1st March, otherwise known as Super Tuesday, saw more than a dozen US states elect delegates in the contest for the Democrat and Republican presidential nominations. Super Tuesday is a historically momentous day in presidential elections, and is seen by many to be one of the most important days for candidates in their bids.
On America’s political left, Hillary Clinton regained momentum for her campaign by winning in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia, succeeding in what the BBC called a “firewall” of Southern states. The senator and former first lady succeeded in winning the Democrat’s black vote in these states, despite recent PR disasters involving Black Lives Matter activists who criticised her attitudes to racism during her husband’s presidency in the 90s.
Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s only rival, won in Colorado, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and his own state of Vermont. Whilst Sanders did do quite well, the result has pushed Clinton further towards the nomination. A Democrat candidate needs to collect 2383 delegates to win their party’s nomination; Clinton now has 1,052, whereas Sanders has 427 in comparison.
It seems then, that a victory for Clinton is quite assured. However 34 states still have to vote for the Democrats, in addition to a large handful of US territories, such as Guam.
On the Republican side, Donald Trump won in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia. These victories come despite controversy surrounding his reluctance to condemn endorsements from the Ku Klux Klan. It seems to have spooked his rivals too; 2008 and 2012 candidate Mitt Romney recently warned Republicans against voting for Trump.
While Trump seems to be the front runner, the race is closer between the Republican nominees than Democrats. The distance between Trump and his surviving rivals Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio has narrowed following Super Tuesday, with Trump holding the support of only 39 more delegates than Cruz. The GOP party winner requires the support of fewer delegates than their Democrat competitors; only 1,237 are needed to win. Cruz’s loss in the state of Georgia was significant, however, especially as evangelical Christians comprise a lot of his support base; he also lost the vote in Georgia, and other so-called ‘Bible Belt’ southern states to Trump.
Florida’s primary, on 15th March, will be important, particularly for the trailing Rubio. Despite being the state senator, Trump is leading Rubio in the polls for the Sunshine State – it would be extremely humiliating and detrimental to a future run for Rubio to lose a vote in his own state.
Currently, Trump has the support of 329 delegates, Cruz has 231, Rubio, 110, John Kasich and Ben Carson are trailing with the support of 25 and 8 delegates respectively.
After Super Tuesday, pundits often claim the nomination race is a done deal. This may be true of the Democrats, and Donald Trump may have the headlines behind him, but whether he will maintain his Republican position, we’ll just have to wait and see.