Super Tuesday: A wake-up call for Joe Biden but a giant stride for Donald Trump

865 GOP delegates are up for grabs while 1,420 are in play for Democrats

USA-ELECTION/ Donald Trump, Joe Biden

The date March 5 marks a significant day in the US presidential primary race as the Republican party holds nominating contests in 15 states while the Democrats will hold the primaries in 15 states and one territory. 

The 16 states that will vote on Super Tuesday are Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont and Virginia. However, Alaska will only vote on Republican candidates and Iowa will only vote on Democratic candidates. One territory, American Samoa, will cast ballots in the Democratic race as well.

A decades-old tradition, Super Tuesday is considered notable because it has most states voting simultaneously, including delegate-rich Texas and California, thereby bringing former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden closer to clinching their respective nominations. But, Super Tuesday is more significant for Trump than it is for Biden. There are 865 Republican delegates up for grabs out of the total 2,429 on Super Tuesday while 1,420 delegates are in play for Democrats.

However, the battle is muted this time. No surprises are expected from both sides, with the only question that remains is whether Nikki Haley will opt out of the race. 

For President Joe Biden, the race is mostly symbolic. With no considerable competition, Biden is poised to sweep the Democratic primaries for a second term. However, the President faces challenges in the form of the political left which has urged voters to withhold their support to protest against the US policy on Israel's Gaza invasion. The  number of "uncommitted" voters went up to 13% of voters in the Michigan primary, much to the shock of Democrats. 

"Coming off the momentum generated in Michigan, we need to continue lifting up our voices and sending a clear message to President Biden — we need a cease-fire now," Joseph Geevarghese, executive director of Our Revolution, said in a press release on Monday. "If we do not change course, he will be putting our Democracy at risk."

For Trump, Super Tuesday will bring him closer to the nomination.  Though Trump cannot yet claim the "presumptive nominee" title, a good show can put him on the track to surpass the total number of delegates needed to guarantee the GOP nomination when four additional states vote a week later, on March 11. 

Trump will need to win 1,215 of 2,429 delegates and currently has 244 delegates. 

Though Nikki Haley says she wants to stay in the race until the Republican National Convention in July, she just has 43 delegates and the gap will widen after Super Tuesday. 

Jaime Dominguez, an associate professor of political science at Northwestern University, told VOA that despite the long odds against her, Haley is still able to have a significant impact on the Republican race. “It looks like she's going to continue to stay in the race, and that's going to be interesting, because I see her as kind of a thorn in [Trump’s] side,” Dominguez told VOA. “Even though she's not going to be competitive anymore — she's not going to be able to sway the delegates — she is going to be important in terms of the messaging that the campaign puts out around particular issues.”

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