Life beyond Tuesday won’t mean the end of political ads, campaign speeches and posturing among the remaining five Democratic presidential candidates.
But make no mistake about it, the tone of the primary season and the upcoming general election is about to change drastically.
As it usually does in a given election year, the impending arrival of “Super Tuesday” will define the direction of the race for the White House, given more states around the country will hold their primaries on Tuesday than on any other date before this summer’s conventions.
Whoever emerges as the big winner on Super Tuesday will likely be the candidate accepting the nomination in Milwaukee in July for the right to go up against President Donald Trump in the general election.
Here are five key things to take note of, as we head into the make-or-break date that the candidates have geared up for, for months.
The impact of Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar decisions.
On Sunday, just two days before Super Tuesday, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg decided to pull the plug on his campaign.
On Monday, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar announced she was dropping out also.
Buttigieg and Klobuchar didn’t fare well in South Carolina, but they still had a good following of supporters. Now, it’s a matter of where the votes of their supporters will go, how much it will skew the race and how much of a threat it will be to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ status as the frontrunner.
Super Tuesday will be bigger in 2020.
In 2016, there were 12 states that held their primaries on Super Tuesday. This year, it will be 14.
There are 1,357 delegates at stake, which represent more than a third of the 3,979 total pledged delegates in the entire primary season. Of that total, 1,991 are needed to win the nomination.
However, this won’t be the biggest Super Tuesday ever. In 2008, 24 states held their primaries.
California will be a mammoth addition to Super Tuesday.
The state with the largest number of delegates will be a part of the Super Tuesday festivities, as California will be one of the 14 states holding its primary.
California didn’t have its primary during Super Tuesday in 2016 and 2012. There are 415 delegates at stake in the Golden State, skewing the number of delegates fought for on one night even more.
Sanders reportedly has a big lead in two biggest states.
Sanders is widely pegged as the favorite going in, starting with the fact he is polling very well in the two largest states available in the Super Tuesday delegate lineup, California and Texas.
Sanders has 29% support in Texas and 35% support in California, according to a CNN poll released Friday.
What’s the projected aftermath for the other candidates?
For those who don’t perform well, Super Tuesday will likely mean one of three things:
1) The end of their campaigns, with official drop-out announcements becoming a matter of when, not if.
2) Efforts to unite the party behind one candidate by pledging an endorsement to that particular candidate.
3) Auditioning for a spot on the nominating candidate’s cabinet or staff, should Trump be defeated in November.
Literally minutes after the polls closed in the South Carolina primary on Saturday, billionaire Tom Steyer dropped out of the race.
A day later, Buttigieg announced he was done, then Klobuchar a day after that.
We’ll see how swift similar announcements are, following Tuesday’s results.