Depending on how you calculate the time difference, we’re now just a day out from “Super Tuesday”, in which American voters across 14 states will more than likely settle the question of who will contest the presidential election in November. Following on from the early rounds in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, Super Tuesday will see both parties conduct their primaries and caucuses in Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, with the Republicans adding Alaska, North Dakota and Wyoming to the list. As a Washington Post explainer puts it, this entails “a combination of a dozen races with a dozen set of rules with another dozen set of exceptions”.
Pundits now seem of one mind that this process will set the seal on a presdiential election contest in November between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Trump’s indestructibility might encourage skepticism about what pundits say, but the trends on both sides have been clear enough from the early primaries. The Republicans’ Iowa caucuses produced a close contest between the three front-runners, Trump, Ted Cruz and Mario Rubio, in which Cruz emerged narrowly ahead, but Trump has since won clear victories in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.
Polls indicate Ted Cruz will carry his own state of Texas tomorrow, and apparently also that Cruz should win Arkansas and Ben Carson should win Colorado, but the rest looks like a cakewalk for Trump. Hillary Clinton’s road has been bumpier than anticipated, but her loss to Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire is now balanced by victories and Iowa, Nevada and a particularly emphatic win in South Carolina yesterday. Reflecting the strength in New England that was demonstrated by his win in New Hampshire, Sanders looks set to carry Massachusetts and his home state of Vermont, but barely looks competitive anywhere else.