Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Texas Is The Biggest Prize In The Super-Tuesday Primary

(Image is from

Early 2016 primary and caucus schedule
Feb. 1: Iowa
Feb. 9: New Hampshire
Feb. 20: Nevada Democrats, South Carolina Republicans, Washington Republicans
Feb. 23: Nevada Republicans
Feb. 27: South Carolina Democrats
March 1: Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Dakota Republicans, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Wyoming Republicans

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We are only about 30 days away from the start of the primary/caucus party delegate selection process -- and only about 60 days away from the Super-Tuesday primaries (where 12 states will choose Republican delegates and 10 states will choose Democratic delegates). The delegates chosen on March 1st will not be enough to put anyone (from either party) over the top -- but it could well give Hillary Clinton a huge lead in delegates (since all of the Super-Tuesday states currently show Clinton with a large lead).

I hesitate to even guess how Super-Tuesday will work out for the Republicans. Currently, it looks like the two strongest candidates are Ted Cruz and Donald Trump -- but the GOP race has been very volatile, and that volatility could continue even past Super-Tuesday.

The biggest prize on Super-Tuesday is probably Texas. On March 1st, Texas will choose 155 Republican delegates and 222 Democratic delegates. Another 30 delegates for Democrats will go to elected officials and Executive Committee members (which may or may not be uncommitted). That's a pretty good hunk of delegates for both parties, and they will be apportioned according to the vote percentages.

Here is a bit of background on Texas politics from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

Given its reputation as one of the nation’s reddest red states, non-Texans might be surprised that the Lone Star State was throughly dominated by Democrats from the end of the Civil War until well past the midpoint of the 20th century.
But Republicans began making gains in the late 1970s and have held power for the last two decades. The last Democratic governor was Ann Richards, who left office in 1995. The last time Texans voted for a Democrat for president was Jimmy Carter in 1976.
As the largest state in the March 1 Super Tuesday primaries, Texas could play a dominant role in the nomination fight in both parties. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who has longtime ties to Texas, has consistently held a solid lead among Democrats, aided by strong support among Hispanics, the state’s fastest-growing and most sought-after constituency.
On the Republican side, first-term U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz has maintained an unbroken hold among grassroots conservatives since he staged a come-from-behind Republican runoff victory over former Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst to win his Senate seat in 2012. 
That victory, fueled by the state’s take-no-prisoners Tea Party wing, immediately propelled Cruz into national prominence as an unpredictable Republican maverick. Poll after poll has showed Cruz leading as a presidential favorite in Texas, although Donald Trump has also surged. 
Although Texans are generally divided among Republicans, Democrats and independents, the majority seem to share a strong conservative streak reflected by a deep distrust of federal government and the general belief that state and local political leaders can do a better job confronting pressing problems than politicians in Washington. 
“Texans still have this kind of optimism and confidence in the way we’re doing things compared to the way everybody else is doing things,” said University of Texas professor Daron Shaw, who conducts the Texas Lyceum Poll. In the latest Lyceum Poll of Texas adults, conducted in September, only 18 percent identified themselves as liberals. Twenty-nine percent said they are moderates, and the most — 43 percent — said they are conservative.

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