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Another Super Tuesday

March 16th, 2016
Caricatures of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Image courtesy of Donkey Hotey via Flickr CC

It was a big night for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in the primaries last night. Image courtesy of Donkey Hotey via Flickr CC

Five more states voted in primaries yesterday:  Missouri, Illinois, Ohio, North Carolina and Florida .

These five states combined make up nearly 20% of the entire US population, so last night’s results are a big deal.

Map source: BBC News

Map source: BBC News

These contests are still about narrowing down the candidates.

The Democrats are choosing between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.

Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. Caricatures by Donkey Hotey via Flickr CC

Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. Caricatures by Donkey Hotey via Flickr CC

The Republicans still have Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and John Kasich in the race. Marco Rubio dropped out last night after he didn’t do well in Florida, the state he’s a senator in.

So the Republicans are down to three candidates. There used to be 17!

Caricatures of John Kasich, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. Courtesy of Donkey Hotey via Flickr CC

Caricatures of John Kasich, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. Courtesy of Donkey Hotey via Flickr CC

It’s important to win states, but it’s really about winning delegates .

Delegates are people who more officially get to vote for a candidate at a big party gathering in July.

The Republicans have their gathering, called a convention , where the winning Republican candidate (the nominee) will be announced.

And the Democrats have their own convention  where their nominee will be announced.

In the Fall, the Republican nominee will go up against the Democratic nominee in the general election, and one of them will become the next President of the United States.

But first we have to get through voting in all 50 states (and territories ) to figure out the nominees. Every state has a certain number of delegates, different for each state, mostly based on population. A state with a lot of people will have more delegates so candidates work extra hard to try to win those.

Usually, if you win 1/2 the vote you get 1/2 the delegates, a 1/4 of the votes means 1/4 of the delegates and so on. But last night two important states, Florida and Ohio , had a more rare “winner take all” format. So candidates were really vying for wins there.

How did it go?

On the Republican side, Donald Trump won 4 out of 5 states last night.

That was a big victory for him, especially because he beat Marco Rubio in his own state … and Trump got all 99 delegates. Double whammy.

The governor of Ohio, John Kasich, who is running for president at the same time he’s governor, won in his home state of Ohio — also a winner take all state (66 delegates). It’s the first and only win for Mr. Kasich so far and he needed that to keep his campaign alive … and to try to stop Mr. Trump from becoming the nominee.

To win the Republican nomination, you need to win 1,237 delegates. Donald Trump is currently leading with 646. Ted Cruz has 397. John Kasich 142.

There is discussion that Mr. Trump may not get the delegates he needs to become the nominee and that it may be decided at the convention … something that would be, well, unconventional.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton also won 4 out of the 5 states. Some of the states were very close, and as of this writing Missouri was still too close to call either of them the winner (yet) . Bernie Sanders is definitely hoping for that one.

For a Democratic candidate to become the nominee, he or she needs 2,383 delegates. Mrs. Clinton has 1,599. Mr. Sanders has 844.

The Democrats have a unique feature called superdelegates.  Mrs. Clinton has many more of those than Mr. Sanders. This gives her a steady lead even though the races between her and Mr. Sanders have mostly been very close.

Superdelegates are like VIP delegates, elected government officials, even former and current presidents. There are 712 superdelegates , about 30% of all the delegates needed to win the nomination. It’s a sort of reality check in case the Democratic party isn’t loving who the citizens are voting for. (Some people are saying the Republicans are probably wishing they had superdelegates right about now. The Republican party leadership isn’t happy that Donald Trump is doing so well, but with no superdelegates to balance it out, he just might become the nominee because that’s who regular people are voting for).

Over half the states have voted now … so we’re getting there.

Next up: Arizona, Idaho and Utah on March 22.

To see the delegate count graphically you can click here for the New York Times’ coverage and here for Bloomberg Politics .

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