Place for readers | Your questions about Super Tuesday

Journalists from the international section answer your questions. Today: Super Tuesday.

Elections, in brief

Would it be possible to explain to me simply and succinctly how the American electoral process works?

Robert Dufresne

Response from Janie Gosselin

The American electoral system is particularly complex, with variations between states. First, there is the nomination race within each party (primaries and caucuses), in each state – the current stage. Partisans indicate their preference for one or other of the aspiring candidates from their political party. Then, a number of delegates are allocated to the aspiring candidates, based on these results – delegates can be awarded proportionally or be behind a single aspiring candidate in the majority. They are the ones who confirm the appointment, in the summer, of the person who will try to become president. On November 5, Americans go to the polls, but it is the voters (the Electoral College) who make the result official. Their number varies depending on the state.

Major voters


President Joe Biden at the White House on February 28. In the United States, it is the voters who officially elect the president.

Super Tuesday allows you to choose a representative from one of the parties (Democratic or Republican). How does this influence the election of the electors of each state? Is there another step for the election of the electors?

Alain Mechaly

Response from Janie Gosselin

Delegates – who are often simple activists – nominate their party’s official candidate at a summer convention, based on the results of primaries and caucuses. The process depends on the parties in each state. The electors, chosen by each party, come into play at the time of elections and the role of the Electoral College is provided for in the country’s Constitution. The vote is indirect: citizens vote, but it is the electors, whose number is established by state, who elect the president. “These people have an honorary role to play,” explains Godefroy Desrosiers-Lauzon, affiliated with the University of Montreal. They get together, fill out ballots for the person who won in the state. Sometimes they take liberties, but it’s very rare. »

Democratic race


Dean Phillips addresses supporters gathered in Manchester during the New Hampshire Democratic primary on January 23.

We hear a lot about the Republicans (Trump and Haley) during this race for the party’s nomination. Is there a parallel race for the Democratic Party? If Biden is the only nominee, do Democrats also vote on Super Tuesday to confirm Biden’s nomination?

Pierre Lévesque

Response from Janie Gosselin

The race is less fierce for the outgoing president who is seeking a second term. But Joe Biden isn’t the only choice on the primary ballot. Dean Phillips, elected to the House of Representatives in 2018, is trying to offer Democrats another option. He believes that Joe Biden’s age and his unpopularity are harming the party. Author Marianne Williamson suspended her campaign, but is back in the race. Democratic supporters can also choose options like “none of the above” or “uncommitted.” Participants in the primaries do not only vote on the choice of presidential candidate: they may be called upon to vote on the nomination for other elective positions.

Influence on the election


Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley is still in the race.

How will the results of Super Tuesday influence the presidential results for the Republicans?

Thomas Montigny

Response from Janie Gosselin

The result of the primaries influences the campaign: strategists evaluate the regions where they risk being in difficulty in the presidential election. For Republicans, presumably, the Super Tuesday result will simply bring Donald Trump closer to the number of delegates required for a nomination, official only at the time of the party’s convention in the summer. The age of the candidates and Donald Trump’s legal troubles worry voters. “If an aspiring candidate were to leave the race (before the convention) or could no longer run for office, it would likely free his delegates from the constraint of aligning themselves with the outcome of the primaries and caucuses, and that we would have a convention where the choice of candidate would be decided on the spot rather than by the results,” analyzes Barbara Norrander, professor emeritus at the University of Arizona.

Support for Trump


A Donald Trump supporter reacts to the former Republican president’s speech during a campaign rally in Las Vegas on January 27.

There are two questions that bother me and I cannot understand how we can observe them in 2024. Why do African-Americans, especially from the South, vote for Trump? And women ?

Louise Desrosiers

Response from Janie Gosselin

“Unfortunately, there is a form of machismo and patriarchy in politics which gives credibility to men who project a certain confidence,” replies Godefroy Desrosiers-Lauzon. There is also a segment of society that does not recognize itself in more typical politicians and sees Trump as an alternative to political elites. It is populism, explains Mr. Desrosiers-Lauzon, favored by a media reality which functions as an echo chamber – both for channels like Fox News and for social networks based on algorithms which reinforce beliefs. If some Republicans support Donald Trump for his personality, others mainly vote for the party that defends their values, regardless of the presidential candidate.

For brevity and clarity, reader questions may have been edited.


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