I had a very busy week, so I wasn't able to report on the momentous Super Tuesday contests as they happened. In the timescale used with primary contests, five days is a long time, so I apologize that the thrill of the moment hasn't been recorded on here.
Super Tuesday is an unofficial tradition, and each Super Tuesday has a different mix of states and a different strategic impact every year. This year, Super Tuesday was very focused on Southern states. The states voting (for Republicans) were:
The skew towards the south is even more important because of the way the Republican Party
allocates delegates: states are given a loyalty bonus
when they have Republican office holders and supported the Republican Party in the last presidential election
Of these eleven states, seven were won by Donald Trump, three by Ted Cruz, and one by Marco Rubio. John Kasich and Dr. Ben Carson won none, and Carson dropped out of the race. None of the states were won by a majority, the closest any candidate came was Trump's 49% finish in Massachusetts. The field was still very divided, but as Trump won with a plurality in many states, he carried away most of the delegates, although not enough to gain a decisive victory. Ted Cruz, whose campaign had been faltering, picked up an important victory in his home state of Texas. Rubio, despite being the consensus choice as the "acceptable" candidate by the establishment, managed to win only one state, Minnesota. After Super Tuesday, the delegate math and state of the race remained in approximately the same place, with Trump in the lead and many Republican Party leaders trying to find a way to stop him.
At the end of the Nevada Caucuses, I said this was a Red Queen race: one with much action that didn't seem to go anywhere. That was a premature statement, because I realized that something was going on, and in fact something significant was going on: a realigning election. The composition of the Republican Party is changing dramatically, and with that, its policy positions will probably be changing quickly as well.
To me, one of the key concepts in the race was the oft-mentioned "Evangelical Christian" and "rural" voters that are supposed to make up the red meat skeleton of the modern Republican Party. The problem with these terms is that they are thrown around as a matter of course by people who aren't actually familiar with the milieu they are speaking of. If we actually picture a group of voters that are good, somber churchgoers living in the midst of endless cornfields, a profane womanizer from New York, New York would seem like the last person to earn their trust, even if we were to take his states policy positions at face value. But the thing is that "Evangelical Christians" is not a good name for this vague group. I would prefer "Culturally Conservative". Many of the attitudes and actions of Trump that might appeal to a red blooded American would be repulsive to an Evangelical Christian. Making a joke about penis size, as Trump did a few days after the primary, might appeal to a certain cultural mindset, while it would probably be anathema to people who were raised with values of personal propriety.
Although there are many technical issues with the delegate count and the further strategy of the race, the takeaway for me from Super Tuesday is that this is a realigning election of sorts, with a block of voters that don't fit conveniently into any scheme emerging, with vague but strong feeling about a number of issues outside the familiar political discourse.