Feb 26, 2020
We’re less than one week away from Super Tuesday!
In today’s episode, Sara and Misasha talk about why the
primaries are so important and why your vote matters, especially
this election year! They will also cover what the deal is with
Super Tuesday, what happened in Iowa and why that matters, and take
a look at what the primaries really mean for our Presidential
Listen and learn during this informative Q&A session laced
with Sara and Misasha’s punchy commentary!
- Q: When does primary season begin and how long is it?
- A: Voting began February 3rd with the Iowa caucuses. The last
states vote in early June. Primary season lasts approximately 4
- Q: Who will I be voting for in the primaries?
- A: The primaries are the main event. Candidates for the
Democratic and Republican 2020 Presidential nominations, but voters
will find all manner of down-ballot elections to consider on
primary day. Down ballot means everything that is not the
Presidential nomination, including house and senate races, and
seats on the state legislature.
- Q: What’s the difference between primaries and caucuses?
- A: Primaries are relatively straight-forward. Voters vote and
their vote goes to candidates who hope they get more votes than the
other candidates. Caucuses, like Iowa, are similar. Generally,
supporters for various candidates sit or stand together in groups.
A headcount is conducted, and if a candidate doesn’t reach a
certain threshold of support, the group is deemed non-viable and
its members re-align with other clusters before a final count is
- Q: Can states actually cancel their primaries?
- A: Yes, they can and some states did this year. Alaska, Nevada,
Kansas, Virginia, Arizona, South Carolina, and Hawaii canceled the
Republican primaries only.
- Q: Is there a Republican Presidential primary and opponents
running against President Trump?
- A: Yes. In most states, President Trump’s opponents include Joe
Walsh, a former Illinois congressman and William F. Weld, a former
- Q: Can you vote in both the Democratic and Republican
- A: It’s just one vote, per person. In some states with “Closed
primaries”, you’ll need to be registered with a given party to
- Q: Can Trump be re-elected President even after getting
impeached by the House?
- A: That is his plan. President Trump is the first impeached
President ever to seek re-election.
- Q: Why do we keep hearing that Iowa is so important?
- A: Iowa goes first and has since the 1970s. There’s really no
great reason why Iowa goes first, although some of the Vietnam war
protests and racial tensions of the 1968 Democratic convention
helped set the stage.
- Q: What is Super Tuesday?
- A: Super Tuesday is March 3rd, and is the single most important
day on the primary calendar because of how many major states will
be holding their elections, including two very large states,
California and Texas. About 40% of all pledged Democratic delegates
will be awarded in these states. Misasha goes into greater detail
here about how the delegate fight gets more serious!
- Q: When did Super Tuesday become a thing?
- A: Voting on that day of the week is an old tradition in the
United States, but it wasn’t until the 1976 election that was
credited with leading to the first recorded usage of that
particular phrase. Sara shares the backstory of the when and the
- Q: How does someone win the Democratic nomination?
- A: A candidate
hoping to win on the first ballot at the convention must secure a
majority of pledged delegates, as dictated by the outcomes in state
primaries and caucuses. In total, there are just under 4,000
pledged delegates up for grabs, as well as hundreds of super
delegates, though the party prefers to call them “automatic”
delegates. The official nomination will take place at the party’s
convention in Milwaukee this summer.
- Q: What are delegates?
- A: There are two different types. Delegates, “the people”, are
like political figures: activists and local leaders chosen to
represent their states at the party’s convention. Delegates, “the
numbers”, are the all-purpose metric of primary success. They are
allocated proportionately according to the state voting results and
- Q: What are super delegates? Didn’t they get rid of those?
- A: Democratic super delegates are political insiders. They can
be sitting lawmakers to former senior party officials whose primary
choices can be divorced entirely from the preference of the average
voter. Super delegates can vote as they choose and their very
existence in 2016 became a source of major tension in the race
between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. While Mrs. Clinton
bested Mr. Sanders among pledged delegates in 2016, Mr. Sanders and
his supporters saw the super delegates system as an affront to the
democratic process. In response, the Democratic National Committee
has sharply reduced the influence of super delegates, effectively
preventing them from participating in a substantial way in the
first ballot of a Presidential nominee process.
- Q: Are there any history makers in the Presidential
- A: Mrs. Warren, Mrs. Klobuchar, or Representative Tulsi Gabbard
from Hawaii would be the first woman elected President. Mr.
Buttigieg would be the first openly-gay President to hold the
office, and Mr. Sanders or Mr. Bloomberg would be the first Jewish
President elected. A few of them would also be the oldest President
ever inaugurated for a first term.
- Q: Which party has done better at fund-raising so far?
- A: Trump entered 2020 with more than 100 million dollars in
cash on hand, and he outpaced every Democrat with 46 million in the
4th quarter of 2019. But, contenders for the Democratic nomination
have accusatively surpassed Trump’s totals, suggesting pretty good
- Q: Does my vote in the primaries matter?
- A: YES!! Although the piecemeal nature of the state-by-state
calendar might make the process seem less exciting, the primaries
really do resolve the nontrivial matter of choosing major party
nominees and also all of the down-ballot stuff.
- Q: Is it ok for me to skip voting in the primaries and just
vote in the general election?
- A: It’s allowed, of course. But the down-ballot primaries will
be of significant consequence locally in many states and those are
the feeder systems for our future. So it’s incredibly important to
vote, especially all the way down the ballot and not just in the
- Q: Do I need to be registered to vote in the primaries?
- A: Yes! 49 states require voter registration. North Dakota is
the only state that does not require it. Deadlines for registering
in your state can be found at the
U.S. Vote Foundation.
- Q: Do I need a government-issued ID?
- A: These requirements can vary by state and can be found at
- Q: What if I was removed in a voter purge?
- A: You can check your status at Vote.org.
- Listen to the podcast for more Q&A regarding voting over
the internet, those interfering Russians, Trump’s chances of
re-election, how trustworthy the polls are, if we are going to be
ok, and when this will be all over.
- Sara and Misasha’s discourse on Iowa and what we can learn from
- Please Vote!!
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Recent Episode on Primaries:
35: Election 101: Why Your
Vote Does Matter
Super Tuesday: Regional Politics & Presidential
Primaries by Barbara Norrander