AMES, Iowa – The following Iowa State University experts are available for interviews to discuss the latest Democratic primaries and President Obama’s influence on the race.
David Andersen, assistant professor of political science, firstname.lastname@example.org, 515-294-6928
“Hillary Clinton's clinching of the nomination will not change the race much, which is surprising. Clinton has been the presumptive nominee since her sweep of the Super Tuesday states on March 15, but Bernie Sanders has simply refused to acknowledge this. This is highly unusual for a nomination battle. Clinching the nomination by gaining a majority of pledged delegates - which Clinton will do Tuesday - is not likely to change Sanders’ thinking. He has known that he would not win the delegate count for months now, but is determined to take his fight to the convention, maintaining a divide within the Democratic Party. What he seeks to gain by doing this is unclear. He is poised to be very influential in the party if he works to unify his supporters with Clinton's, but is going to be marginalized by the party if he continues attack Clinton like he has been doing over the past couple of months.
“President Obama's endorsement may help the unification process for the party, but it will be his active campaigning that will make the biggest difference. If Obama stumps for Clinton and reminds Democrats that his agenda (and Clinton's plans) are in line with Sanders and in stark contrast to the GOP, that will help bring Sanders' Democrats and Independents back into the fold. So far, Democrats have been divided between competing candidates within the party, but Obama can help refocus the discussion on the contrast between Democrats and Republicans. The president can communicate in ways that Clinton cannot, and can provide cover for Clinton moving forward. In the coming weeks we should start to see Clinton's numbers strengthen across the country.”
Steffen Schmidt, University Professor of political science, email@example.com, 515-290-9804
“President Obama’s endorsement is crucial to Hilary Clinton. It gives the ‘imprimatur’ of the head of the Democratic Party to Clinton and makes it much harder for Sanders to try and contest the results at the convention. It gives deep legitimacy to the Clinton campaign. Remember, Obama has an approval rating greater than Trump, Clinton or Sanders.
“If I had to pick a song for Super Tuesday—California it would be the piece by the Swedish band Europe, ‘The Final Countdown.’ That's what California, New Jersey and the other four contests mean for the 2015 caucuses and primary season. Also, it took Europe 30 years for this song to hit the top of the charts, revived in 2016 by an insurance company commercial. It took Hillary Clinton 30 years to get to the top too.”
Dianne Bystrom, director of ISU’s Catt Center for Women & Politics, firstname.lastname@example.org, 515-294-4185
“With the Associated Press declaring that Hillary Clinton now has the delegates she needs to make her the presumptive Democratic Party presidential nominee; the dynamics of the Democratic presidential primary have shifted once again. Clinton and Bernie Sanders were both quick to downplay the AP’s declaration. Both candidates hope that their supporters are not distracted by this announcement and show up to vote in Tuesday’s primary elections. Sanders’ supporters may be even more enthused to show up and vote in a continuing protest over establishment politics, including the mainstream media. But Clinton was smart in using the AP’s declaration to rally her supporters to show up today rather than to declare herself the winner.
“On the other hand, the media’s proclamation that Clinton had enough delegates to win the nomination the night before the June 7 primaries may bring this contested presidential primary race to a quicker close, especially if she does well today. Sanders seems a bit more reflective and temperate about his course of action. President Obama’s phone call to Sanders over the weekend likely helped Sanders take a more realistic view of his options following today’s primaries. The president will likely endorse Clinton tomorrow, and is eager to unite the Democratic Party not only against GOP presumptive nominee Donald Trump but also against Republicans running down ticket who are increasingly vulnerable as Trump continues to offend with his divisive rhetoric.”