The 2020 Election: Part 1 – The Primary Season Begins

Civics Learning Project already has available multiple units of curriculum for teaching the 2020 Election and about voter issues. Check it out and look for updates as we add more content.


This is Part 1 of an Election 2020 Series of Current Event Resources

The 2020 Election Season is now underway with the start of the Iowa caucuses on February 4, 2020. The next contests will be Nevada caucuses on February 22, the South Carolina primary on February 29, and then Super Tuesday on March 3. On Super Tuesday, 16 states will vote, including some with large numbers of electoral votes: California and Texas. The Democratic candidates are vying to be the one nominee of the Democratic Party that will challenge President Trump in November’s presidential election. There are very few Republican party primaries occurring this year because many state Republican parties have decided to directly support the re-election of President Trump. So most of the electoral suspense will be with the democrats this Spring. In this initial Elections 2020 Current Event, we will provide guides to the differences between caucuses and primaries, as well as a calendar of the primary season so that students and teachers can begin to follow and keep tally on who may end up being the Democratic challenger to President Trump.

The American system of elections continues to raise controversy, with the use of caucuses, the Electoral College, and representation in the Senate. We will begin to tackle these issues in this first in our Election 2020 Series of Current Event Resources.  Let us know if you and your students have particular election issues you’d like us to cover this Spring or next Fall and we’ll work to include those topics in this series.


2020 Presidential Primary Calendar


Essential Questions:

  • How do we choose candidates for president of the United States?
  • Do you believe democracy is best protected in our current primary electoral process – why or why not?
  • What is the difference between a caucus and a primary?
  • How important do you believe endorsements from elected officials and/or newspapers might be for candidates?
  • Which candidate currently appeals to you and why?



























Recent News Articles:

Toward ‘Super Tuesday’ — momentum, money and delegates – February 16, 2020, The Hill

How do the Nevada caucuses work? – February 14, 2020, CBS News

Presidential caucuses are complicated. Why do some states use them? – January 9, 2020, PBS News Hour


Candidate Websites:



Joe Biden

Amy Klobuchar

Bernie Sanders

Elizabeth Warren



Donald Trump

Bill Weld



Media Endorsements for major Democratic Primary Contenders:


Joe Biden:

Sioux City Journal

Las Vegas Weekly (co-endorsement w/Amy Klobuchar)

Las Vegas Sun (co-endorsement w/Amy Klobuchar)


Amy Klobuchar:

The Quad-City Times

The New York Times (co-endorsement w/Elizabeth Warren)

The New Hampshire Union Leader

The Keene, NH Sentinel Source

Iowa City Press Citizen

The Mercury News (CA Bay Area)

The Houston Chronicle


Bernie Sanders:

The Daily Iowan

The Daily Pennsylvanian

The Conway (NH) Daily Sun

The San Francisco Bay Guardian

The Valley Advocate (MA)


Elizabeth Warren:

The New York Times (co-endorsement w/Amy Klobuchar)

The Storm Lake Times (Iowa)

The Des Moines Register (Iowa)


Endorsements from Individuals

Endorsements from Elected Officials Tracker – Politico

Endorsements from Elected Officials Tracker – FiveThirtyEight






Lexile Level – Adjustable Articles (Newsela)

Iowa Democrats release some caucus results after long delay – Original Source: AP News, Feb. 4, 2020

Iowa caucuses offer students a laboratory for civics education – Original Source: Education Week, Feb. 2, 2020


Battle for the youth vote begins for 2020 White House hopefuls – Original Source: AP News, Apr. 4, 2019

With teens more politically active, support grows for lowering the voting age to 16 – Original Source: PBS Newshour, Oct. 21, 2018




Maps & Timelines:

Best Resource for an interactive electoral map:

Decision 2020 National Results & Map – NBC News

The 2020 Presidential Primary and Map – Frontloading HQ (academic site)

America’s Choice 2020 – Primaries & Caucuses – CNN



Primary Sources for election & voting information:

The American Presidency Project (UC Santa Barbara)

The Federal Election Commission

Look up my Congressional District (

U.S. Census Voting & Registration

The Library of Congress: Presidential Elections



Lesson Plans on this topic:

What are the Primaries & Caucuses? – PBS Newshour

Primaries and Caucuses – BrainPop

The Iowa Caucuses and Beyond – The Bill of Rights Institute

What are the Presidential Primaries? – Democracy & Me



Lesson Plans regarding Media & News Literacy (general):

Media Literacy Resources – Newseum

News & Media Literacy Lessons – Common Sense

Media Misinformation, Viral Deception, and “Fake News” – University of Wyoming

Evaluating Sources in a ‘Post-Truth’ World: Ideas for Teaching and Learning About Fake News – New York Times Lessons