By Randy Daniel
March 3, 2020 was Super Tuesday in the United States. No, it’s not a super holiday sale; it’s an early election day in the presidential election process whereby the greatest number of delegates is awarded to the various candidates seeking the nomination. It is always held on a Tuesday, the traditional Election Day in the United States, in either February or March.
Super Tuesday is an extremely important day in the presidential election cycle because more delegates are awarded to the candidates, through several state primaries on this one day, than any other election in the year’s contests. For example, in 2020, approximately one-third of the Democratic Convention’s delegates, a total of 1,338 will be declared on March 3, or Super Tuesday.
A Short History of Super Tuesday
Super Tuesday had its beginnings in 1976 when six primaries were held on May 25 with Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford each winning three states in the Republican race. In 1980, seven primaries and caucuses were held on March 11 of that year.
The Carter-Mondale strategists had succeeded in moving three Southern primaries to one week behind the New Hampshire contest to give Carter an edge if he made a poor showing in that state’s early contest. So, "Super Tuesday" was born in the South with three southern states, Alabama, Florida, and Carter’s home state of Georgia holding their primaries on the same day.
Up to this point, "Super Tuesday" was used to describe the final Tuesday of the primary season with key states such as California and New Jersey casting their votes. By the Presidential election campaign of 1984, Super Tuesday had grown to include more states that wanted to hold their primaries earlier in the election year.
Super Tuesday of 1984 included nine states and was held on March 13. Gary Hart took seven of these primaries, but Walter Mondale ultimately won the nomination due to Hart's personal issues that surfaced a few weeks after the nationwide primaries.
In 1986, the event was billed as "Southern Super Tuesday" as 21 states, mostly from the South, held presidential primaries. The reason most states that participate in Super Tuesday are from the South is that region wanted to hold their primaries together on a given day early in the year. They did this to have more influence over a particular nominee who could conceivably carry the South. However, this Southern plan of action did not work until 1992 when Bill Clinton, another Southerner, won Super Tuesday.
Past Super Tuesday Winners
Candidates who aced Super Tuesday and went on to be the Republican Party’s nominees were Bob Dole in 1996 and George W. Bush in 2000. After Bill Clinton’s Super Tuesday victories in 1992 and ’96, Democratic candidate, Al Gore claimed California and New York in 2000. John Kerry took nine out of ten states in 2004 as the Democratic nominee four years later.
There were 24 states in an early Super Tuesday in February of 2008. This was an effort to sort out the delegates early in the presidential election cycle. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were in a virtual tie the day after the votes were counted. On the Republican side, frontrunner John McCain was able to force Mitt Romney out of the race. McCain then faced Obama in the General Election of 2008. Romney was the Republican nominee four years later against Obama but was unsuccessful in ousting our 44th President.
The Republican Party Convention of 2015 was almost brokered as neither candidate had a majority of the delegates. The Republican candidates rallied around frontrunner Donald Trump to prevent Hillary Clinton from, in their words, "continuing Obama’s presidential legacy."
A brokered convention could occur on the Democratic side in 2020. If there is no candidate with a majority, its occurrence during this presidential election season would become the first one since 1952. In the last brokered convention, the Governor of Illinois, Adlai Stevenson, won the nomination on the third ballot at the Democratic Convention held in Chicago, 68 years ago this July. He was defeated in the General Election by the Republican Candidate, Dwight Eisenhower, in November of that year.
Super Tuesday, 2020
For 2020, there are five candidates actively seeking the Democratic nomination before Super Tuesday. The ones to watch are Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, the latter calling himself a "Social Democrat." He is the Senior Senator from Vermont, a registered Independent, and is currently the Democratic frontrunner.
The votes are being tallied as I write this essay. Biden is currently winning the Southern states due to their large number of minority voters. Bernie is probably going to take the grand prize of California with its large Latino vote; 412 delegates are available in the Golden State. Texas could prove to be a hot battleground state between Joe and Bernie. However, Texas’ native son, Beto O’Rourke, has endorsed Joe, so the Lone Star State could end up in his win column.
It remains to be seen who will win a majority of the 14 states participating in Super Tuesday 2020, but it is a sure bet that the two frontrunners, Joe and Bernie will claim most of the delegates in this early contest. Super Tuesday of 2020 is shaping up to be quite interesting.
The Day After Super Tuesday
I wrote the majority of this essay last night as the votes were tallied. This update now reads more like a news story than as an essay.
Joe Biden has literally turned his campaign around overnight, and is now the current frontrunner. Texas was indeed a hotly contested battleground state with Joe receiving 33% of the vote. Biden's campaign is very much alive as his grassroots campaign is rapidly developing. He is proving to the so-called political experts and media's Trumpian lapdog commentators that the American people do indeed have the final say in the political realm.
The Silent Majority seems to be alive and well in America. We could be witnessing another political grassroots campaign developing from a so-called "unelectable underdog," namely, former Vice-President, Joe Biden.
A mixed up so-called religious broadcaster employed by the AFR Network, itself an extremely biased vehicle for Donald Trump, said, "Joe Biden is ‘toast.’" Biden’s landslide victory in yesterday’s nationwide presidential primaries proves that Super Tuesday is the latest illustration of a budding grassroots Democratic campaign that is quickly gaining momentum.
It is apparent this preacher/ political analysist will have to "eat his own words." Since this so-called political commentator uttered his derogatory remarks, three former candidates, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, and Mike Bloomberg have suspended their campaigns and have endorsed Joe Biden. Elizabeth Warren is probably days away from doing so.
Some Final Thoughts
Super Tuesday has grown from a Carter strategy in 1980 to a permanent fixture in the presidential election cycle. It serves to eliminate the candidates who do not have the momentum to carry their messages to the convention and on to the General Election in November.
It also serves to keep the voting public interested in the election process because the candidates, like sports teams facing elimination in a playoff situation, must play their best game to advance to the next round. The presidential election process is no different. After Super Tuesday, there are 44 primaries left to win, culminating in the ultimate prize, the General Election in November.
Donald Trump is unopposed on the Republican side and makes it his business to stage one of his political pep-rallies at a key city, in a key battleground state during a Democratic Primary or a scheduled event for one of the Democratic frontrunners. This unethical political behavior is completely unnecessary, as he is running unopposed for his party’s reelection. It serves merely as self-gratification for Our Favorite President.
If you are a Democrat candidate vying for your Party’s nomination and your back is up against the wall, you have to play your best game, or you go home. Donald Trump is playing a political game with his mudslinging road shows when he does not have to. He is playing "dirty politics," and undermining the democratic process. One needs only to consider the source to understand this political tactic. Since he is the "kingpin" of the Republican Party, he need only campaign against the Democratic Candidate for the remaining three months of the year. As previously stated, his "campaign rallies" serve only as self-gratification.
The Democrats need to keep their eye on the ball; as the Speaker of the House stated, "The ball is orange." Their ultimate goal is to knock King Donald out of the White House. Super Tuesday 2020 will insure that the in-party squabbling ends. The best candidate will oppose Our Favorite President as the presidential election process heads into the home stretch. Hopefully, that candidate will give him one more nickname, after the November election, which he will no doubt surely detest.
Two of Donald Trump’s final acts in 2020 as the 45th President of the United States will be to pardon the Thanksgiving turkey and light the Official Christmas Tree. I seem to remember George H.W. Bush had the privilege of performing those official duties when Bill Clinton was responsible for his early retirement.
One way or the other, King Donald will ultimately perform those "official presidential duties," as they have become a tradition during the holiday season.
Maybe he will do so as an official "Lame Duck President."