidential Primary history. Twenty-four states as well as American Samoa held them together, and Democrats Abroad beginning their week-long process, combining for 52% of all Democratic delegates being given out on  that day. It was an event that massively changed the shape not just of that primary but of all primaries since, as Super Tuesday has continued to grow in importance.

With 2020 now on the horizon, and with Super Tuesday 2020 featuring California and North Carolina now after moving there since 2016, it seems as if the lessons learned from 2008 may serve those watching the next Democratic Primary well. Will the 2020 Primary turn out similarly to 2008 or take its own path and turns? It's unknown for now we may wish to look to the lessons of the past to prepare for the future.


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