Super Tuesday 2024: What to look out for on the biggest presidential primaries day

Washington DC - Super Tuesday is considered one of the most important dates during the 2024 presidential race, but what exactly is it, and why is it so important?

Next week, candidates will battle it out for their respective party's nomination on Super Tuesday – one of the most important dates in the US presidential elections.
Next week, candidates will battle it out for their respective party's nomination on Super Tuesday – one of the most important dates in the US presidential elections.  © Collage: IMAGO / Xinhua, STEPHEN MATUREN, ROBERTO SCHMIDT, & Nicholas Kamm / AFP

To put it simply, Super Tuesday, which is typically held in February or March, is when a handful of states hold primary contests or caucuses in a single day.

Within each state is an allotted number of delegates, which are individuals selected to represent that state. They also decide where their delegate vote will go, which could possibly go to a candidate who didn't win the popular vote, much like the Electoral College in the general election.

This is a big one, as one-third of all delegates up for grabs will be on the table next Tuesday, leading many to consider it one of the most important moments of the presidential election.

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According to The New York Times, the term first came about in the 1970s but was used to describe the last big handful of primaries instead of the first, as we currently use it.

Our modern use of the term came about in the 1980s, and since then, Super Tuesday has become a pretty reliable indicator as to which candidate from each party would go on to the general election in November.

Things may feel a bit anticlimactic this time around, as the nominees for both major parties have pretty much already been chosen, but there are still plenty of nail-biting moments and staunch competitiveness to be had.

What is Super Tuesday, and why is it important?

Democratic President Joe Biden (l.) is running for re-election and will likely face either Republican Nikki Haley (c.) or former President Donald Trump in the general election.
Democratic President Joe Biden (l.) is running for re-election and will likely face either Republican Nikki Haley (c.) or former President Donald Trump in the general election.  © Collage: CHIP SOMODEVILLA, WIN MCNAMEE / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP, & SAUL LOEB / AFP

This year's Super Tuesday will take place on March 5 in 15 states: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and Virginia. One territory, American Samoa, will also cast its votes.

Democratic Americans living in other countries will also be allowed to cast ballots in person and remotely on March 5, as the Democrats Abroad state party will begin its Global Presidential Primary, which runs through March 12.

For the Democratic Party, incumbent President Joe Biden is running for re-election. He is the clear frontrunner against Marianne Williamson and Minnesota Congressman Dean Phillips, with the Democratic National Committee pretty much ignoring the two challengers.

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In previous Democratic primary contests, there have been campaigns to vote "uncommitted" or write in "ceasefire" in solidarity with Gazans under a Biden administration-backed Israeli siege. Many voters are likely to continue this pattern on Super Tuesday.

With the Republican Party, former President Donald Trump, who lost to Biden in 2020, is running for another term in the White House and has been the front-runner throughout the GOP primaries by a wide margin.

His last standing challenger in the race is former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, who has refused to drop out and support Trump as the nominee, despite calls from other Republicans to do so.

If both Trump and Biden manage to come out on top on Super Tuesday as expected, we could soon be looking at the two candidates who will go head-to-head in the general race for the White House.

Cover photo: Collage: IMAGO / Xinhua, STEPHEN MATUREN, ROBERTO SCHMIDT, & Nicholas Kamm / AFP

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