by Veselin Simonov
It’s primary election season and Georgia voters will soon get to pick their preferred presidential nominees! For both parties, Georgia votes on Tuesday, March 1 along with Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Virginia. The Republican-only contests on March 1 are the Alaska, North Dakota, and Wyoming caucuses. The Democrats hold the American Samoa caucus on March 1 as well. This group of primaries is called Super Tuesday, and it’s the day on which candidates have a chance to win more delegates than on any other single day of the primary calendar.
As the name implies, Super Tuesday happens on a Tuesday in either February or March of a presidential election year. It started out in 1988 as a way for some states to pool their electoral power in the primaries in order to secure a more prominent national role. It’s also an effort to offset the retail politics targeted towards early states that resulted in frontloaded primary contests. Super Tuesday is one of the first significant electoral tests of a campaign’s national appeal and its ability to conduct broad-reaching, wholesale politics.
Super Tuesday does not come without issues, however. First, it’s expensive to campaign all over the country on a packed schedule. This can force candidates with smaller war chests to drop out. Second, the time crunch results in less expansive, shallower campaign efforts in the immediate lead-up to Super Tuesday. Finally, the mass primary also has the potential to overshadow primaries that come after it by, in effect, picking the nominees early.
This year, Super Tuesday consists mostly of southern state primaries (leading some to dub it the “SEC primary”) in a bid to increase the region’s political influence. So, if you’re looking to have your voice heard, go out and vote for your preferred nominee. As a reminder, Georgia has open primaries. You pick which primary you want to vote in at your polling place by taking an oath to affiliate with the party you are voting for. If you don’t know where your polling place is, you can always check at the GA Secretary of State’s My Voter Page.
- Josh Clark. “Why is Super Tuesday so super?” http://people.howstuffworks.com/super-tuesday.htm
- Paul-Henry Gurian and Audrey A. Haynes. “Presidential Nominations and Campaigns: Toward 2004” http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayFulltext?type=6&fid=6635288&jid=PSC&volumeId=36&issueId=02&aid=147359&bodyId=&membershipNumber=&societyETOCSession=&fulltextType=RA&fileId=S1049096503002038
- Bloomberg Politics. “What to Know About Super Tuesday, the Biggest Test of 2016 Yet” http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2016-02-23/what-to-know-about-super-tuesday-the-biggest-test-of-2016-yet
- PBS. “The first super Tuesday.” March 9, 1988. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/politics-jan-june88-super_tuesday/