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Data Snacks: Presidential Preference Election Wayback Machine

Updated: Mar 2

The Presidential Preference Election replaced caucuses in Arizona in 1992. It was first used in 1996, but Democrats did not participate until 2004. In 1996, Bill Clinton was the popular incumbent with no competition.

In 2000, Arizona Democrats didn’t participate in the Presidential Preference Election. It was the year 2000. Bush v. Gore. Hanging chads. America elected a president who lost the popular vote.

In Arizona, the Democratic Party chose to hold a “private election”. Instead of holding a State-run PPE, Democrats held a first-ever Internet Election. In a twist of today’s reality, Republicans tried to position themselves to be the champions for persons of color, who owned fewer personal computers and had less access to the internet. They sued and lost. No Native Americans could be persuaded to even join the lawsuit. Participation in the internet vote was off the charts. Native vote was 5 times better and Black vote 8 times. Younger voters showed up as never before. Al Gore lost the Florida chads, but Arizona Democrats were energized!

PPE turnout is heavily dependent on the candidates themselves. Who is running? Frequently, candidates in a crowded field withdraw right before this election. Overall, turnout is much lower than other elections in the cycle.

Here’s a look back at Arizona’s PPE results:

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