06
Mar
12

Super Tuesday, Why this time it’s actually going to be super! – a guest post from yael shafritz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today is Super Tuesday, and this year that is an extremely exciting day for anyone following the US Republican presidential primary. This year Super Tuesday is actually going to be super as for the first time in any recent elections it may well decide exactly which Republican is going to face Obama in the autumn.

To really understand why this Super Tuesday is so special we first must understand exactly what Super Tuesday is. In the US for parties to nominate a presidential candidate, the candidates must go through a series of primaries and caucuses throughout the 50 states. Some of these are purely for members of the party to vote in, whereas others are open and any registered voter can cast a ballot for their chosen candidate. Famously the first contest is always the ‘Iowa Caucus’, quickly followed by the ‘New Hampshire Primary’ which both take place almost a year before the general election. After that there is an informal order for which the states hold their caucuses and primaries. Super Tuesday is called so as there are the most states holding primary elections on the same day. These states range in size, geographical location and importance. The order of the primaries for later states and Super Tuesday are often seen as less important in the presidenti

al primary system as by then a frontrunner has often been established and the majority of other candidates have already dropped out. And what is the aim of these primaries and caucuses? It is to gain to delegates so that when the convention for their party is held, one candidate will have enough delegates from various states to be voted in as his or her party’s nominee.

This Super Tuesday is really exciting because the guy everyone expected to be the Republican party’s frontrunner by this point is, not! So far Mitt Romney has 180 delegates, Rick Santorum has 90 delegates, Newt Gingrich has 29 delegates and Ron Paul has 23 delegates. Although it may seem like Mitt Romney has a large lead over the other candidates, when the goal is 1,144 delegates needed to be nominated, it’s easy to understand why Mr Romney is still a way off. This is why Super Tuesday is so important. With 10 states holding their primaries today there are a lot of delegates up for grabs and in the case of Mitt Romney, he needs all the delegates he can get so as to establish his position as frontrunner before going into the remainder of the primaries. For Rick Santorum this day is also key as a win for him will either blow the whole contest wide open, disproving the notion that Romney was ever the established frontrunner, or in a best case scenario (and I mean that for him and the rest of the world) puts him in the lead and establishes him as the frontrunner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So which states are important, well Ohio is seen as the key state today as it has a lot of delegates and is also a big swing state in the general election. Whoever carries Ohio today will be given a delegate advantage but also show themselves as a viable candidate to beat Obama in the general. Georgia is also a key state with the largest amounts of delegates, however Gingrich is likely to win here as it’s his home state, but Romney and Santorum will surely be in a fight for a close second. Ultimately the states in the south and Midwest will decide this Super Tuesday as any Republican presidential candidate needs to be able to sweep these states in the general election. Santorum’s chances to do will in some states is severely limited due to the fact that he wasn’t able to get on the ballot in several key constituencies and states, something that Romney’s campaign has blamed on incompetence. This means that in a state like Virginia where Santorum had a real chance for a key win he will not even be on the ballot.

Not since the Democratic primary season in 1972 has there been such a contested primary so this Super Tuesday could provide several outcomes. By tomorrow we will know a lot more as to the political landscape for the rest of the year in the states. Either Romney will sew up the nomination. However, this seems unlikely. More likely is the notion that the process will once again be kept open and 2 of the 4 remaining candidates will be left fighting for delegates. Hopefully, for our entertainment, this battle continues all the way to the convention where we will be able to witness a gridlocked convention and a party rip itself apart trying to find one viable candidate.

Yael Shafritz is a dual UK and US citizen studying at Sheffield University and is a Labour and Democrat activist.

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