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Super Tuesday: Winners from the Mardi Gras of Politics 2016

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Towson chapter.

In case you’re not the type of collegiette who woke up at 6am on Tuesday March 1st with the enthusiasm of a small child on Christmas morning, this guide is for you.

Super Tuesday is very simply the day in the primary part of an election when the most states have their primaries on the same day. March 1st 2016 saw primary elections in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota (caucuses), Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Virginia (and American Samoa too!). Republicans had a caucus in Alaska, while Democrats had a caucus in Colorado.

In order to get a nomination from a political party, a candidate needs a certain number of delegates from the party’s convention. The delegates generally go to a candidate based on the popular vote from a state’s primary election – this means, with some caveats, whoever gets the most votes will win. The Republican nominee will need to win 1,237 delegates.

The Democrat candidate, on the other hand, will need 2,383 delegates to secure their nomination from the party.

The stakes are high in both races. Many pundits and officials in both political parties have talked about how this election will determine the parties’ futures. Trump, a truly unique and remarkably disliked political animal, is amazingly sweeping the primaries but also possesses wild characteristics that seem incompatible with the presidency. Clinton, gunning to be the first woman President of the United States, struggles with a past marked with waffling between progressive and conservative stances. Sanders, a self-labelled democratic socialist, while wildly successful from a grassroots campaign is far enough outside the American political tradition to make it to the general election. Cruz, the only Republican to have beat Trump, suffers from a lack of charisma and a brand of Evangelism that entirely puts off secular voters. Rubio, despite his dig about the size of Trump’s…hands, has not been able to win in any state. Kasich, despite running the moderate campaign of a general election candidate, has the name recognition of a goat.

Donald Trump won 6 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia. Trump finished by earning 203 more delegates. Ted Cruz won 3 states: Alaska, Texas and Oklahoma, earning  144 delegates. Rubio only won in Minnesota, earning 37 delegates that night. Carson won nothing and received only 3 delegates due to proportional voting rules. On Wednesday afternoon, he officially ended his presidential bid.

On the Democrat side, Clinton had a big night, earning a new 453 delegates. Clinton found victories in Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. Sanders won in 4 states: Colorado, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and Vermont, earning a new 284 delegates.

Even with these big wins, Trump and Clinton have a way to go before securing nominations. Though the math at this stage favors Donald Trump, there are a few possibilities for other candidates to secure the nomination. The debate on Thursday, March 3rd could change his momentum. Trump’s twitter habits also put him at exceptional risk of committing a gaffe so bad that the public won’t be able move on any day now. There are also ways for the party to refuse Trump the nomination at the Republican National Convention, however, that would be incredibly controversial and would probably make certain an Independent Trump run – which could really deter the Republican’s chances of seeing the White House. The GOP is truly stuck between a rock and a hard place with Trump’s growing popularity. Watch on Thursday and pay attention to primary voting on March 15th to see how things continue to play out for the party.

Clinton fares a bit better. If she can continue to succeed in delegate-dense states like Texas, she will quickly secure the nomination. Unfortunately, Clinton faces some major public trust issues in some areas and demographics, and it’s hard to say if that is recoverable. Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders is running a highly successful and unusual campaign. Young people are overwhelmingly supporting Sanders, and in states where voter turn out under 30 is high, he tends to win more delegates. Sanders is perhaps the greatest case for “rock the vote” since Bush v. Gore in 2000. The Democrats also face the issue of only 2 competing parties, and needing a greater number of delegates. The proportional voting rules that won Ben Carson 3 delegates last night, stand to benefit Sanders a lot – especially since the race between Sanders and Clinton tends to be so close (with few exceptions such as Alaska and Arkansas where Clinton dominated). 

Remember to register to vote for Maryland’s closed (you have to be a Republican or Democrat) by April 5th, 2016, and to go out and vote on April 26th! 


Kayleigh Harper is a senior at Towson University studying Law & American Civilization where she mostly stresses about her GPA and eats chicken nuggets in Paws. She is an active sister of the Beta Nu chapter of Alpha Epsilon Phi, where she holds two chair positions: philanthropy and community service. When she isn't aggressively tweeting about current events, she can be found volunteering, travelling or going to alternative concerts. After graduation, she is torn between pursuing a career in campaign work or moving to the Pacific Northwest and opening a dainty bakery.