First, some background on what exactly Super Tuesday is…
This is the date, typically in late February or early March, when many States all have their election primaries. Pardon the rudiments, but I think it might be valuable to layout the process in simple terms:
When a party (Republican or Democrat) picks a nominee to run for President, they do so by a vote, not unlike a national election. Each State has their own rules for exactly how it works, but the result is the same – each State pledges some number of votes for a candidate.
Some States divide up their votes. In Michigan, for example, the State grants votes to each candidate based on Congressional district. So although Mitt Romney won the popular vote, He only gets 16 of the 30 available votes. Rick Santorum gets the other 14.
In other States, like Arizona, whoever wins the popular vote takes all the votes.
And so it goes… Each State holds a primary and based on the States rules, awards some number of votes to one candidate or the other.
Then at the national Nominating Convention, all the delegates from each State get together and officially cast the votes that were awarded on Primary Day.
How About Super Tuesday 2012?
Super Tuesday is just a day that has a large number of States holding their primaries on the same day – a Tuesday. For 2012, there are 437 votes up for grabs on Super Tuesday, so clearly it is a big day for the candidates. Well, at least for Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.
The States holding primaries on Super Tuesday, and their respective delegate (vote) counts are as follows:
- Alaska Caucuses – 27 delegates
- Georgia Primary – 76 delegates
- Idaho Caucuses – 32 delegates
- Massachusetts Primary – 41 delegates
- North Dakota Caucuses – 28 delegates
- Ohio Primary – 66 delegates
- Oklahoma Primary – 43 delegates
- Tennessee Primary – 58 delegates
- Vermont Primary – 17 delegates
- Virginia Primary – 49 delegates
It’s noteworthy that Wyoming is having some activity on March 6 as well, but their nominating process is convoluted at best. Delegates won’t be pledged until mid-April. They have a non-binding straw poll, then precinct caucuses, then County caucuses, the a State convention, where the delegates are pledged. Whoever crafted (crafted?) Wyoming’s process was clearly impaired, but I digress.
A candidate needs 1,144 votes to win the party nomination. So, with almost half the votes up for grabs on March 6, 2012, it is a big day indeed.
What does it mean for conservatives?
Not Republicans, mind you, but conservatives. The choice is between Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul notwithstanding. And here we have little difference, at least in terms of practical governance.
Both men, if President, will do several things: Cut taxes, reduce regulation, repeal Obamacare.
Beyond that, neither will do much. These three legislative endeavors will prove most taxing, pardon the pun. The conservative movement wants these three things. That is really all we want right now. Sure, we want to see the Department of Education dismantled and the public sacking of Kathleen Sebelius along with a defunding of Health and Human Services. But in reality these things are as much a pipe dream as the liberal Utopian vision. No matter how much we’re taxed and how much is redistributed, you can’t legislate poor people rich, you can only legislate rich people poor.
So what does this mean for conservatives? Not much.
Though it is noteworthy that Ann Coulter had a brilliant piece yesterday in which she said:
“The problem is not Santorum’s conservative positions, it’s that he can’t defend them.”
She’s right. In that piece she gave example after example of how Santorum has proven inept at arguing for basic conservative positions. And I’m a Santorum supporter…sort of. I feel myself slipping into Romney-land.
The only real problem I have with Romney – and it’s a doozy – is RomneyCare. Though I actually like his federalist argument, that he did it in an attempt to solve a State problem and the he doesn’t believe the Federal government has the authority to do something similar. First, that argument will not likely be understood by many Americans (how many really understand federalism?) and second, it’s still a big government solution to a problem better handled by market forces.
What Does Super Tuesday Mean For Liberals?
Well, it’s fun to think that liberals want this candidate or that candidate because one may be easier to beat than the other. But I don’t buy it. I think either Santorum or Romney can – and will – beat Obama. Soundly.
We’ll be following Super Tuesday carefully and be posting commentary on the results. My prediction is that Romney runs away with it.