Monday, February 29, 2016

The Campaign Trail 2016: Tomorrow isn't just Tuesday, it's Super Tuesday

Super Tuesday, the day that can make or break a campaign, is tomorrow. Candidates from both parties stand to win big and lose badly.

There is no doubt that after Super Tuesday the Republican field will be winnowed down again, probably very significantly. Eleven states consisting of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, and Virginia will all be holding primaries or caucuses to award their delegates. A total of 595 delegates are up for grabs.

Trump is 536 delegates away from being half way to the total he needs to become the Republican nominee. If Trump sweeps all of the Super Tuesday states he could ensure that no other candidate gets enough delegates to win the nomination. Then again, subsequently other candidates could win enough to ensure Trump doesn't either.

Donald Trump is currently riding high. Last week he got his third straight win and locked down the high profile endorsement of former opponent Gov. Chris Christie. Can he keep this winning streak up? Will he dominate the board and all but assure he gets the Republican nomination? Will moderate Christie's endorsement bring over voters from Rubio and Kasich?  Or will Trump's refusal to initially disavow the endorsement from former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke hurt him?

How the last Republican debate will effect the voters is unclear. Trump, Rubio, and Cruz looked for a while like they were going to break out in a street fight during the campaign with the moderator, Wolf Blitzer, losing complete control of the three. How this might effect the supporters of the leading three is unknown.

What Gov. John Kasich or Ben Carson hope to accomplish at this point is completely unknown but as of yet neither one has suspended their campaigns. All that is clear is that any candidate that wants to stay in this race needs to win at least four of the states up for grabs. Anyone who can't manage to secure that many wins is all but finished in this race.

The state of Colorado will also be having Republican caucuses but they are not binding their delegates to any preferential vote by the voters.

On the Democratic side, the stakes are just as high. Former Senator Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders will be butting heads in eleven states and one territory tomorrow. Eligible voters in the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, and Virginia will all be casting their vote to award their states' delegates tomorrow. Eligible voters in the territory of American Samoa will be caucusing tomorrow as well. A total of 875 delegates are up for grabs on Tuesday both candidates desperately need every one of those delegates.

For obvious reasons, Clinton is likely to easily take Arkansas and Sanders is likely to take Vermont but who wins each of the states tomorrow is up to the voters. So far, as far as delegates awarded by the voters are concerned, Clinton and Sanders are almost tied. Neither one is out of the race yet by any means but if either Clinton or Sanders can manage to sweep the Super Tuesday states, they can use the momentum gained to likely become the Democratic nominee. If they manage to split the delegates, as they have been doing so far, this will end up being a long and hard fight for both candidates.

Clinton is trying to use her first landslide victory last week to propel her to victory. Sanders is hoping to bring out enough of his supporters to thwart Clinton's current momentum.

Tomorrow also starts the in-person voting for Democrats abroad. Democrats abroad are Democrats who live in foreign countries and have met the criteria for voting as a Democrat abroad. The Democratic party recognizes them as the equivalent of one state as far as nomination purposes go. Democrats abroad can cast their vote via mail, fax, and email from January 11th through March 8th. For those who want to vote in person, the Democratic party opens 121 official voting centers in more than 40 countries from March 1st through March 8th.

For the next coverage of the 2016 campaign trail for both the Democratic and Republican parties, return after the results from Super Tuesday have been finalized.

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