Super Tuesday has come and gone and, as expected, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have solidified their positions as frontrunners for their respective parties. Primary season will continue for 3 more months, and it’s still far too early to draw firm conclusions about final results. The ongoing elections assign delegates to each candidate for the party conventions, which are held over the summer. This is where delegates will formally elect the nominees. The convention serves many purposes. It allows the party to officially nominate a candidate, but it is also a unifying and informative event for party members across the country. Celebrities and other figures often attend and speak, and the conventions signal the start of the critical general election.
Each state differs in how it assigns delegates. Some hold caucuses, while others hold primaries. Additionally, some assign delegates proportionally (i.e. if a candidate receives 60% of the popular vote they receive 60% of the state’s delegates), while others give all their delegates to the winner. The system is further complicate by registration regulations that differ in each states. When you register to vote, you can choose to affiliate with a party or to remain independent. This affects which primary voters can participate in. As a democrat abroad, my vote went not towards my state but towards a separate category- democrats abroad. Other Londoners were able to decide if their vote would count towards their home state or towards the Democrats abroad category (this alternative option is only available in certain states).
The Republican Party is facing significant decisions in the coming months. While many prominent figures (such as Chris Christie) support Trump’s bid for the nomination, others believe a Trump nomination would be disastrous for the party. Those who do not support Trump are effectively divided between Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. At this point, the public support for Donald Trump is both shocking and deeply concerning. With victory in northern states such as Massachusetts this week, it is clear that Trump’s support is not isolated to just one region of the country.
The Democratic race is also proving interesting. Hillary Clinton increased her lead on Bernie Sanders, with wins in 8 out of 12 states on Tuesday. With a comfortable lead, her campaign seems to be shifting focus, towards a probable general election contest against Donald Trump. This election will occur in November, with the winner taking office in January 2017.
In the coming week, 9 states will hold primaries or caucuses. While Clinton and Trump are expected to continue their successes, primaries are anything but predictable, and the race won’t be over until later this spring.