Why March 15 could be a bigger deal for the 2016 presidential race than Super Tuesday.
Two more weeks.
By Peter FennMarch 2, 2016, at 2:00 p.m.+ More
A few weeks ago, I began to map out the March Madness that is the race for the White House. There has been a lot of focus on yesterday’s March 1 Super Tuesday line up. On the Democratic side after all, 859 delegates were at stake, roughly 20 per cent of the total. Republicans had about 25 per cent at stake.
For both parties, things shook out more or less as expected: advantage Clinton and Trump. But, given the results, one can argue that the lead up to March 15 and that big day may be even more critical.
For the Democrats, 11 states are up in the next two weeks with nearly 1,000 at stake, more than yesterday’s total. Three of these are caucuses – Maine, Nebraska and Kansas – and the rest are primaries. Michigan next week has 130 delegates, Florida has 214, Illinois has 156, Ohio has 143, North Carolina has 107 and Missouri has 71. As we know with the Democrats, there are no winner-take-all primaries and delegates are awarded proportionately.
For the Republicans, one can argue that the winner-take-all primaries of Florida and Ohio are now looming as critical to any effort to stop Donald Trump. Sen. Marco Rubio has to win Florida and Gov. John Kasich has to win Ohio. If Trump wins those states, plus does well in the other 13 contests, he will be well on his way to securing a majority of the delegates.
Clinton is piling up large delegate leads in states with very diverse populations, especially in the South. She stands to not only win Louisiana and Mississippi handily in the next couple of weeks but also could score big victories in Illinois (with a 43 percent non-white Democratic primary electorate), North Carolina (38 percent non-white), Florida (34 percent non-white), and possibly Michigan (28 percent non-white) and Ohio (24 percent non-white).
Sen. Bernie Sanders can not win enough delegates by scoring victories in caucus states like Maine, Nebraska or Kansas. He must win the big states and Michigan is the first up on March 8. He has the money to stay in and compete but this is now about the math. He can’t continue to lose major delegate-rich states, especially by large margins.
So, the next two weeks and March 15 will be very important for Clinton’s march to 2,383 delegates and Trump’s effort to amass 1,237. Unless Sanders can show that he can win in a number of these big delegate-rich states, he will not be able to overtake Clinton, especially with her huge lead with the 712 super delegates. Also, Republicans’ efforts to stop Trump may rise or fall in the next two weeks.
There will be more to come, but we may be talking about the Super-sized Tuesday come March 15.