2020 Democrats use July 4 to storm early contest states
By Julia Manchester 7/4/19
Democratic presidential hopefuls will be crisscrossing Iowa and New Hampshire on Thursday, using a series of appearances at Independence Day events to try to inject momentum for their campaigns in a highly volatile race.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, whose shaky performance at last week's debate has transformed the race, will visit Independence, Iowa, to appear at a parade marking the July Fourth holiday.
Biden is also slated to appear Friday morning in an interview on CNN, his first since Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) torched him on the debate stage over his past opposition to school busing and his remarks about working with segregationists in the Senate.
Harris will also be in Iowa on Thursday, appearing at a barbecue in Council Bluffs.
South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D), who has been stagnant in recent polls and is in danger of falling back from the top-tier candidates despite some impressive fundraising, will also be in Iowa. He's attending a Fourth of July parade in Storm Lake, as well as a barbecue with Carroll County Democrats.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who has been in second place in a number of polls to Biden but who has been overtaken in other surveys by Warren and Harris, is set to appear at a number of events Thursday, including four separate parades in Slater, Ames, Windsor Heights and Pella.
Iowa's first-in-the-nation caucuses are now just more than six months away. The traditionally liberal voters at the caucuses would seem to be a fertile audience for Warren and Sanders, the two leading progressives in the race. But polls suggest Biden is in the running in Iowa, as is Harris, who has sought to appeal to both centrists and progressives with her campaign so far.
Warren's campaign has not yet announced where she will be on the Fourth of July. The Hill has reached out for comment on Warren's plans.
More than 1,200 miles away, another slate of Democratic hopefuls will try to win over New Hampshire voters in the crucial first-in-the-nation state.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), who has struggled to break out from the crowded 2020 field, will take part in a pre-parade party with state Sen. Shannon Chandley (D) in Amherst. She will also attend a parade in Merrimack.
Klobuchar will be joined by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) and former Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.), who are polling at 1 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively, according to a RealClearPolitics average. Gabbard and Delaney will appear at parades in Amherst and Laconia; Delaney also will participate in barbecues hosted by Brentwood and Manchester Democrats.
Still, while candidates hope to woo voters in a series of holiday campaign stops, they'll also be competing against their eventual general election opponent.
President Trump will host the "Salute to America" from the Lincoln Memorial on Thursday — an event that has been touted by the president and his allies and criticized by his political opponents who fear the event could politicize Independence Day.
Sitting U.S. presidents rarely take part in July Fourth celebrations in Washington in an effort not to bring politics into the holiday. But presidential hopefuls vying for the opportunity to knock out Trump in next year's election hope the day could solidify their standing with voters as the race heats up.
Democratic strategist Andrew Feldman pointed to a deep tradition of candidates appearing at community events over Independence Day, noting that the holiday gives voters a chance to see a more personable side of the candidates.
“It gets back to the point of wanting to have a beer with the person we elect as the president of the United States,” Feldman told The Hill. “That’s something that Americans have wanted for a long time — to be able to have their president be likable.”
“That’s something these candidates will get to showcase on July Fourth. You’ll see folks taking selfies throughout the parade, picking up babies,” he continued. “That is to me a mix of tradition, but also showing that they can personally connect with voters.”