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Clinton, Trump Sweep Super Tuesday

Donald Trump (R) and Hillary Clinton (D) command the polls after March 1, Super Tuesday.

Appropriately, if unofficially, called “Super Tuesday”, twelve states and one territory held their presidential nominating contests. States include Virginia, Texas, Georgia, and Vermont, as well as Democrats in American Samoa.

Trump claims seven victories, and came in second in three states. The controversial Republican candidate led the polls in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Virginia, and Vermont. Ted Cruz (R) led the polls in Alaska, Oklahoma, and Texas. Marco Rubio (R) led in Minnesota.

Hillary Clinton claims seven victories: Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. Bernie Sanders (D) led in Colorado, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and Vermont.

Super Tuesday marks a critical point in the 2016 presidential race. More delegates, who select their party’s presidential nominee at their respective convention, are allocated to candidates on Super Tuesday than on any other nomination contest date. According to CBS, “the delegates awarded on Super Tuesday represent nearly a quarter of total Democratic delegates and just under a third of Republican delegates.”

1,237 delegates out of 2,472 are required to win the nomination at the Republican National Convention, and 2,383 delegates out of 4,765 are required to win the nomination at the Democratic National Convention.

661 Republican delegates and 865 Democratic delegates were allocated on Super Tuesday.

Following the close of polls, Trump has 319 delegates needed to win the Republican nomination. Cruz trails Trump with 226. Rubio claims 110. Clinton has 1,052 delegates, compared to Sanders’ 427.

Super Tuesday “originated in 1988 for two main reasons: the consolidation of voters and organization of campaigns,” according to Politico. “The arrangement also helps make the party primaries less parochial by forcing candidates to campaign nationwide.”

The national focus of Super Tuesday has the potential to make or break a presidential campaign. The candidate can better ascertain their political position because of the enormity of the delegates allocated on Super Tuesday. As Politico explains, “Super Tuesday will… give the race clarity in a way no other single day can” because of the massive distribution of delegates on Super Tuesday.

Ted Cruz’s win in his home state of Texas was vital to his conservative based campaign, as losing Texas would undermine his credibility. 155 Republican delegates were up for grabs while 252 Democratic delegates are Texan.

Super Tuesday was also important to Hillary Clinton because it had the potential to push her far ahead of Sanders, hindering his ability to acquire enough delegates to secure a presidential nomination. Indeed, Clinton currently holds a fairly substantial lead over Sanders.

Super Tuesday has impacted presidential races before. “In 2012, Mitt Romney took a commanding lead in delegates and tried to declare the race over,” says Politico. “In 2008, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton each declared victory after a close and chaotic finish.”

Republican voter turnout skyrocketed since the Super Tuesday 2012, with 8.5 million in 2016 compared to the mere 4.7 million in 2012, according to NPR. Only 5.9 million Democrats voted on Super Tuesday 2016, down from the roughly 8.5 million voters in 2008. This is likely due to greater Republican dissatisfaction with the current federal government than Democratic dissatisfaction.

Voter turnout is concerning in every election. A study conducted by the Pew Research Center revealed that the voter turnout in 2012 was 53.6%, which was 84.3% of registered voters.

NPR speculates that Trump will bolster voter turnout in the 2016 election, saying that “while enthusiasm for Trump may be driving many Republicans to the polls now, it may in a general election also drive turnout for voters who hope to defeat the highly polarizing candidate.”

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