March 2016

Voters Favor Clinton and Trump on Super Tuesday

Super Tuesday caucus in ColoradoSuper Tuesday caucus in Colorado

Super Tuesday caucus in Colorado
On Super Tuesday, Democratic and Republican voters in Colorado took part in caucuses to choose the candidates they hope will win their party’s nomination.

Who will be the next President of the United States? The process to select America’s new leader is well under way. On March 1, Super Tuesday, voters in 13 states took part in primary elections. It’s called Super Tuesday because it’s the day in a presidential election year when many states hold their primaries or caucuses. Primaries are initial state elections that let voters show which candidates they prefer in each political party. Caucuses are local gatherings of voters who openly decide which candidates they support. Super Tuesday is early in the primary season, so people who try to predict how people in other states will vote watch these primaries and caucuses closely.

Since U.S. Presidents can only serve for two terms, Barack Obama cannot run again. That means that both of the two main political parties, the Democrats and the Republicans, are holding primaries in order to decide who will be their party’s nominee.

The two remaining candidates in the Democratic primaries are Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Clinton was a U.S. senator who later became the secretary of state for President Obama. She was also a First Lady when her husband, Bill Clinton, was President. Bernie Sanders was a member of the House of Representatives for 16 years and is now serving his second term as a U.S. senator.

Earlier in the race, there were many candidates seeking the Republican nomination. By Super Tuesday, however, only five candidates remained: Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, John Kasich, and Ben Carson. Three of these candidates have served in government before. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are U.S. senators, and John Kasich, a former congressman, is the governor of Ohio. The other two candidates have not held public office before. Donald Trump is a business executive and Ben Carson is a retired neurosurgeon.

After each primary, the candidate with the most votes gets either all or most of the delegate votes. States have different rules about how to split the delegate counts. So far, Donald Trump, who won seven states on Super Tuesday, has the most delegates in the Republican race. He is followed by Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, John Kasich, and Ben Carson. After only winning eight delegates as of Super Tuesday, Ben Carson decided to drop out of the race. To earn the nomination, a Republican candidate needs to win 1,237 delegates.

In the Democratic primaries, Hillary Clinton also won seven primaries on Super Tuesday and leads the race for delegates. Since each party has its own rules for choosing a nominee, the Democratic candidate needs to win 2,383 delegates to earn the nomination.

The primaries will continue until June 14 when Washington, D.C., Democrats hold the final primary of the season. Both the Democrats and Republicans will hold their official nominating conventions in July where the delegates cast votes for their candidates. After that, the Democratic and Republican nominees will campaign against each other and candidates from some of the smaller parties. We won’t know who the next President will be until the people vote in the general election on November 8.

Image credit: ©AP Photo/David Zalubowski
Question 1
What is Super Tuesday?

Question 2
How many delegates does a Republican candidate need to become his or her party's nominee?

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