All You Need to Know Before Super Tuesday

On Tuesday, March 3, California and 13 other states will vote for their candidate of choice in the 2020 Democratic Presidential Primaries. Creative Commons photo: Penn State on Flickr.

Penn State on Flickr

On Tuesday, March 3, California and 13 other states will vote for their candidate of choice in the 2020 Democratic Presidential Primaries. Creative Commons photo: Penn State on Flickr.

Alex Levitt, Staff Writer

With all that is going on in the news, you may be feeling confused on what the 2020 election is shaping up to be. There is news coverage on the candidates 24 hours a day, and yet, it can still be hard to grasp the core concepts of the race. But, a lot of your questions are going to be answered on Tuesday, March 3, as California and 13 other states will vote for their candidate of choice in the 2020 Democratic Presidential Primaries. About one third of Democrats in the U.S. will be voting that day, and due to the significance of this event, it has been nicknamed “Super Tuesday.” Historically, Super Tuesday has been a make-or-break day for presidential candidates, and this year it will almost certainly narrow down the historically large field of candidates. With that being said, here’s a basic guide to what’s at stake for each candidate on Super Tuesday.


Senator Bernie Sanders

Senator Sanders comes into Super Tuesday as the presumed front-runner, after victories in both New Hampshire and Nevada and nationwide polls that show him as the leader. The important thing for Senator Sanders is to show that he has broad nationwide support from a diverse group of people, not just from the places that he personally campaigned.

Sanders, a self-described Democratic Socialist, has been dealing with questions regarding his electability the entire campaign. His calls for “Medicare for All,” the abolition of private insurance companies, and free public college for everyone has inspired hope among his supporters, but also doubt that he could beat President Trump in the general election. A FiveThirtyEight/Ipsos poll found that 39.6% of Democrats feel that finding a candidate who can beat Mr. Trump is the most important issue during the primaries. The next most important issue for Americans was healthcare, which 11% of people found to be the most important issue.

After the first three states have already voted, Sanders leads the field with 45% of the national pledged delegates. Many experts believe that after Super Tuesday, Sanders could gain an insurmountable lead. The one thing that could prove to be a significant setback for Senator Sanders’ campaign is a victorious day for one of the moderate candidates, as then they could consolidate support of moderate voters who don’t believe Sanders could defeat Trump.

Bottom Line: Mr. Sanders could gain an insurmountable lead if he has a commanding victory on Super Tuesday, especially if many moderate candidates split the remaining delegates.


Mike Bloomberg

Former New York City Mayor and billionaire Mike Bloomberg surprised everyone when he entered the race in November, nearly a year after most of the other candidates. Bloomberg is taking an unconventional approach to the race, as he decided to skip the first four contests and three debates and instead focus on Super Tuesday states.

Since he has entered the presidential race, Bloomberg has spent over $450 million of his fortune on television ads and has refused donations to his campaign. Through this style of campaigning, Bloomberg has portrayed himself as a champion of climate action and gun control to the entire nation. Recent nationwide polls have him averaging about 15% nationwide, up from 2% when he entered the race.

Bloomberg, who used to be a Republican, has drawn pointed criticism from his opponents over his somewhat conservative beliefs and his history of remarks that some interpret to be racist and sexist. At the Feb. 19 debate, Senator Elizabeth Warren described him as “a billionaire who calls women fat broads and horse-faced lesbians,” and she later criticized him for not releasing his tax returns. Still, Bloomberg argues that he is the candidate most suited to beat Trump, as he could win the votes of independents and moderate Republicans. 

Bottom Line: If Bloomberg can finish in the top two with Sanders on Super Tuesday, he can make the argument that he is the candidate best suited for moderates who prioritize beating Mr. Trump.


Joe Biden

Former Vice President Joe Biden was long presumed to be the nominee, as he was the leader in nationwide polls from the start of the race until the beginning of February. But, lackluster debate performances and dismal showings in Iowa and New Hampshire has caused his polling averages to drop significantly below those of Senator Sanders.

Biden has put a lot of effort into campaigning in South Carolina, which votes on Saturday, so that he can possibly regain momentum heading into Super Tuesday. South Carolina’s Democratic party is over 60% black, and Biden is consistently the first-choice candidate for black voters. His campaign hopes that South Carolina can prove that he is strong across a diverse group of people and that he is the candidate best suited to represent the totality of America, which would then propel him to do well on Super Tuesday.

Bottom Line: Anything other than a victory in South Carolina would undermine his whole campaign philosophy, but a victory in South Carolina and a top-two finish on Super Tuesday would allow him to regain his position as the lead moderate alternative to Senator Sanders.


The Other Candidates

In addition to the candidates mentioned above, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Former Mayor of South Bend, Ind. Pete Buttigieg, and Senator Amy Klobuchar are competitively running for the nomination. Buttigieg and Klobuchar, nicknamed the “Midwestern Moderates,” are running on a promise of beating President Trump and healing the nation from Trump’s divisive presidency. Warren, on the other hand, believes in more progressive policies such as a government-run insurance plan for everyone, free public college and the elimination of most student loan debt.

Buttigieg, once seen as a long-shot bid for the nomination, focused the majority of his campaign on Iowa and New Hampshire and less on the Super Tuesday states. To the surprise of most Democrats, Buttigieg exceeded polling expectations by defeating Sanders in Iowa, and lost by only a small margin to Sanders in New Hampshire. Still, Buttigieg does not enjoy as much support nationwide, as he is averaging 10% in polls, putting him in fifth place.

Warren, who was considered a top-tier candidate back in October, has slipped in polls since then. It appears that Sanders has consolidated the support of the progressive wing, leaving Warren with only a 13% polling average, down from 26% in October.

Klobuchar was considered by many to be an afterthought in the race until a stellar debate performance on February 19 propelled her to a shocking third-place finish in New Hampshire. But, it appears that her so-called “Klomentum” is coming to an end after only gaining 4% of the county delegates in Nevada, and averaging 6% in nationwide polls.

Bottom Line: For any of these three candidates to win the nomination, they would likely need a string of strong debate performances, high fundraising and similar candidates to themselves to drop out of the race.