In 2016, Sanders swept the first-in-the-nation primary against Hillary Clinton by a large majority, due in part to his popularity with young and independent voters alike. Now, as he maintains a narrow lead in the current top tier, it’s two lower-polling contenders that could poke holes in the powerful coalition Sanders once relied on: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and Andrew Yang.
At first glance, Gabbard, the Hawaii Democrat who’s long and famously sparred with party figures, and Yang, the firebrand entrepreneur from New York, don’t appear to pose an immediate threat to Sanders, who earns 19 percent of support. Together, they barely crack half of that. And in the momentum primary, the early state energy has been with Buttigieg, the millennial South Bend mayor, and Warren, who hails from the state next door.