If you look under the first Tuesday of March, your calendar might say, “Super Tuesday – Regional Holiday.” But what exactly is “Super Tuesday”, and why is it so important that even Apple calendar is pointing it out?
The first thing you need to know is the date of this holiday changes every election cycle. This year it is on March 3rd, aka the first Tuesday of March. And typically, Super Tuesday occurs in February or March, though it doesn’t necessarily have to be the first Tuesday of either month.
In 2004 and 2008, Super Tuesday occurred in February. In the more recent elections, 2012 and 2016, Super Tuesday dates occured in March. As an added twist, there can actually be multiple primary dates labeled as Super Tuesday. In fact, in 2016 there were two such days, Super Tuesday I and Super Tuesday II – both were dramatic days for the allocation of primary delegates.
All in all, regardless of when it occurs, Super Tuesday is the primary date when candidates from either party are eligible to win the most delegates. (Delegates are the votes needed to become the party’s eventual candidate, which is decided on the day of the respective party’s convention.) No matter how many Super Tuesday type days occur, these days weigh heavily in deciding the fate of candidates.
Over the years, this regional holiday has become a big deal in the political world. It is a day where the tides can turn and a clear frontrunner often emerges. Over the years, many states have moved up their primary date to make their votes appear more important. As a disclaimer: all votes are important, whether you are the first state or the last. BUT! It is true that if you are a later state, and your party is on the fence between candidates…you might be swayed to choose the one who you perceive as having the best chance of becoming your party’s nominee (aka….someone who has won a majority of delegates on Super Tuesday).
In 2020, all eyes are on the one and only Super Tuesday of this cycle, where 14 states will hold Democratic Primaries and 13 of those states will hold Republican Primaries. The states voting on March 3rd are; Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and Virginia (only for Democrats, as the Virginia Republican party has forgone their primary and put their support behind the incumbent). In addition, the Democrat’s will be holding a caucus in American Samoa and Democrats abroad will begin voting (they will have from the 3rd to the 10th to cast their ballots).
Since in the 2020 Presidential Election most of the attention, in the primary phase, is on the Dermocratic candidates, it’s important to note that 1,357 of the 3,979 pledged delegates will be up for grabs. This is a big deal because it quite literally means, up until Super Tuesday it is anybody’s game – and only after will we be able to have a legitimate conversation on who is the Democrat’s front-runner.
To throw in another curveball, this cycle’s Super Tuesday is extra super because it will be the first time Mayor Michael Bloomberg is on the ballot in ANY primary. Up until March 3rd, no primaries had Michael Bloomberg officially registered as a candidate (e.g. Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina). Although, interestingly enough, he received more write-ins in New Hampshire than some other candidates who were officially on the ballots but have since dropped out.
In addition to helping the Democratic party narrow down their large field of candidates, Super Tuesday will provide results on Bloomberg’s experiment. Will he be established as a legitimate candidate and potential rival to current front-runner Bernie Sanders? Or, will we learn that money can’t buy genuine voter support? Only time, and Super Tuesday, will tell!
While March 3rd will undeniably be the biggest day in the primary phase, there are a number of other large primary dates coming up. These include: March 10th (6 states on the Blue side, 5 states on the Red side), April 28 (6 states for both parties, including big states like New York and Pennsylvania), and June 2nd (5 states for both parties).
All of these primaries will lead to the party conventions, Democrats in July and Republicans in August, where the party nominees will be officially decided on and formally announced.
Until then, you can now look forward to Super Tuesday with full knowledge of what it is and what’s to come!
Copy edited by Megan Lachman