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What to Watch on a Not-So-Super Tuesday


Super Tuesday is upon us. Across 16 states, from Maine to California, Alabama to Alaska, voters will be casting their ballots today in the most delegate-rich day on the primary calendar. But don’t expect anything super from Tuesday; rather, expect more of the same.

At this point, neither presidential primary seems much of a contest. President Joe Biden is sailing through the primary, thanks in part to his party’s constant maneuvering to protect the beleaguered president. The only hiccup so far: 13 percent of voters in Michigan withheld their support for Biden over his policy on the war in Gaza. Former President Donald Trump,  meanwhile, is handily beating former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley in the delegate count with 244 delegates to Haley’s 43. Haley did win the GOP’s Washington, D.C. primary over the weekend, but winning a contest in which just over 3,000 votes were cast in one of the bluest places in the nation does little to build momentum. The D.C. primary results are not causing any campaign donors to suddenly reconsider their decision to pull out of Haley’s campaign.

Trump is going for a Super Tuesday clean sweep to put the nail in Haley’s coffin. In total, 865 Republican delegates are up for grabs in 15 states, which represents more than a third of the 2,429-delegate pie GOP presidential candidates are battling over. Even if Trump were to receive every single delegate on Tuesday, he’d be just over 100 short of the 1,215 delegate victory threshold. A commanding performance could, however, run his last challenger out of the race. Even if Haley refuses to drop out, Trump could have the nomination wrapped up by next week; on March 12, another 161 delegates come up for grabs across Georgia, Hawaii, Mississippi, and Washington.

Two of the Super Tuesday states, California and Texas, have largest delegate hauls in the entire GOP primary process, with 169 and 161 delegates respectively. In California, Trump leads Haley in the polls by an average of 53.5 points. In Texas, the former president’s average lead is 70 points.

It’s the same story in several other Super Tuesday states. Trump is up more than 50 points in Alabama, Maine, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. In three of those contests—Alabama, Oklahoma, and Tennessee—Trump’s polling advantage is at least 70 points.

The race is a bit tighter in Massachusetts, Utah, and Vermont, where Trump leads Haley in the polls by 29 points, 27 points, and 30 points respectively. Polling in Virginia is all over the map, but with a comfortable Trump lead.

Other states like Alaska, Arkansas, and Colorado have limited or out-of-date polling but are expected to be Trump wins.

Democrats will be voting in the aforementioned states plus U.S. territory of American Samoa. The incumbent president is expected to cruise to victory in each contest, even though in Colorado a handful of progressive groups have started a late campaign for Coloradans to vote “non-committed” as a number of Michiganders did last week. Even in Minnesota, the home state of Biden challenger Rep. Dean Phillips, the president is up 60 points.

While the presidential contests are set to be a snooze, a few undercard contests scattered throughout the union merit some attention.

In California’s jungle primary, for example, voters will determine who will head to the general election to fill Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s old seat. It’s a talented Democratic field made of three House members. Rep. Adam Schiff, most well known for his involvement in Russiagate, has emerged as the frontrunner, edging out Reps. Katie Porter and Barbara Lee in fundraising and the polls—an endorsement from former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made sure of that.

Because of the jungle primary format, Schiff’s Standing Strong Super PAC has spent millions on advertisements boosting the conservative credentials of the Republican candidate Steve Garvey, a former pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres, with the hopes that Garvey fills the second spot in the general election come November. Schiff’s gamble could very well pay off. Garvey is polling in second, just a few points ahead of Porter. Low turnout from California Democrats in the primary could also spell disaster for Porter and Lee’s senate ambitions.

Come Wednesday morning, North Carolina could be on a crash course with a heated gubernatorial race. Republican Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson and Democratic Attorney General Josh Stein are large favorites in their respective primaries. But as Trump and the GOP look to elevate North Carolina GOP Chair Michael Whatley to RNC Chair, turnout in the purple state of North Carolina could be a sign of things to come.

Continue Reading at The American Conservative.

The American Conservative

The American Conservative is a bimonthly print and daily digital magazine of measured, principled conservatism. We believe in ideas over ideology and principles over party.

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