SUPER TUESDAY 2020 — The 2020 Election is about to get serious.
The biggest political day of the year — outside of Election Day, of course — is upon us, and uncertainty is at an all-time high. On Super Tuesday Eve, there are plenty of storylines to keep an eye on.
The Democratic field has narrowed to just five candidates ahead of Super Tuesday with former South Bend, Ind. mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and investor Tom Steyer dropping out in the aftermath of the South Carolina Primary. In reality, though, there seem to be two major threats and one potential sleeping giant.
Sen. Bernie Sanders is the delegate frontrunner, though former Vice President Joe Biden is gaining steam and actually took the lead in the popular vote thanks to a landslide victory in South Carolina. The wildcard in the race remains to be former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg who has yet to appear on a ballot. The billionaire has spent over $500 million in advertising in Super Tuesday states, but his level of support is so far relatively unknown.
The Democratic nomination cannot be clinched on Super Tuesday alone, but the remainder of the primary process will hinge on tomorrow’s results. Here are several storylines to watch as the results continue to unfold leading up to the 2020 Presidential Election.
Storylines to Watch on Super Tuesday
Wait, what is Super Tuesday?
There’s a lot of talk about it but what is Super Tuesday?
Super Tuesday falls on March 3 this year. On that date, more than one-third of delegates will be up for grabs as 14 states — including California and Texas — go to the polls. American Samoa and Democrats Abroad will also vote Tuesday, bringing the delegate total to 1,357 for one huge day.
States voting on Super Tuesday include:
- Alabama (52 delegates)
- Arkansas (31)
- California (415)
- Colorado (67)
- Maine (24)
- Massachusetts (91)
- Minnesota (75)
- North Carolina (110)
- Oklahoma (37)
- Tennessee (64)
- Texas (228)
- Utah (29)
- Vermont (16)
- Virginia (99)
- American Samoa (6)
- Democrats Abroad (13)
For reference, only 155 delegates are awarded prior to Super Tuesday, with 2,467 still available afterward. A candidate needs 1,991 delegates to receive the Democratic nomination.
In short, a dominant Super Tuesday carves a relatively easy path to the nomination while a poor showing could all but end a presidential campaign.
Can Biden Keep his Momentum Rolling?
After Iowa and New Hampshire, Biden’s campaign looked to be on life support. A distant second-place finish in Nevada gave him a breath of life, but a landslide victory in South Carolina completely changed the outlook of the race. Now, Biden sits in second place in a tight race with Sanders, while holding the lead in the overall popular vote so far.
Biden winning South Carolina was mild surprise at most, but the margin of victory completely rejuvenated his campaign. The former Vice President racked up 48 percent of the vote in the first racially diverse contest of the race, solidifying his spot as a true national contender. The question, though, is whether his hot streak can continue into Super Tuesday.
Buttigieg’s departure from the race certainly won’t hurt Biden’s chances on Super Tuesday, as he is expected to pick up a majority of the former mayor’s voters. Additionally, Klobuchar announced she will endorse Biden in the wake of the end of her campaign. However, it is still unknown whether or not it will make enough of a difference to challenge Sanders.
UPDATE: Both Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar are expected to endorse Biden ahead of Super Tuesday after suspending their respective campaigns.
Is Bloomberg a Legitimate Contender?
The sleeping giant of the Democratic race is former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg. Bloomberg entered the race late and has yet to appear on the ballot. but that all changes on Super Tuesday.
So far, Bloomberg has spent over $500 million on advertising according to CNN, more than all other candidates combined. So far, though, all that has equated to a grand total of zero votes. Super Tuesday will be absolutely vital in determining if the strategy was worth it, quite literally.
After stumbling on the debate stage in his debut, the former mayor was able to regain some composure in his second attempt, though it may not be enough to sway voters. If voters rely strictly on recognition, though, he may be in luck. Over the past few months, it has been impossible to avoid his campaign ads, especially in Super Tuesday states.
To have a realistic chance in the Democratic field, Bloomberg has to have a very strong Super Tuesday. If he can challenge Sanders and Biden, he can assert himself into the fold. If he falls short, though, he may just be out half a billion dollars.
Can Sanders Reach a Majority of Delegates?
As it stands, Sanders is the frontrunner to win more delegates than any other contestant. However, simply winning the most delegates won’t be enough. Sanders will need a majority of the delegates to clinch the nomination.
What’s the difference, though?
“Superdelegate: (in the Democratic Party) an unelected delegate who is free to support any candidate for the presidential nomination at the party’s national convention.” – Dictionary.com
In the Democratic nomination process, there are delegates that are decided upon by the states, and super delegates decided by members of the party. Typically, superdelegates will decide the race if no candidate reaches the majority of the delegates.
Currently, Sanders holds a narrow 60-54 delegate lead over Biden. If Sanders is able to secure California — as he is projected to — and a handful of other Super Tuesday states, he will surely grow his lead. However, if he falls short of the 1,991 delegate mark, things could get interesting.
According to a report by the New York Times, a large percentage of superdelegates are not willing to nominate Sanders if he falls short of a majority.
“Dozens of interviews with Democratic establishment leaders this week show that they are not just worried about Mr. Sanders’s candidacy, but are also willing to risk intraparty damage to stop his nomination at the national convention in July if they get the chance,” the report reads.
Ultimately, if a nominee like Biden is able to keep the race close through Super Tuesday, the Democratic Party may lean heavily in favor of that candidate over Sanders.
How Long will Warren, Gabbard Stay in the Race?
The clock is ticking for Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
Through four contests, Warren has amassed just eight delegates. If she continues her campaign into Super Tuesday, she will need some serious momentum to stay alive in the Democratic race. For reference, Buttigieg earned 26 delegates through the first four states and has already dropped out of the race. With the news of Klobuchar’s exit Monday morning, Warren is sure to be the next major candidate in line.
If she does make it to Super Tuesday, though, she may steal votes from the other three remaining candidates. Her progressive platform is very similar to that of Sanders’, setting the stage for a split between the two in several states.
It seems highly unlikely that Warren could steal a state from Sanders, but if she is able to swing a handful of delegates, she could ultimately harm Sanders’ long-term campaign. If she is somehow able to notch a few victories on Super Tuesday, she may assert herself back into the race, but it will take a monumental effort to do so.
The only candidate yet to be mentioned is Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, who has yet to earn a single delegate prior to Super Tuesday. She is polling at less than 1 percent nationally and has virtually no shot at the nomination.
It remains likely that Gabbard will be the next candidate to bite the dust with Warren not far behind.
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