The primaries begin! Super Tuesday and Super Delegates BY Pedro Graterol
On Sunday March 2nd, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg, announced the formal suspension of his campaign for democratic nominee for president. The news comes after a dramatic victory of former Vice President Joe Biden in the South Carolina primaries and in the framework of the Super Tuesday primaries that will happen on March 3rd. Super Tuesday is one of the most important electoral events of the year, the democratic parties of 14 states will have elections to select their democratic nominee, who will confront Trump in November. For those who follow politics, primary elections are very exciting. Seeing the electoral process choosing the candidate is like following a sports league. Furthermore, the result is of vital importance to understand the general presidential election, one of the most relevant events in global politics. Hence, it is essential to explore how this process works.
Both the democratic and Republican Party are having primary elections. However, since Donald Trump doesn’t have any prominent competitor from his party, it is safe to assume that he will be the republican nominee. The focus of this explanation is in the process of the Democratic Party, since this one has significant electoral implications. As many national elections, primary elections are censitary, which means that citizens do not directly elect the candidate but rather choose delegates that vote for the candidate. In the case of the general presidential election, each state votes for electors, the amount of which is decided by population. These electors reflect the results of each state in the electoral college and choose the president. In the case of the primaries, there is a similar process, but at a smaller scale. Each state has a designated number of delegates and carries out elections by separate. Alaska, for instance, has 19 delegates and will have its election on April 4th. All of the delegates will meet in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in July and will vote for the candidates designated by the voters of their state, choosing the nominee in this way. To win the nomination, each candidate has to win a majority of delegates. This year the majority is 1991 delegates. However, there is a particularity of the democratic process. Each state has a certain number of super delegates. These are high profile members of the party: mayors, governors amongst others. In case no candidate reaches a majority, the super delegates will vote. They are not attached to any candidate and vote in conjunction with the rest of the delegates, who become detached from the candidates they were representing. This scenario is called a “broken convention”, the winner in this scenario wins 2,375 delegates. This event is not super likely, but we have to keep it as a possibility. Returning then to Super Tuesday, 14 states including: California, Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia have their primary elections at the same time. This is the event in which any candidate can win the most delegates, 1617 to be exact, which will solidify the mandate of the winning candidate on the way to July. At this moment, victory is between Biden and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. However, primaries are full of surprises and Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren can create exciting results. Everyone, be on the lookout, this is going to get interesting!
About Pedro Hello. My name is Pedro Graterol, I was born in Venezuela and have lived in several countries on the continent. I was trained as an orchestral musician by the National Orchestra System of Venezuela and since 2010 I have been playing in several orchestras and ensembles at the regional, national and international level. My family has lived in Alaska for the past 5 years. Currently, I study Political Science and Music in Linfield College in Oregon. I’m an “Elliot Alexander” Scholar and the Executive Director for the work study team for the Political Science Department. The focus of my job is to create events and communication strategies to foster civic interest in political processes in the U.S, Latin America and around the world. I am very excited to have the honor to share this interest with the readers of Sol de Medianoche.
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