The Single Issue On Acela Tuesday We Shouldn't Gloss Over
Another big primary day is coming up on April 26 — an election which pundits have nicknamed the Acela Primary. If you're not a resident of the Northeast or a frequent Amtrak rider, you might not have heard of Acela before. The Acela Express, Amtrak's high-speed train runs between Boston to Washington, D.C. through five states — Rhode Island, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland — that are especially important this week, because they will all vote in presidential primaries on Tuesday.
Of all the issues at stake in this election, income inequality should be particularly important in this primary — the five states that vote on Tuesday are all in the top half of states with the highest GDP per capita and have some of the worst income inequality ratings in the country. Maryland, No. 12 in GDP per capita, had one of the worst wealth inequality ratings in the country in 2015, so the state should connect with Bernie Sanders' message of income equality, at least theoretically.
However, the city of Baltimore, the country's worst county for upward economic mobility, is predominantly black, a demographic in which Sanders struggles to get votes. Clinton threw a $1,000 per plate fundraiser in Maryland back in December, hosted by Wayne Rogers, the former head of the Maryland Democratic Party.
Connecticut, No. 5 on the GDP per capita list and No. 20 on the income inequality list, is also one of the highest fundraising states in the country, particularly for Democrats, which the state has supported in general elections since 1992. Hillary Clinton has raised over $2.7 million so far in Connecticut alone, with fundraising events that sell as high as $10,000 per ticket.
The importance of these primaries can't be understated — both primaries are poised at a point of no return for the frontrunners, and if Clinton and Donald Trump can pull off decisive wins on Tuesday, as they are predicted to do, the nominations will be all but locked.
It's critical to look at the driving forces behind the success of each candidate in these states, which seems in many cases to be money and establishment connection, to see if what kind of campaign each candidate is running. The Acela Primary is about more than which states will vote — it's about how and why the eventual winners do well.