What Is Super Tuesday?

By Victoria Simpson on March 15 2020 in Politics

Super Tuesday was held on March 3, 2020. Photo by visuals on Unsplash
  • Delegates from each political party choose their presidential candidate for the election.
  • Super Tuesday is a term invented by journalists and political pundits.
  • The US has two dominant political parties, the Democratic Party and the Republican Party.

It sounds like a great new lottery game, and it is in a way, but in truth, it really is not. It is much more. 

Super Tuesday takes place in a presidential election year in the US. It is a very important day that is usually held in February or March, and it marks the United States presidential primary election day. 

Because of what takes place on Super Tuesday, the results of this event usually become a very strong indicator of who will very likely be the nominee for each political party going into the US presidential election

Nominating Presidential Candidates

How does it all work? In the US, politics are dominated by two major political parties, the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. While other parties do exist, throughout history the president has always been elected from either the Democratic or Republican parties, and so these are the two that get the most attention and that matter most.

In order to decide who will run for president from both the Democratic and Republican parties, nominating conventions are held each election year. The two candidates who will ultimately represent the Democratic and Republican parties in the presidential election are actually chosen by delegates from their own party, (ie, each party chooses their own top candidate). These delegates come to nominating conventions from each state in the country. 

The Public's Role

The general public does not choose the presidential candidates, officially. The Republican party chooses within itself who they think would have the most success at being voted in as president, and delegates from the Democratic party do so, as well. 

Does the public have a say? The answer to that is, yes, in an indirect way they do. The public does express their preferences for a leader, by voting in what is called the primary elections or “primaries." The people or delegates within each political party will take the public’s preference into consideration when nominating their candidate to run for president. 

On Super Tuesday, the greatest number of US states hold primary elections or caucuses. A caucus is a meeting of delegates who express their preference for a certain presidential candidate. This large amount of meetings and primaries results in almost one-third of all delegates to the presidential nominating conventions being won, which is the greatest number of any day leading up to the election. 

The term “Super Tuesday” is something that began being used as far back as 1976 by journalists and political experts. It is an unofficial way of referring to this biggest day in the presidential primary elections. 

Mini Tuesday

In 2004, something called “Mini Tuesday” took place. A number of states moved their presidential contests up to the beginning of February, in order to increase the relative importance of their primary election results. Who participates in Super Tuesday? Each year the states participating in the day varies because each state chooses its own election day. 

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