Open Thread: Does 'Super Tuesday' Matter?

Today's starter topic of discussion is "Super Tuesday," a day when many states hold their primary elections simultaneously. In the past, the large number of primaries has been important in presidential campaigns. Not this year, according to Washington Times columnist Joseph Curl:

On Super Tuesday this time around, just 20 percent of the available delegates will be in play. In 2008, more than 50 percent were allotted on that single day. Plus, with more states now having proportional division of delegates rather than winner-take-all, no candidate will be remotely close to the 1,144 needed to clinch the nomination. Not even close enough to scare anyone out of the race.

The process is marred by the fact that only Mr. Romney and Mr. Paul will be on the Virginia ballot — the other two candidates missed the filing deadline. Said Mr. Sabato: “Our guesstimate of Romney’s delegate edge — 49 over Santorum — comes almost entirely from Virginia. Subtract out Virginia, and Super Tuesday becomes essentially a draw.”

Since its inaugural in 1984, Super Tuesday has often been decisive. In 1998, Gov. Michael Dukakis won the day’s largest share of delegates and went on to take the nomination. In 1992, Bill Clinton locked down the South and eventually the party’s nod. In 1996, Bob Dole swept the day’s seven states, and in 2000, both Al Gore and George W. Bush seized the day, and their party’s nominations.

But in 2008, 24 states fled the traditional March Super Tuesday, moving their elections to early February. Still, Sen. John McCain cruised to victory then and Mr. Romney dropped out a few days later.

Normally, just three weeks separates the big day from the New Hampshire primary; this time, there’s an eight-week gap (and about 300 debates that changed the landscape almost daily).

So, no freedom just yet. Instead, there’ll be months more of a grueling campaign — and months more of the same old gruel.

What's your take? How long do you see the presidential campaign continuing on the Republican side of things?

Open Thread