Primary elections were held on Feb. 5 in 24 states, the largest number of states, ever on one day, giving it the nickname, “Super Tuesday.”
“Super Tuesday” became the day when many delegates were chosen to go to their party’s convention to select their candidate. In these primary elections, the nominees are running against each other in hopes of being the candidate to run in the 2008 Presidential Election. Each state chooses its own date and method of selecting their delegates to the convention. Before this year most primaries were held in March or April; however this year many states moved them much earlier. Many state parties made this decision in 2007 to move the date to Feb. 5.
In the Democratic primaries, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois and Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York now have almost equal numbers of delegate. These two nominees have turned this into the most important and historical election for our generation. Obama is the first African American to come as far as he has in a presidential election, while Clinton is the first female to have a realistic chance of being elected to the presidency.
At a forum sponsored by the World Affairs Council in Philadelphia on Wed. Feb. 6, Terry Madonna, the director of Franklin and Marshall College Keystone Poll, said, “The Democrats have enormous structural advantages that will trump both race and gender.”
In the primaries of “Super Tuesday,” Obama took the lead over Clinton winning 13 states, while Clinton wasn’t too far behind with nine states. Even though Obama won the number of overall states, Clinton won the states with the higher number of delegates, from 584 votes to 565. From this past weekend, Feb. 9 and 10, Clinton still remains in the lead with 1,148 delegate votes, while Obama is still not too far behind with 1,121 delegate votes. Obama won five states this past weekend. To win in the Democratic race, one needs to receive 2,025 delegate votes.
“The Democratic race appears just that of a real ‘horse race’ between Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama, that could see the reverse occur,” said Dr. Jolyon Girard, a history professor. Girard went on to explain that the Democratic Party focuses are going to be on funding and political debates within their own party. This seems to put a delay on their “upcoming contest with the Republicans.”
“I am a conservative, but have been following Obama’s campaign. I really enjoy him as a candidate and his views on the United States; however if he does not win in the primaries, I will go back to my conservative roots and vote for McCain in the Presidential election,” said John Fennell, a junior English and communications major.
The Republican primaries are not as close as those of the Democrats. Sen. John McCain, who ran in the 2000 primaries and lost to President G. Bush, is currently in the lead and looks to stay in the lead.
On “Super Tuesday” McCain took nine states’ votes, while Mitt Romney, who has recently dropped out, took seven states. Mike Huckabee followed with five states and Ron Paul trailed with no states’ votes.
Currently McCain still remains in the lead with 723 delegate votes. Huckabee follows with 217 votes, and trailing behind is Paul with 16 delegate votes. In the primaries, the Republicans need a total of 1,191 delegate votes in order to win. McCain may hold a comfortable lead but still not enough to finish off his opponents.
Between all the voting that has been happening these past weeks, it seems the most popular party is that of the Democratic.
“The Democrats seem to be much more excited about the election,” said Madonna. The Democratic Party has many advantages in this election then any other. “9/11 changed politics in a lot of ways. Before it didn’t matter because the U.S. was in charge of the world,” said Madonna.
Seeing the primaries unfold shows how crucial and close this race will be all the way to the end. “This election is about hugely important issues that will define what our country does nationally and internationally for decades,” said Madonna.
More and more people, even youths and minorities are voting because of the topics at hand.
“I’ve never seen anything like this election, just the crowds of people that come out are amazing,” said Larry Eichel, a senior writer and political analyst at the Inquirer, also a panelist at the World Affairs Council forum
“The primaries are groundbreaking this year. Many of us, including me, who are voting in their first election, can say that they got to vote in the first election where a woman and an African American are running,” said Lauren Grassi, a junior social work major.
It is hard to predict the future of this election. There are still a few more states to vote; including Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania seems to be a very important state this time around in the primaries, which hasn’t happened in two decades. There are 188 delegates in Pennsylvania, which could turn the election up side down. Pennsylvania will have their primary elections on April 22, 2008.
“The interesting part of the election after ‘Super Tuesday’ is that it looks like Pennsylvania will matter,” Eichel said.