Great (Super Tuesday) Expectations
Have I mentioned how much I love elections? I really, really love elections. I like being asked my opinion on something and getting to share it. I like evaluating choices and considering the best one based on my criteria. For all of these reasons, I never turn down an invitation to do a survey (bonus if they reward you with a coupon or food item upon completion) and I love voting.
When you get excited about the Super Tuesday primaries
...and then you realize your state still has two months before their primary elections.
(I know Drake feels me on this.)
Though the primaries in Indiana are not for another two months (tear), this Tuesday are the Super Tuesday primaries and will undoubetedly determine who will be left on the ballot for Hoosier voters by the time our elections come around. Really, the primaries on March 1st aren't all that "super" in themselves so much as they are as a collective, because by the time the dust settles, the ballots are counted, and the votes are tallied at the end of Tuesday evening/beginning of Wednesday morning, we will have a much better sense of whose candidacies still have a shot at the presidency and whose are likely over.
For Republicans, Trump should do very well. He has been leading pretty handily in all of the polls (not a perfect predictor of course, but the 20% lead he has over his competition far outweights the margin of error). Plus, he has the benefit of having won NH and SC, the former after a close but surprising loss to Cruz, which gives him momentum. People like to support a "winner" and, as he would happily tell you, he is definitiely winning. I always refer to this as the NY Yankees effect because the Yankees seem to have a grossly disproportionate number of fans who could not name one player currently on the roster nor have even ever attended a game, and yet they love walking around wearing that little navy blue ballcap with the pride that they support a winning team. [Obligatory sidebar: As a Cincinnati Reds fan, wearing my ballcap brings a bitter mix of emotions whereas one thinks "oh yes, this will be our year!" only to constantly be disappointed with the season by the end of June.]
Cruz needs to win Texas--it is his home state afterall--but he will not get as many "style" points if he captures the 155-delegate-awarding giant. You are expected to carry your home state, and so doing so just plays in line with the fact that your own community should love you. Failing to capture Texas, however, would be a huge blow for him. He hasn't won since IA (and that was far from a landslide--finishing just a few percentage points ahead of Trump) and he and Rubio have combined still half of the delegates that Trump has. (If you were wondering about the official count, Trump - 82, Cruz - 17, Rubio - 16, Kasich - 6, and Carson - 4). Rubio also needs to win, though he is going to have to try to muster support among the other Super Tuesday states that are not Texas (maybe Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia...). Rubio fares well in polls, staying close in alternating 2nd-3rd places to Cruz, but he has yet to win a single primary. If he can't claim enough on Tuesday, it could be the beginning of the end for his campaign.
For Democrats, it looks like it will be all Clinton, all the time. The polls show her leading by whooping 20-30% margins over Sanders and the Southern states will be far less empathetic to the Vermont Senator's more liberal ideological bent. Having lived in the South, I can attest that the Southern Democrats are not the same as their national bretheren and their generally more conservative values (by Democratic party standards) will benefit Clinton. In addition, she is somewhat a Southerner herself, as she and Bill originated their political careers in Arkansas where he was governor when he ran for the presidency. This, plus the fact that she has been more popular with the minority voter demographic, make it look all but tied-up in favor of her campaign.
For the Sanders/Kasich/Carson campaigns, they need a miracle on Tuesday. Sanders may hold on until the convention just out of principle, Kasich might wait until the Midwest primaries to see if he can pick up steem, Carson-- I don' t know, I just really don't know what his campaign strategy is or could even possibly be at this point. Regardless, each one needs nothing short of a wild card to still remain in the race for the presidency. This is American politics, so anything can happen...Question is: will it?