Super Tuesday And American Democracy | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe

Opinion

Super Tuesday And American Democracy

Posted: Mar 13, 2016 at 6:29 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Dr. Chuks Osuji, Anambra

It is an incontestable fact that America parades the best and most effective presidential democracy in the world. The origin of this democracy began almost with the emergence of United States of America with the declaration of independence in 1776. After the initial challenges associated with nation building, and after several trials and errors in fashioning out the best political system for the new nation, the continental congress of twelve consenting states agreed to adopt Presidential Democracy. Since then until now, United States political system had endured a lot of political, social and economic thick and thorns. The kernel of America’s democratic processes lies in the rule of law and the people’s adherence to political process for the election of their presidents and other political offices.

For example, American presidential election takes place on first Tuesday of every November in every four years. Every presidential election is preceded by what is known as party primaries and caucuses. This is a process through which party presidential candidates are selected. The process sometime is highly complicated but once understood, is smooth and peaceful. In each case, each of the two main political parties: the Democratic Party and the Republican Party conducts its primaries in accordance with the laid down procedures; only card carrying members voting.

In the past few months, these two political parties have been engaged in their party primaries in some states beginning with the traditional Iowa state caucus. This was followed by New Hampshire State primary. The climax of American party primaries comes up first Tuesday in Mach of election year known as “Super Tuesday.” It is referred to as a Super Tuesday because it is the only period that a large number of convention delegates are selected. Indeed, Super Tuesday to many aspirants, is the most effective acid test as, to whether an aspirant should continue the race or not. For example, after the last Super Tuesday primaries, it has become evident that on the Republican Party side, Daniel Thrump is the front-runner while on the Democratic side; Hillary Clinton is the person to beat.

From the beginning of the party primaries exercises last January, some aspirants have bowed out, including Jeff Bush, the younger brother of a former US President, George W. Walker Bush. In fact, American presidential party primaries must be seen as a gradual elimination process for all the presidential aspirants, because this process is spread across the country over about a period of six months. So by the end of the party primaries in June, each of the presidential candidates must have known the prospects of their electability, depending on the number of convention delegates each must have garnered.

The truth remains that by the time each of the two parties hold their convention in July/August, by every stretch of political calculations and permutations, each of the parties must narrow down their likely presidential candidate in November. That is why party conventions are sometimes referred to as Nominating Conventions or ratifying conventions, because it is historically unlikely for a candidate who has won several party primaries or caucuses to fail from being confirmed as the party flag bearer.

It is very different from party conventions in Nigeria where presidential aspirants usually go to conventions with trailer load of currencies and cash with agents to buy convention delegates. We can remember the show of shame in People’s Democratic Party (PDP) convention at Jos, where retired generals reportedly acted as purchasing agents to buy delegates for their respective candidates. That was the beginning of the downfall of today’s downturn in PDP fortune. Therefore, for the party to bounce back, it must adopt free and fair congresses and conventions. There is no alternative to this.