Super Tuesday

During assembly on Tuesday, March 3, senior Gabe Fleisher explained the significance of Super Tuesday. Here are his prepared remarks:

Gabe at podium

The most important day in the fight for the Democratic presidential nomination has arrived. That’s right, it’s Super Tuesday: but what makes it so super?

You’ve probably heard a lot in the last month about Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina: the first four states to vote in the Democratic campaign. While those states play an important role in winnowing the field — as we have seen in the last 72 hours weekend with the withdrawals of businessman Tom Steyer, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar — they only account for about 4% of the delegates that are up for grabs in the nomination race.

The 14 states voting today (seen on this map) have a combined 1,357 delegates: more than one-third of all the delegates at stake.

And this year, for the first time, Texas and California — the states with the two most delegates — are voting on Super Tuesday, making today even more important than usual. 

1,991 delegates are needed to clinch the nomination. If no candidate receives a delegate majority by the convention in July, Democrats will have their first “brokered convention” since 1952 —  meaning all the delegates will be released from their commitments and unpledged superdelegates will also be able to weigh in. The balloting will continue until someone gets a majority.

Candidates need to reach a 15% threshold in a state or congressional district to receive delegates — and a brokered convention is so possible this year because of the high number of candidates who might reach that threshold in various states today and in the upcoming primaries.

Right now, Bernie Sanders has the lead in delegates, with Joe Biden close behind after his South Carolina victory over the weekend. Polls currently show Sanders with comfortable leads in both California and Texas, and most of the other Super Tuesday states, which — if it holds —  would allow him to expand his advantage even more.

The other two major candidates still in the race are Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg has spent more than $170 million on advertising in Super Tuesday states; he will be on the ballot for the first time today after skipping the first four early states. 

After today, the next round of primaries is next Tuesday. Missouri will be one of the states voting — so if there are any seniors or faculty members who are curious, you can check your registration and polling place at vote.org. Polls will be open from 6 am to 7pm. You will need some form of government-issued ID to vote.

As for tonight, polls start to close around 6 pm our time and returns will likely be flooding in throughout the night. Super Tuesday really is the closest thing to a “national primary day” we have; the sheer tonnage of delegates at stake, more than on any other day on the primary calendar, mean the results we get tonight are sure to have a massive impact on the presidential race as it goes forward.