The way Colorado picks presidential candidates is completely different from 2016, when Democrats in the state felt the Bern.
Colorado will hold its first presidential primary in two decades next year instead of political party caucuses, a move that is expected to dramatically increase turnout and will allow unaffiliated voters to participate in determining the allocation of Democratic delegates to the national convention.
The remade voter landscape makes the contest more unpredictable, especially if a large number of candidates remain in the race for the Super Tuesday vote.
And it means what happened in 2016 in Colorado is no guide for what to expect in 2020. Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders — who holds a rally Monday evening in Denver, his first in Colorado this campaign cycle — beat Hillary Clinton in the state’s primary caucuses four years ago, seizing 59% of the vote to her 40% by drawing devoted supporters to the one-night caucus in March.
“I would bet my entire life on it: If in 2016 Colorado was a primary and not a caucus state, Hillary would have won,” said Brad Komar, who was Clinton’s state director in 2016. “Caucuses are lower turnout, and that favors more ideological candidates. When you go to a primary and more people participate in the electorate, it becomes more moderate.”
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