Not So Super Tuesdays
For the Party Establishments
April 1, 2016
A Super Tuesday is any Tuesday in U.S. politics where a large number of states hold primaries or caucuses. March 1 was one such Super Tuesday, and an amazing day for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, both taking our home state of Massachusetts, with Trump also winning Georgia, Alabama, Vermont, Tennessee, Virginia and Arkansas, and Clinton also winning Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
On the Republican side, Ted Cruz came in second place, winning his home state of Texas as well as the neighboring state of Oklahoma and Alaska. Meanwhile, Marco Rubio managed to hold on by winning Minnesota, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico before dropping out of the race. Sanders got a landslide victory in his home state of Vermont alongside other victories in Minnesota, Colorado and Oklahoma, allowing him to stay in the race.
While these results were good for a large group of people, the fact that Trump and Clinton gained such tremendous victories is unsettling for others. An example of this is the Republican establishment, who experience an increase in irritation with every delegate Trump gets. This also puts them in a tight spot where the only real “winner” on the Republican side besides Trump was Ted Cruz, who they don’t like either.
The Republican side lacks a system that might allow them to give certain candidates more momentum. It’s called the superdelegate, and the Democratic Party added in the 1980s as a way for higher members of the party, such as governors and senators to influence the electorate by giving unpledged support to one candidate. They can then at their respective party’s convention (the Democratic Convention in this case) vote for whomever they feel is best, even if they didn’t give support to them previously. Superdelegates aren’t specifically pledged to a candidate, and can change their mind at any point. This system has not been adopted by the Republican Party, though they seem to be regretting that decision now that Trump has taken a commanding lead.
The superdelegate system might have allowed Republican leaders to reduce Trump’s influence, and put more wind in the sails of someone like John Kasich (Republican candidate and Governor of Ohio) who seems to be the only one left that they like at all. But, this wouldn’t help much because Trump and Cruz have a stranglehold on the majority of Republican voters, giving the establishment little space to work with to stop either of them.
On the Democratic side, superdelegates seem to be a problem for Sander’s supporters. Without superdelegates Clinton is beating Sanders with 1,243 delegates to Sanders’s 980. This gives Clinton a substantial lead, but Sanders is still close enough to pull ahead, however once superdelegates are added, Clinton suddenly has 1,712 delegates to Sanders’s 1,011. That is a ginormous difference that puts Sanders nowhere near Clinton, who seems to have basically won, capturing more than half of the delegates needed to win in one fell swoop, but how could this possibly happen? Clinton has the odds stacked in her favor by the Democratic establishment. She has 469 superdelegates backing her, which is more than three fourths of the delegates that Sanders has. But, this is made even worse when you look at the number of superdelegates that Sanders has. He only has 31. This is probably why the Republicans are so against the idea of the superdelegate system. It allows the party to completely destroy one candidate, completely overriding the votes of the citizens. It’s a wonder how Sanders is still in the race.
With the Republicans starting to look to superdelegates as a way to stop candidates like Trump and Cruz, while pushing more favorable candidates into the spotlight, and some Democrats thinking of them as part of a corrupt system stifling the power of the people, one can only wonder how each party will go about solving the problems that have arisen during this unique primary season.