Credits: What to watch for on Super Tuesday | PBS NewsHour 1,024

On March 5, a significant moment in the run-up to the 2024 US presidential election occurred — Super Tuesday. Americans across the country descended to the polls to participate in the primary elections. This part of the democratic process is when citizens elect who they want to represent their party in the presidential election. They don’t select the candidates directly, though, as is characteristic of American politics. Rather, the politician they choose will be allocated a certain amount of delegates, depending on how many people vote for them. These delegates will then convey the voters’ preference for them at a presidential nominating convention. 

The significance of this specific primary election day, compared to all the others, is that it is when the greatest number of states — fifteen to be exact — hold their primaries. Nearly one-third of the delegates of the presidential nominating conventions are chosen on this day, which means that its results give us a solid prediction of who will be facing off this November. 

This year, we will have a rematch of the eventful 2020 election, with Donald Trump being the candidate from the GOP and Joe Biden being the Democrats’ nominee. The former got the nomination in every state but Vermont — the only one where Nikki Haley got the majority — and the latter won in all of them.

In the face of her significant defeat, Haley, the former Governor of South Carolina, dropped out of the presidential race. Her exit was not unexpected, as Trump had been the reported favorite for the nomination for quite some time now. In fact, it even seems as if she herself expected the loss. Contrary to the typical behavior of a presidential candidate as they approach a significant election day, in the run-up to Super Tuesday, Haley made no grandiose statements about the future of her campaign, no final tug at her supporters, not even a lackluster insult tossed at Trump. With her exit, Trump effectively secured the race. On March 12, he officially won the 1,215 delegates needed to earn the Republican nomination. 

Despite this victory, Haley’s opposition – however temporary – revealed cracks within Trump’s campaign. She gained a significant amount of votes in New Hampshire, 43 percent, and in South Carolina, 40 percent. Even in states where Haley lost, it didn’t necessarily mean that Trump won big — like in Iowa, where she got merely 19 percent of the votes, but he also only won with an extremely close majority, 51 percent. Evidently, Trump’s margin of victory is far narrower than what one would expect, indicating dissent within his party. Indeed, 57 percent of Republicans who were backing Haley maintained that they would vote for Biden instead of Trump during the general elections. Thus, even though it is true that this portion of the electorate is not large enough to make a difference in the results of the primaries, they are notable enough to potentially make a difference in November, something that Trump should watch out for. 

Similarly, though Biden prevailed in the votes — winning around 80 percent of them — it was a win embittered with significant protests from his constituents. Many Democrats, angered by his administration’s support for Israel and unwillingness to call for a definitive ceasefire, voted “uncommitted” in the primaries so as to show their dissatisfaction. More than 100,000 citizens did so in Michigan, and around 45,000 in Minnesota. These are not small numbers and reflect a broader discontent brewing within the Democrats that could signal further trouble for Biden down the line. 

As the dust settles from Super Tuesday, the nation now enters a crucial phase in the 2024 general election. This period will witness intense campaigning, policy debates, and efforts to rally support from voters across the political spectrum. The USA will soon enter a critical juncture where the next four years of the country hangs in the balance, awaiting the collective voice of the electorate to shape its course.

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