Joe Biden vs Donald Trump? This is how the US primaries work

There will be another election in the USA this year, but first the parties have to choose their respective candidates. Joe Biden is considered to be almost established as the incumbent, but, like the Republican opponents around Donald Trump, he has to face a lengthy process.

In the US state of Iowa, the long series of party primaries in the 50 states and other US regions for the presidential election at the beginning of November begins on January 15th. Before the voting marathon begins, however, the focus is also on the legal problems of former incumbent Donald Trump. An overview of the US election year:

The role of the Supreme Court

For the Democrats, the primaries are purely a formality; incumbent Joe Biden is certain to be nominated again as a presidential candidate. There is more tension among the Republicans: Trump is currently far ahead of his internal party competitors in the polls with over 60 percent. But it is unclear what impact the right-wing populist’s legal problems could have on his presidential bid.

The states of Colorado and Maine decided that Trump would not be allowed to run in the primary election in this state because of his role in the storming of the Capitol on January 6, 2021. This was justified by the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution, according to which no person may hold public office if he or she has taken part in an “insurrection or insurrection” against the Constitution after taking an oath to defend it.

California, Michigan and Minnesota, however, rejected efforts to ban Trump from the ballot. The final word in this dispute will be the US Supreme Court, which Trump’s lawyers have appealed to over his disqualification in Colorado. The Supreme Court plans to hold a hearing on the case on February 8th. However, it remains unclear when he will deliver his verdict.

In any case, the Supreme Court’s decision will apply not just to Colorado, but nationwide. And until the country’s highest court has ruled, Trump must remain on the ballot in Colorado, Maine and other states. Colorado and Maine will hold their Super Tuesday primaries on March 5.

Opening in Iowa

Traditionally, the Midwestern state is at the start of the primary election marathon. In a departure from tradition, only Republicans will vote on January 15th. The Democrats in Iowa, however, will vote by email for the first time. The results of their vote are not due to be announced until March 5th.

The background to the new procedure for the Democrats is an initiative by Biden, who is critical of Iowa’s central role as the starting point of the primary election process – because the state is not exactly representative of the entire country. Iowa is agricultural and has a large white majority.

Among the Republicans, if Trump wins clearly in the first primary, some of his competitors could throw in the towel. Trump currently has six competitors, only two of whom are given chances – albeit slim ones: These are the governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, and the ex-ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley.

The second act: New Hampshire – without Joe Biden

The second round of primary voting will take place on January 23rd in New Hampshire, with both Republicans and Democrats voting. The small east coast state’s second place in the primary election calendar is also a tradition – something Biden also wanted to change. But local Democrats resisted.

Because of the internal dispute, the president was not put on the ballot in New Hampshire – this shows Biden’s certainty that he will be nominated even without New Hampshire. Biden only has two internal competitors who also have absolutely no chance: the self-help book author Marianne Williamson and the Congressman Dean Phillips.

The “Super Tuesday”

There will be additional primaries in the two weeks after New Hampshire, including in Nevada, South Carolina and Michigan. The voting series reaches a climax on March 5th on “Super Tuesday”, when voting takes place simultaneously in around 15 states, including the two most populous US states, California and Texas.

If Trump wins clearly overall on “Super Tuesday” and the Supreme Court doesn’t get in his way, he could possibly already be confirmed as a presidential candidate.

The party conferences

Voting will take place in the remaining 50 US states by the beginning of June. The primary election process then concludes at party conferences, at which the candidates are formally nominated. The state party organizations send delegates to these meetings. Most of them are tied to the primary election results in their state in their party conference vote.

The Republican convention will take place from July 15th to 18th in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and the Democratic convention will take place from August 19th to 22nd in Chicago, Illinois.

The choice

The hot phase of the election campaign begins with the party conferences. It also includes three television debates between the presidential candidates. On November 5th, the citizens of the USA will elect their president.