Super Tuesday Recap: Texas, the 20 Percent, Hillary and Trump
Daniel Kuhn, SPA/MPP ’16
Results from Super Tuesday are displayed on Snapchat "Geofilters."
Super Tuesday is a lot to take in. Voters in twelve states went to the polls, the most of any day during the entire primary season. Did it make a difference? On the surface, Hillary looks to have ended any path Bernie Sanders had to the nomination, while Donald Trump solidified his position as runaway frontrunner. Let's take a look at some of the big narratives:
Texas: Everything’s bigger in Texas, and so are its 155 delegates. That’s nearly as many as seven New Hampshires! Cruz winning Texas and most of its delegates keeps him alive. That might not be the only major storyline from Texas, though. More on that in a moment
20 Percent: The battle for 2nd and 3rd place in states won by Trump was important for Rubio and Cruz, but not as important as getting 20 percent in threshold states like Alabama, Georgia, Texas, Tennessee and Vermont. The 20 percent threshold means that if a candidate fails to get at least 20 percent of the vote, they get zero delegates.
Is Trump the frontrunner? Yes, he’s the Republican front-runner. It’s truly unbelievable how many results it has taken Trump to convince the media and party that he is heading to the nomination. Mitt Romney lost two of the first three states in 2012, won seven of the 11 states heading into Super Tuesday, and 6 of 10 states on Super Tuesday itself. By contrast, Trump won three of the first four states, and was 3 percent away in Iowa from winning all of them. He followed that up by winning seven of 11 states on Super Tuesday. Romney was widely considered inevitable much earlier with less to show for it than Trump. Denial isn’t just a river in Egypt.
Bernie had a rough night: Optimistic Bernie die-hards likely felt they needed convincing wins in Minnesota, Massachusetts, and Colorado to keep the sense that this is still a two-person race. His loss of Massachusetts has to hurt, on the border of his home state, by one point. Bernie has continued to win young people by huge margins in almost every state. The problem? Well, in a word: diversity. Hillary has absolutely fleeced Bernie among African-Americans, who make up huge proportions of the Democratic electorate in some states, while the youngest voters are pretty consistently around the mid-teens. Throw in Hillary’s base of older voters, who turn out in higher numbers than young people, and we have ourselves a ballgame.
Super Tuesday is a big Deal, but this race isn’t over
There are a lot of headlines from Super Tuesday (and its 595 GOP delegates), but the knockout punch should come March 15 with 367 delegates, including winner take all states (Ohio & Florida) and top-10 delegate states (North Carolina & Illinois). Before then, four states vote on Saturday (including Cruz-important states Louisiana, Kentucky and Kansas), followed by four on Tuesday (including Michigan, which is pretty much must-win for Rubio based on delegate math). Watch Michigan, Ohio and Florida closely, which can effectively put an end to the drama.
Snapchat Dispatches from the Campaign Trail
Daniel Kuhn, SPA/MPP ’16, takes to Snapchat as he reports live from New Hampshire