Super Tuesday Democratic Edition: What Happened, What Now, and Where Next?

What Happened?

Super Tuesday represented the first chance for front runners Hillary Clinton to solidify her position ahead of rival Senator Bernie Sanders. Clinton swept the delegate-rich South, capturing six states as well as handily beating Sanders in Massachusetts. Clinton’s victory in Massachusetts was critical to her race against Sanders, as the Massachusetts Democratic electorate is overwhelmingly white, liberal, and next door to his home state of Vermont. Clinton’s victory here shows that she can appeal to the voters that had broken heavily for Sanders in his victory in New Hampshire and Vermont.

Sanders’ performed above expectations, besting Clinton in Colorado, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and his native Vermont. This is enough for him to claim a victory of sorts, but (with the exception of Vermont) his margins of victory were smaller, and the states that he did win are not considered delegate rich.

The biggest re-occurring issue with Sanders campaign is that he has been unable to make headway with non-white voters. This issue was on full display on Tuesday as Clinton romped away with huge margins of black voters. Even in Colorado, a state that Clinton lost, she won 71 percent of the black vote. Across the Southern states, Clinton secured at least 64 percent of the vote. Sanders also struggled with Hispanic voters, which will be a challenge for his campaign in states like Arizona, California, and Florida.


What Now?

Her frontrunner position clear, Clinton has largely turned her attention away from Sanders and is focussed far more on the Republican frontrunner Donald Trump. Sanders has vowed to stay in the race until the July nominating convention and announced a massive $42 million fundraising haul for February, indicating that he has the funds to continue the fight.


Where Next?

The next set of primaries and caucuses are on Saturday, March 5. In these contests, voters in Kansas, Louisiana, and Nebraska will turn out to cast their vote. There is a lack of polling data for these contests, but we can expect Clinton to perform strongly in Louisiana, and Sanders to do well in the Nebraska Caucuses. Kansas will be interesting as the electorate is overwhelmingly white, which favours Sanders, but considering Clinton’s strong showing in the South and her establishment backing, the race may be closer than anticipated.

These three contests are not delegate-rich, so it will be difficult to claim additional momentum from the results for either candidate. The next big dates are the Michigan and Mississippi primaries. Assuming Clinton performs as projected in these two contests, she should have built an insurmountable lead by March 15.


Disclaimer:  this is the view of the author and Flinders University does not take responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of the material and does not accept responsibility for, or endorse the contact or condition of, any linked website. 

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