Super Tuesday is pivotal date in presidential primaries

Published 8:12 am Monday, March 2, 2020

Tennesseans head to the polls Tuesday as one of 14 states voting on what’s become known as “Super Tuesday.” It is the most important day of the Democratic Primary calendar because there are so many delegates up for grab.
In a state and county, which is predominantly Republican when it comes to politics, the Democratic candidates for president have made few if any visits to Northeast Tennessee. In Carter County, less than 2,500 persons participated in early voting which points to a light turnout in the county on Super Tuesday.
Nevertheless, it is a pivotal date in the U.S. Presidential Election campaign. Between February and June, elections – known as primaries or caucuses – are held in each state as the Democrats and Republicans choose their candidate to be the next president.
Presidential elections tend to bring out sharp-elbowed opinions like nothing else in American public life. And, that’s certainly true in 2020, as positions have hardened early for President Trump on one side and a growing arm of “Bernie or Bust” progressives on the other.
Many Carter Countians are breathlessly sharing pointed opinions about their preferred candidate. Some seem more eager than others to declare a favorite in the crowded Democratic field, but as a whole, Carter County is Trump country and nothing is going to change that.
But, come Tuesday, nationally all eyes will be on Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont and Virginia as voters in these states head to the polls to select their candidate for president in November.
Democrats still have a long way to go toward settling on a nominee to challenge Trump in November. On Super Tuesday, 1,356 of the 3,979 pledged delegates up for grabs will be awarded in the primaries.
Mike Bloomberg especially has put a great deal of emphasis on the state, indeed on Super Tuesday itself as he chose to skip the early contests. He’s made several high-profile stops in the Volunteer State, including a top Friday in the Tri-Cities. He has garnered a number of endorsements from well-known liberal and moderate Democrats. He’s banking on his record of pragmatism and fiscal responsibility as mayor of New York City to find a receptive audience among the state’s Democrats. Biden, the other candidate with high-name recognition, is playing up his eight years as vice president under President Obama in an effort to remind voters of what once was and could be again in 2020.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, coming off wins in the relatively small states of Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada, is parlaying his headline-grabbing victories into crafting a message of inevitability as he campaigns in the state. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, also from the party’s progressive wing, is hoping to find a receptive audience for her message of pragmatic progressivism among Tennessee voters.
The wild card on Super Tuesday for Tennessee is that it utilizes an open primary system, in which registered voters do not have to be members of a party to vote in that party’s primary. However, voters must affiliate with a party at the primary polling location or declare their allegiance to the party. A diehard Trump supporter can crossover and vote in the Democratic primary for the perceived weakest Trump opponent, just as in years past, true-blue Democrats could vote in the GOP primaries for the opponents they’d like to face in the general election.
Voting takes place at the regular polling stations from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday. Let the games begin!

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