Every debate, caucus, straw poll, and primary the media does a quick primer beforehand about what to expect. Expect a fiery Romney Gingrich showdown, expect a strong performance from Santorum, expect Ron Paul to not give a shit about results at all, and so on. Super Tuesday is a bit different, candidates compete for a geographically diverse area and their campaigns mostly focus on a fraction of the states. For instance, Alaska is one of the states voting tomorrow (actually they just start voting tomorrow as they first day in 2 weeks, Alaska is big), yet as Sarah Palin pointed out, none of the candidates bothered showing up there. Although she did make sure to say that Gingrich did do a teleconference, leaving her flirtation with a Gingrich endorsement somewhere around 3rd base. So the media sort of knows how it’s going to turn out in each state and expectations are based on how much effort the candidates put into each state versus the results of the state. You want to know these expectations then turn on the news tonight or tomorrow. Instead, here are some things you should not expect.
Do not expect a Consensus
Super Tuesday is big, but not super big. The delegates up for grabs Tuesday comprise about 18% of the total so even tho there may be a clear winner on the day, more than half the states have yet to vote. This year Super Tuesday has actually meant less than previous years, so the results after tomorrow can’t really be contrasted against 2008, which effectively ended the GOP primary. Each campaign will also spin the results into a positive sign for them as they have done every contest so far. The only exception to this may be Newt Gingrich who, if failing to win Georgia, could end his campaign
Do not expect The Speculation About the Convention to End
Even if Romney wins big tomorrow he still won’t have enough delegates to put this to rest. There’s also a general misconception about how these primaries actually choose a winner. It’s not how many states a candidate wins, not even necessarily how many votes they get, but it’s all about the delegates. Take Virginia for instance, another state voting tomorrow with a total of 49 delegates up for grabs. 33 are appropriated for each congressional district the candidate wins and 13 more for the winner of the state, and then another 3 as super delegates who represent the Bam Margera of primary voting by doing whatever the fuck they want. Every state is different too and things will not be settled for Romney until both Santorum and Gingrich end their campaigns.
Don’t expect Democrats to Have Their Shit Together
So far this year the only one actually encouraging cross-party participation in the primaries has been Rick Santorum. Now there’s a lot of open primaries tomorrow, Georgia, Tennessee, Vermont, and Virginia, that are just ripe for democrats and independents to try to exercise their voice, or manipulate the elections (depending on your level of cynicism). Republicans meanwhile seem rather adept at this, with Romney bragging about it and the 2008 push for Obama to beat Hillary. After most of the GOP field failed to qualify for the VA ballot, the Republican-controlled legislature introduced a bill requiring a loyalty oath to the eventual GOP nominee to be allowed to vote. Thankfully this horrendously dumb idea was scrapped and it seems, will matter very little anyway in the end.
Don’t expect Calm, Balanced, and Straightforward Election Coverage
Look, there are 9 states that will have results tomorrow and we all know how it is when there’s only one. CNN always seems to be the trendsetter for coming up with the most ridiculous burdensome shit, like holographs, overly-complicated wall interfaces, and what appeared to be an intern greenhouse. Not only will they be constantly switching graphics from state to state but every interview or analysis will be interrupted with breaking news about how a precinct with 32 people just voted. Take everything bad about the earlier primary coverage and multiply it by 9. But at least it’s not a debate so we probably won’t have to sit through another Frank Luntz focus group.