One of the election season’s biggest nights wrapped up last Tuesday, providing voters with a clearer picture of which candidates may be representing the two major parties in this fall’s presidential election.
March 2, or Super Tuesday as it has come to be known, saw 12 U.S. states holding either a caucus or primary election to nominate a Republican and Democratic presidential candidate.
Since the 1980s, Super Tuesday has acted as a sort of antidote for what many perceive to be the negative aspects of the Iowa Caucus and the New Hampshire Primary.
In the case of both Iowa and New Hampshire, candidates focus a great deal of their attention campaigning in each state in an attempt to garner the most votes. Super Tuesday, on the other hand, forces candidates to canvas on a much larger scale.
Jody Neathery-Castro, department chair and associate professor of political science at University of Nebraska at Omaha, said, “Super Tuesday is like the counter-Iowa – it is a bunch of states holding their primaries on the same day, forcing candidates to ‘face the music’ and the rigor of campaigning across all those states.”
States holding a caucus or primary vote for either one or both of the two major political parties were Texas, Tennessee, Georgia, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Alabama, Virginia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Colorado, Vermont and Wyoming.
With so many states sending voters to the polls, Super Tuesday is seen by many as the most important single day in the nomination process.
Paul Landow, assistant professor of political science at UNO since 2009 said, “There is a broad representation of states and a lot of delegates, making Super Tuesday arguably the most important day of the primary season.”
In order to secure the Republican nomination for the general election on Nov. 8, a candidate needs to win at least 1,191 out of a possible 2,348 delegates. In order to secure the Democratic nomination, a candidate needs to secure at least 2,025 out of a possible 4,050 delegates.
According to National Public Radio, 865 delegates were up for grabs for Democrats on Tuesday, while Republicans were vying for their share of 595 delegates. Hillary Clinton was the big winner on the Democratic side, while Donald Trump carried the day for Republicans. Each candidate was able to secure the majority of delegates in 7 of the 12 states represented on Tuesday.
So what does this all mean for Nebraska? According to Gregory Petrow, associate professor of political science at UNO, Nebraska’s influence in the nomination process is somewhat diminished since so many delegates were decided on Super Tuesday.
“The later in the process Nebraska is, the less attention it will receive from the candidates and media,” Petrow said.
Nebraskans got their chance to cast their votes for candidates in the Democratic caucus on Saturday March 5, and the state will be holding the Republican primary in May.