First there was Super Sunday and now we have Super Tuesday — which of the two is more exciting is purely in the eye of the beholder.
Though there will be no dabbing, no Papa John's kissing quarterbacks and no Beyoncé Black Panther dance numbers, there will be plenty of excitement. The lead up to Super Tuesday has been much more entertaining than anything the NFL did leading up to Super Bowl Sunday.
There's been screaming, shouting, name calling, even small genitalia innuendo… seriously. We do indeed live in exciting times and Super Tuesday should not fail in living up to the hype, but first things first — what's Super Tuesday? Below is everything you need to know about why this Tuesday is so super.
Super Tuesday is the day when the largest number of states hold their presidential primary contest. Super Tuesday has become part of the US political lexicon, but surprisingly the practice isn't even 30 years old. The first Super Tuesday occurred during the 1988 presidential primaries — Southern states feeling left out by the political influence of other more populated regions decided to hold nine contests on the same day — unlike Michael Dukakis, political folk knew they had a hit on their hands and an American tradition was born. Though fun to take a trip down memory lane, in true political fashion, let us not look back; let us move forward!
Super Tuesday 2016 takes place on March 1. 12 states and American Samoa will cast their nomination ballots for president. 661 delegates are up for grabs in the Republican contest and 865 are on the line for the Democrats. 1,237 delegates are needed to win the GOP nomination and 2,383 are needed to get the Democratic nod. Super Tuesday is the single biggest day of the presidential primary season. It separates the contenders from the pretenders. For instance, in 2012 former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney put the proverbial nail in the coffins of his rivals after a stellar Super Tuesday showing.
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have the lead in their respective races. Secretary Clinton has a 459 delegate lead over rival Bernie Sanders, while Mr. Trump has a 65 delegate lead over his closest competitor, Ted Cruz. Citizens from Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Virginia are set to go to the polls.
Though, mathematically speaking, a winner cannot be declared solely on delegates gained on Super Tuesday, the general election match up of Clinton vs. Trump could be nearly assured if the billionaire and the former Secretary of State do well. As it stands, polls show “The Donald” holding leads in all but three states — Arkansas, Minnesota and Ted Cruz’s home state of Texas. If these polls are accurate and the leads hold, Donald Trump will be well on his way to becoming the Republican nominee.
On the Democratic side, Secretary Clinton leads in all but one contest — Sanders home state of Vermont. These are sobering numbers for any candidate not named Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump and with winter soon turning to spring, there will be little time for others to mount a comeback before primary season comes to an end in June.
While both the Republican and Democratic contests are gaining in intensity, the situation is more dire among the GOP.
The Republican National Committee is desperate to stop Donald Trump from becoming their nominee. Republicans fear they will lose moderate voters to the Democrats in the general election due to Trump’s extremist views and abrasive, brash language. Most national polls have Donald losing to both Secretary Clinton and Senator Sanders.
Even though the general election is based on the Electoral College rather than the popular vote, an unsettling scenario could emerge for the Republicans. Both Clinton and Sanders could sway moderates away from Republicans, which would spell the defeat of the GOP come Election Day.
(Photo from left: Tom Pennington/Getty Images, Justin Sullivan/Getty Images, Joe Raedle/Getty Images)