In the Primary schedule, there's a big block of states that all Primary/Caucus the same Tuesday, most of them for both parties. It creates a pretty big hurdle day where if one candidate dominates most of the states, it pretty much ends the race and drives all the has-beens from the field even if a lot of other states - hi, California! - haven't chimed in yet.
It is called Super Tuesday. It is the next Primary on the calendar, this March 1.
These are the things you'll need to know:
For the Democratic race, Super Tuesday is the likely point where Bernie Sanders drops out.
Last night's South Carolina Primary for the Dems turned into a metaphorical bloodbath where Hillary Clinton garnered about 74 percent of the turnout to Sanders' 26 percent. While Hillary was poised to win, the scale of it was mind-blowing. Hillary cleaned up two key blocs - women and Blacks - in such a way that went against Sanders' aggressive pandering in those communities.
Hillary's (soft) delegate count is around 530 or so with Bernie around 83, where the needed delegate count to win the nomination is over 2300. Even in the hard delegate count, Hillary's leading. After this Tuesday, if Hillary wins the states she's expected to carry - Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas (!), and Virginia - and garners wins in places that are toss-ups - Colorado, maybe Minnesota, Oklahoma - that is 9 states out of 11. Only Vermont is a lock for Sanders, and while Massachusetts was seen as a Sanders lock that's been turned into a toss-up as well (don't forget, Hillary won Massachusetts in 2008 despite Obama's support in MA).
Bernie has to win over Massachusetts, Colorado and Minnesota to have any conceivable chance to continue into May or June. He might not even get a chance to challenge the March 15 Primaries where five major states - Florida, Ohio, Illinois, North Carolina, Missouri - plug in nearly a quarter of available delegates into the math. And Ohio is the closest one he's got: Hillary is just stomping him across most of the Primary states.
And now to the Republican side of the aisle...
The weekend has mostly been the noise buzzing about Trump starting to receive endorsements within the ranks of the Republican Party itself. The party elite had been desperately anointing others like Jeb and Rubio with those pats on the back, but Trump still cruised along to big Primary wins without them.
Now, with the likes of Chris Christie openly advocating for Trump, we're seeing a shift in the back-room struggle by the Establishment to try and maintain a semblance of sanity in the nominating process. With Christie - and various Congresspersons, and just recently Maine governor LePage - providing political cover, we're going to see more and more influential insiders telling each other the delusion of "ya know, we can deal with Trump, he's not that bad..."
Because this same weekend saw Trump getting endorsed by Klu Klux Klansman David Duke... and when asked about it Trump refused to denounce the KKK support.
Considering how the Republicans keep marching out there saying "oh we're not really racist" and then have a well-known racist organization like the KKK back your banner-carrier... well, at this point I doubt there are any desks left in one piece at the RNC headquarters after all the headdesking that's been happening since June 2015.
This coming Super Tuesday vote will be yet another test, but this time a test of Republican Establishment fortitude. All things being equal this election cycle, anything Trump has done that's been controversial and horrifying has done NOTHING to stop him at the primary ballot box.
The Republican voting will take place in Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Vermont.
Of these states, Ted Cruz has a lead in Texas, Arkansas, and that's it. Marco Rubio leads in Minnesota. Carson leads in Colorado (!). Trump is leading everywhere else, especially in states that should know better (I'm glaring at you Georgia, dammit how's a boy gonna defend his birth-state when you being this stupid? It's not crazy, it's STUPID. VOTE KASICH YOU IDIOTS...).
There may yet be a quick change in the votes among undecided or remaining party moderates offended by Trump's open bid for Klan votes, but that's unlikely (outrage does not kill Trump). What we should look at are the results and see if Trump gains any on the 35 percent or so average he has within Republican ranks. With Jeb out of the race and the Establishment trying to rally to Rubio, we ought to be seeing a three-man race between Trump, Cruz and Rubio balancing between the 30-to-35 percent ranges. But if Rubio is still wobbling around 18-to-20, and Cruz is wobbling around 20-to-25, and yet Trump is still around 35 percent... that's good news because that will be proof that Trump has a support ceiling, that he's capped out. Granted, it won't be good news that Rubio can't garner more support to beat Trump, and that Cruz is still able to justify staying in the race. But this means that Trump's Unfavorable numbers are legit, and that in a general election Trump is gonna get his ass kicked.
However, if Trump's numbers go up... if Trump clears the 40-to-45 percent hurdle, if he even wins a state outright getting 50 percent or more... that means he can shrug off his Unfavorables. Stopping Trump in the Republican Primary is a tall order, and growing unlikely in the face of the RNC's ineptitude. If Trump can win over support well enough into the moderate bloc of voters... Ohhhhhhh SHHHHHHHIIIIIIII------
(psst, for the love of God don't vote Trump (as well as don't vote Republican in the Senate and Congressional races, and state races, and...)
I'll be busy at a library conference this March 1st. I will try to check in, but no guarantees. P.S. SUPPORT YOUR PUBLIC LIBRARIES.