Photo by Hanna Brody
In York’s mock primary that was held last week, both Democratic candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Republican incumbent President Donald Trump walked away with victories in their respective parties. Overall, 62.7% of all ballots cast were Democratic ballots, while 37.3% were Republican ballots.
Sanders won 36.4% of the Democratic vote, and he was followed by Mayor Pete Buttigieg who won 21.9% of the vote and former Vice President Joe Biden who won 10.3%. All other candidates fell short of 10%. The results are consistent with how the Democratic field has been so far. Since his run in 2016, Sanders has galvanized support among younger voters more so than any other candidate in the field.
“I think Bernie is seeing a lot of traction among younger people because they are realizing that the status quo is not enough,” senior Brian Pratt said. “People are starting to become more and more aware of the systemic issues that exist in American society, and moderates, even those in the Democratic Party, aren’t doing enough to solve them.”
Following victories in New Hampshire and Nevada, Sanders was cast into the role of the front-runner. While York’s results may give some indication as to how the Democrats in the senior class will vote, York’s mock election occurred several days before the South Carolina Primary which drastically shook up the race.
Buttigieg, who placed second at York, dropped out of the race on Sunday night following a single-digit performance in the South Carolina Primary, and he proceeded to endorse Biden. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), who earned an impressive third place in the New Hampshire primary a few weeks ago, also dropped out on Monday and endorsed Biden. Tom Steyer dropped out on Saturday night. These dropouts likely will result in the consolidation of moderate voters, and they will certainly impact York student’s decision making before going to the polls for the Illinois Primary on March 17.
“I am going straight to Biden,” senior Nick Mastro, a Democratic voter who was planning to vote for Klobuchar, said. “Klobuchar’s endorsement of him means a lot. She and Buttigieg dropped out because the less progressive part of the Democratic Party must unite to stop Bernie Sanders from being our nominee.”
On the Republican side, Trump won a landslide victory against Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente and won 83.2% of the vote in comparison to La Fuente’s 10.3%. Trump currently does not face a significant primary challenger and is easily expected to be renominated by the Republican Party. In fact, some states, such as South Carolina, have canceled primaries and caucuses and have given all of their state’s delegates to Trump.
Others who won votes in the mock primary included York’s own Kenneth Dowdy who, despite not being on the ballot, earned 1.6% of the vote through write-ins. Dowdy is well known as the Constitutional Law teacher and one of several AP Government and Politics teachers at York. His classroom is walled with yard signs ranging from presidential to municipal elections.
“Bernie may have his bros, but Dowdy has his disciples,” Dowdy said. “I wasn’t aware that I was going to be a write-in candidate, but I feel very proud to know that some of my AP Government students, probably, [voted for me.] We are going to make York great again one way or another.”
As for down the ballot candidates, there was a tight race in the mock election among Republican candidates running for the opportunity to face Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), who is unopposed in the Democratic Primary.. Cancer surgeon Tom Tarter narrowly edged out Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran, with 24.8% and 23.9% respectively. Robert Marshall, who ran for governor as a Democrat in 2018, came in a close third at 18.5%. Durbin is expected to win the general election in November because he is the Senate Minority Whip and has served since 1996.
In the mock election race for the Illinois Fifth Congressional District, Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL), a more moderate Democrat, won 67% of the votes in his primary against progressive Brian Burns, a lawyer who is running on a campaign platform similar to that of Bernie Sanders. Bruns earned 33% of the mock vote. Quigley is expected to beat Burns in the Democratic Primary. On the Republican side, Tommy Hanson, who works in commercial real estate, beat out physician Kimball Ladien, winning 67% to Ladien’s 27.1% with several write-ins.
While these results give an indication of the feeling of young voters, the Illinois Primary on March 17 will give Illinoians and eligible York seniors and juniors the final say. For those who will be eligible to vote, click the link to find your polling place for the primary.