You may not have noticed it, but Joe Biden scored another win on Saturday night – even if it wasn’t much of a surprise. Alaska held its primary on Saturday and Joe Biden successfully captured 55% of the vote, making him the winner and expanding his lead over Bernie Sanders with 11 delegates to Sanders’ 4. It probably wouldn’t make much of a difference as to who won this contest one way or the other – particularly now that Sanders has suspended his campaign and is no longer seeking the nomination, but there’s a few things that stand out here.
Alaska is one of the very few states in this race to hold its primary exclusively by mail. They originally postponed their presidential primary from last week due to fears of the novel coronavirus outbreak, when Sanders was still in the race and FiveThirtyEight’s prediction model had Biden as a slight favorite to win the contest. He won instead by double digits, meaning he’s still outperforming expectations. Sanders won the state in a landslide back in 2016, back when Alaska still used a caucus format. When they switched to a vote by mail format, participation hiked up significantly from what it was four years ago, with about 19,700 ballots received.
This shows that voters are still very much invested in the race even though it’s clear Biden will be the presumptive nominee – turnout isn’t dropping from what we’ve seen in previous contests. Even if the primaries consist entirely of mail-in ballots, people haven’t stopped letting their choice be known. No wonder Donald Trump and fellow Republicans are terrified at the possibility of an election done entirely by mail.
James Sullivan is the assistant editor of Brain World Magazine and an advocate of science-based policy making