The 2020 Presidential Election: Analyzing Super Tuesday

Super Tuesday is one of the most critical days for presidential candidates. It is like a playoff game against the closest ranking opponents. This particular Super Tuesday is so significant because the greatest number of states hold their primary voting. This year, the hectic holiday was held on the first Tuesday of March. The whole point of these primaries is to win the most delegates in each state, that way the candidate has more of a chance to win the nomination at the Democratic National Convention. To secure their nomination, candidates must poll at 15% to receive delegates in each state and in total they need 1,991 delegates to ensure a nomination at the convention. On Super Tuesday, the states with the most delegates to offer are California and Texas. Now, to really understand the results from: Alabama, American Samoa, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Vermont, recognizing the importance of what happens within the political sphere directly before it is essential. 

A week ago, right before the former vice president won South Carolina, the Joe Biden campaign was said to be dead by most analysts. Bernie Sanders was the frontrunner having won Nevada, New Hampshire and  Iowa. The turning point was in South Carolina because it meant Biden appealed to the Southern democrats more. While Bernie may do better in traditionally more liberal areas, like the West, Biden was able to get the votes in the red states. The Monday before Super Tuesday, former candidates Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, and Tom Steyer all suspended their campaigns. They threw their support to Joe Biden along with previous presidential hopeful and Texas native, Beto O’Rourke. This was the game changer. Bernie Sanders virtually did not receive any support from these well-known political figures, and really only continued to be endorsed by celebrities or smaller political officials. The supporters of these four previous contenders for the executive seat most likely decided to cast their votes for Biden due to the simple connection he now had with them. This is one of the first times the Democratic Party has actually shown unity throughout this race- and the voters liked it. 

On Tuesday Biden walked away with 10 states (Alabama, Arkansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas). Sanders managed to win the top prize of the night, California, who has the most delegates to offer. He also was able to win in his home state of Vermont, he won in Utah, and in Colorado. Mike Bloomberg managed to squeeze out a win in American Samoa, while Elizabeth Warren and Tulsi Gabbard disappointingly did not come in first anywhere. 

What is really shocking is that Biden did not even campaign in most of the states he managed to win. He was low on money and tight on time so he focused on some of the tougher areas. He managed to beat Elizabeth Warren in her home state (Massachusetts), and also won in Tennessee, Minnesota, and Arkansas without stepping foot in them. This plays on the importance of name recognition. Everyone knows Joe Biden. They know that former president Barack Obama likes Joe Biden. With the name recognition and correlation to Obama, Biden was able to assume this position as the underdog and come out on top. After his win in South Carolina, he built up a massive amount of morale around his name. He chipped away at smaller counties in bigger states all night, ultimately giving him a slight lead. Also, there is nothing Americans love more than someone who they can relate to, so that also could have been a large factor in his unexpected victory. Biden talks a lot about the tragedy in his life of losing children, of losing his wife, and the overall struggles he has had to overcome. He places a massive amount of emphasis on his family, which most Americans resonate with. Everyone has lost a loved one in their lives, and Biden’s charismatic demeanor about these topics allow him to empathize more with voters. On the other hand, the Democrats’ intrinsic fear of Donald Trump needs to be considered. How much of Biden’s conquering on Tuesday was due to himself and how much of it was due to those standing behind him? Anxiety about the incumbent being re-elected is abundant, so the moderate nature of Biden’s policies and his endorsements most likely carried a majority of his votes. 

Bernie Sanders did not totally lose last night. He still did well, considering he won California and was in second for most of the results. Most voters like the idea of the Vermont Senator’s policies, but the issue is that they doubt he can beat Trump with them. His agenda is quite radical compared to Biden’s, and Americans may see the need for a smooth, transitional president. Trump was elected just a mere four years ago, and although it is clear that several Americans want change, the measure of change they can handle is uncertain. A new challenge has risen from the surprise victories of Joe Biden. The senator now has to find a new angle to overcome Biden with. This whole campaign he has had strong criticisms of Biden’s support for the Iraq War and other policies in which he supported. Plainly viewed, these candidates are both two old, white men who yell a bunch. So, Sanders may need to find a new way to reach those who do not already support him. Bernie’s army of devotees is wide, strong, and loyal. He does not have to worry about them. Sanders is always likely to win the vote of young people and Latinos, but Biden seems to dominate with the older crowd and with African Americans. He needs to worry about those who do not favor him or Biden, but have to make a choice about who can beat Trump. Whatever he and his team decides to do will most likely be set into motion on March 15th at the next debate.

Now, to the other candidates. As of March 4, 2020, Mike Bloomberg has suspended his campaign after only having one victory Tuesday. The millions of dollars he spent on his campaign are down the drain, and he has endorsed Joe Biden. Tulsi Gabbard was virtually a no show on Tuesday, polling below 1% often. So, do not expect to see much from her. What about Elizabeth Warren? No one knows. She did not win any states, but managed to poll above 15% to win delegates in several of the 14 states and one territory that voted. Warren began her campaign with a lot of momentum, and that momentum did not die until her incident with Bernie. After she claimed Bernie told her he did not think a woman could win the presidency, those backing Bernie and those who hated her did not let it go. It was not a smart decision on her and her team’s part to come out with that allegation and it amounted to her downfall. Although she performed strongly in the debates, it just was not enough. Whoever Warren decides to back now is crucial. If she endorses Bernie, it will push him much further than he could on his own. However, it is very likely that Warren may join her fellow Dems in supporting Joe Biden, unifying the party almost completely. If the latter is the case, Sanders will have to dig himself out of a very deep hole. 

    The 2020 Super Tuesday was somewhat historic. The unthinkable happened, but it is still an extremely close race. Again, the main focus of the Democratic Party is to beat Trump. It is clear that their pick is Joe Biden, but that does not necessarily mean he is the people’s pick.