Mint Explainer: What’s at stake during America’s Super Tuesday primary polls

Super Tuesday: Biden vs Trump hits a critical turn
Super Tuesday: Biden vs Trump hits a critical turn

Summary

In the past, Super Tuesday has proven to be a decisive date that has made and broken candidacies for the US presidential election. This year, it is likely to make a rematch between US President Joe Biden and former president Donald Trump a near certainty

America’s two most powerful political parties will move closer to selecting their Presidential nominees for the upcoming 2024 election on Tuesday. In an event known as ‘Super Tuesday’, more than a dozen American states will vote in the primary elections for both the Democratic and Republican parties. Incumbent President Joe Biden is expected to comfortably march to the Democratic nomination, while former president Donald Trump is expected to defeat Nikki Haley for the Republican nomination. Mint breaks down the event.

 

What is a primary election?

In the US political system, each major political party holds primary polls that allow registered party voters to select the party’s nominee for a particular election. This is the case for elections to major offices such as the Presidency and state-level governorships. 

During a presidential primary, candidates hoping to be their party’s presidential nominee must win the support of voters in a series of state-level contests. Each state is assigned a certain number of delegates, and they are allotted to candidates on the basis on how many votes they receive in the state-level contest.

The candidate who wins a certain fixed target of delegates wins their party’s nomination for the presidency and gets to fight in the general election.

What is the setting for the 2024 US election?

Observers pay most attention to the primaries of America’s two biggest political parties: the Democrats and the Republicans. To secure the Democratic nomination, a candidate must win a total of 1,968 delegates across the country, while 1,215 delegates are needed to win the Republican nomination. 

While primaries can be closely contested, this doesn’t seem to be the case for 2024. President Biden has breezed through the Democratic primaries, while former president Trump has bested Haley, an Indian-American who served as America’s UN ambassador and governor of South Carolina.

Why is Super Tuesday important?

On 5 March, also known as ‘Super Tuesday’, more than a dozen states and some US territories will hold primary polls. Around 1,420 delegates for the Democratic primary and 865 delegates for the Republican primary will be allotted. 

In the past, Super Tuesday has proven a decisive date that has made and broken candidacies. This year, it is likely to make a rematch between Biden and Trump a near certainty. However, both men will have to contest a few more polls after Super Tuesday to clinch their party’s nomination.

What does this mean for Nikki Haley?

Despite suffering heavy defeats in the primaries thus far, Haley has refused to drop out of the race against Trump. She scored a victory in one primary in the District of Columbia. She has become increasingly critical of Trump in recent weeks. However, polls indicate that Trump is headed for another easy victory on Super Tuesday, which could end Haley’s run.

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