Presidential reactions: Who is making it into the race and why

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With primary election results already finalized in four early races, voters in 14 more states cast their ballots in Super Tuesday’s presidential contests.

In 2016, 5.2 million voters cast their ballots in California’s June 7 democratic presidential primary, months after Super Tuesday. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won the state with 53.1% of the vote compared to the 46% received by Sen. Bernie Sanders, then I-Vt.

This year, however, Californians’ votes will be counted and received during the Super Tuesday contests. Samantha Warren, the political director of Cal Berkeley Democrats, or CalDems, believes the change will give Californians more “momentum” in determining the nominee.

“The California primary moving to Super Tuesday has given momentum to organizers and campaigns in California,” Samantha Warren said in an email. “Voters are more excited to go to the polls because of the larger pool of candidates and the importance of California’s delegates.”

California’s trove of 415 pledged delegates make up a significant portion of the 1,991 needed to win the Democratic nomination on the first ballot at the 2020 Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

CalDems chose to not make an endorsement in the presidential primary because its members supported a wide array of candidates, according to Samantha Warren. The CalDems board is “pretty evenly split” between Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., but Samantha Warren said she supports Sanders.

“I support Bernie Sanders but I definitely supported Elizabeth Warren earlier on in the race,” Samantha Warren said in the email. “I eventually chose Bernie because I admire how he has always stood for his progressive values throughout his career and how powerful of a movement he’s created with working-class individuals.”

In terms of the California Republican primary, Rudra Reddy, external vice president of Berkeley College Republicans and former Daily Californian columnist, said the “lion’s share” of the group’s members support President Donald Trump. Voter turnout in the Republican primary can be a gauge of enthusiasm going into the general election, he added.

Reddy believes former Vice President Joe Biden has the best chance of defeating Trump in the general election, noting his appeal to Rust Belt and swing state moderates. Conversely, he said former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg lacks the charisma to inspire support and is least likely of the nominees to defeat Trump.

“The current Democratic field marks a dramatic shift to the left for the party as candidates embrace radical positions such as funding nationalized health care for illegal aliens,” Reddy said in an email. “I appreciate the effort put in by candidates like Senator Klobuchar to stop (the) party from veering off the far-left cliff but I fear the efforts of Senator Sanders and his supporters would render that effort futile.”

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg both dropped out of the race before Super Tuesday and endorsed Biden. Samantha Warren alleged this is a clear sign that moderate and establishment candidates are consolidating their votes, meaning there will probably be a brokered Democratic convention.

Berkeley City Councilmembers Ben Bartlett, Cheryl Davila and Kate Harrison have all endorsed Sanders, while Councilmembers Rigel Robinson and Lori Droste have thrown their support behind Warren.

Mayor Jesse Arreguín has thrown his support behind Sanders and was in attendance at the senator’s Feb. 17 rally in Richmond.

“Bernie Sanders’ is putting forward policies that address the deep inequities we face in our society,” Arreguín said in a statement of endorsement. “These are common sense policies that will revive our cities and give our children the start they deserve for a productive life. When Bernie Says ‘Not me, US’, I am part of the ‘US.’ ”

Contact Kaleo Mark at [email protected] .