Super Tuesday 2008

Written by William Thomas
Megaphone Staff Writer

When I volunteered to write an article on Super Tuesday that was to be published on the following Thursday, I admit that I was slightly worried.

I could not imagine how I was going to accurately portray an event that had not yet happened to readers who would be reading the article after the fact.

So, I have decided to give a brief history of what Super Tuesday is all about, followed by a description of what the candidates were doing in preparation for this momentous day.

The name “Super Tuesday” has been used since 1984. The number of delegates won on this day tends to propel one candidate to the top of each party.

Although the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary receive a great deal of media attention because they come so early in the election process, these events are sometimes criticized for not being representative of the United States as a whole.

On Super Tuesday, 24 states held their presidential caucuses or primaries, giving a more balanced snapshot of the nation’s political preferences.

Many states have even moved their primaries or caucuses up to Super Tuesday, in an attempt to increase their importance in the election process.

Super Tuesday is a milestone in the election process, taking place in early February or March of a presidential election year, in which the greatest number of delegates are up for grabs.

This year, Super Tuesday took place on Feb. 5. Some of the more influential states holding primaries or caucuses on this day included California (439 Democratic delegates, 172 Republican delegates), New York (287 Democratic delegates, 102 Republican delegates), and Illinois (187 Democratic delegates, 73 Republican delegates).

On Super Tuesday, 52 percent of the Democratic delegates and 41 percent of the Republican delegates were at stake.

According to CNN’s Election Center 2008, before Super Tuesday Hilary Clinton was leading the Democratic candidates with 232 delegates and John McCain lead the Republican candidates with 97 delegates.

2,025 delegates are needed to win the Democratic nomination and 1,191 delegates are needed to win the Republican nomination.

Now that Super Tuesday has come and gone, it would be a good time to look back and see what specific candidates were doing to prepare for this politically-charged event.

Democratic candidates Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama used the media to full effect in order to reach as many voters as possible.

In the twenty-first century, technology has played an increasingly important role, enabling candidates to reach a wide number of people.

From putting out sound-bytes on the radio to full-fledged television ads, the candidates were pulling out all the stops.

In particular, Clinton and Obama participated in a “Talk Back” sponsored by MTV and MySpace.

The candidates’ goal was to reach out to the younger generation of voters who are sometimes indifferent when it comes to politics.

On the right side of the party aisle, Republicans John McCain and Mitt Romney had been enlisting their family and friends to help spread the messages of their respective policies.

The candidates also wheeled out their top rank supporters as well. Oprah Winfrey held a rally for Obama in Los Angeles on Friday, and basketball star Magic Johnson endorsed Clinton.

Also among the supporters were former presidential nominee John Kerry and former President Bill Clinton.

As far as predictions go, the American popular opinion has proven to be elusive. Is this Clinton’s chance to surpass Obama, or vice versa? Will McCain receive enough delegates to seal the Republican nomination?

I hope that my article has been informative on why Super Tuesday is, in fact, so super. At this point, I leave readers with one charge. Some critics consider college students to be apathetic when it comes to politics.

But the candidates, Clinton and Obama in particular, seem to know that there is a reason to invest time and money in reaching out to voters between the ages of 18 and 22.

The first step in taking action is to be informed. If you do not know what happened on Super Tuesday, get involved and find out!

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