Biden, Trump consolidate presidential nominations in “Super Tuesday” vote characterized by low turnout

The presidential nominating contests for both big business parties all but ended following the conclusion of the “Super Tuesday” primary contests after 16 states, including California, Texas, Virginia, North Carolina and Minnesota along with the territory of American Samoa, held primary elections Tuesday.

A lone voter casts his ballot for Super Tuesday, at the Latin Paradise Banquet Hall polling station, in the Van Nuys section of Los Angeles, Tuesday, March 5, 2024. [AP Photo/Richard Vogel]

On the Democratic side, President Joe Biden won every single state by margins of at least 52 percent. Following Biden’s victories, on Wednesday, Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips announced he was suspending his campaign, leaving only Marianne Williamson, who has yet to win a single delegate, as Biden’s only remaining challenger in the Democratic Party.

Phillips currently represents the 3rd District in Minnesota, which encompasses much of Hennepin County and the Twin Cities. Out of the over 242,000 votes cast in the Minnesota primary, over 85,000 of them came from Hennepin County. Biden only garnered 64 percent of the vote in the county, his lowest in the state, while “Uncommitted” came in second with 26 percent of the vote. Phillips came in a distant third with 9 percent.

Overall, nearly 19 percent of voters in the Minnesota Democratic primary cast a ballot for “Uncommitted,” the largest percentage of a state total so far this year. In Michigan last week, over 13 percent of voters submitted an “Uncommitted” ballot.

The political forces behind “Uncommitted,” including the Democratic Socialists of America Rep. Rashida Tlaib (Democrat-Michigan) and former Rep. Andy Levin, are attempting to corral mass disgust with the Biden administration’s support for genocide in Gaza back into the Democratic Party and eventually into a vote for Biden in November.

Following the large “Uncommitted” vote in Michigan last week, Democratic politicians, such as Vice President Kamala Harris, began using terms like “ceasefire” to placate opponents of genocide, even though the politicians have no intention of actually implementing a ceasefire. However, by changing their tone and adopting the language, if not the demands, of the millions of people who have marched for an end to the slaughter in Gaza, the leaders of “Uncommitted” are attempting to present illusions to workers and youth that Biden and the Democratic Party can be “pressured” to change.

However, after five months of genocide, live-streamed around the world, many of those voting “Uncommitted” have no intention of ever voting for Biden or the Democratic Party again.

For the Republicans, Trump won every state he competed in except Vermont, which became the first and only state former South Carolina Governor and former Trump UN Ambassador Nikki Haley won in the 2024 election.

On Wednesday Haley announced she was suspending her presidential campaign but would not be endorsing Trump at this time. Primary Pivot, a super PAC that had been supporting Haley, announced that it would relaunch following her exit as the “Haley Voters for Biden” political action committee. Primary Pivot co-founder Robert Schwartz told Semafor Wednesday that the group would “try to guide” Haley supporters “toward the candidate that respects democracy, even if they may disagree with him politically.”

In general, Democratic turnout was very low across the country. Biden received more votes than Trump in only a handful of states: California, Massachusetts, Vermont and Utah.

The overall low turnout is a reflection of the mass disgust and anger a majority of workers and youth have with both big business parties. Turnout in Maine was down significantly, with Bangor Daily News reporting that only 36,000 Mainers had requested an absentee ballot ahead of Tuesday’s vote, compared to nearly 59,000 four years ago. Emily Cook, a spokesperson for the Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, said it was “very slow” at polling stations across the state.

In Virginia, statewide turnout was significantly lower compared to the last seven presidential primaries, according to statistics compiled by the nonpartisan Virginia Public Access Project. Only 11 percent of registered Republicans voters participated Tuesday, while turnout among Democrats was roughly half that, 6 percent, the lowest since 1988.

Local CBS station KEYE, broadcasting out of Austin, Texas, reported that turnout in Travis County was lower than in 2016 and 2020, with less than 7 percent of registered voters in the county returning their ballots. “We are below 2016 which was a kind of higher turnout year, and 2020 which was one of the most historic turnout years,” Travis County Clerk, Dyana Limon-Mercado, told CBS.

In addition to presidential primary contests, there were primary contests for more than a one-quarter of all the seats in the House of Representatives. While 115 seats will be up for grabs this November, Michael Li at the Brennan Institute for Justice, speaking to USA Today, estimated that only 8 of the seats would be competitive, due to gerrymandering by both parties.

That means that more than 100 seats are effectively already won by the candidates of the Democratic or Republican Party, with the November election merely rubber-stamping the outcome of the primary.

The main exception was in California, which uses a “jungle primary” system in which all candidates are on the ballot in the primary, and only the top two, regardless of party, advance to the general election. This effectively bars all third-party or independent challengers from the November ballot, confirming the political monopoly of the two capitalist parties, while occasionally two Democrats or two Republicans advance.

There was much maneuvering over that possible outcome by the rival Democrats competing in the pivotal race for the Senate seat to replace recently installed Laphonza Butler, who was appointed to the position last year by Gov. Gavin Newsom following the death of Dianne Feinstein.

The four major candidates included three current Democratic members of the House—Adam Schiff, Katie Porter and Barbara Lee—and former Dodgers baseball player Steve Garvey, running on the Republican ticket.

Schiff, the most right-wing of the three Democrats, was the preferred candidate of the Democratic establishment, having previously received an endorsement from former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. More so than Porter and Lee, Schiff openly campaigned as a defender of Israel and an apologist for the Gaza genocide.

As they did in the 2022 election, the Democrats sought to manipulate the Republican vote. Schiff wished to boost Garvey in order to avoid a head-to-head runoff with fellow Democrat Katie Porter, calculating that Garvey would be an easier opponent in the heavily Democratic state.

A PAC (political action committee) linked to Schiff, the Standing Strong PAC, ran advertisements to help the Garvey campaign. The ads were superficially anti-Garvey, claiming that Garvey was “too conservative” and would “advance Trump’s agenda.” Their purpose, however, was to raise Garvey’s standing among pro-Trump Republicans and allow him to consolidate the Republican vote.

Politico reported that as part of an “initial run” of advertisements, which aired on Fox News, Schiff’s PAC invested “$200,000.” However this, Politico wrote, was just the beginning of a “large ad run” that the PAC organizers said would eventually reach “seven figures.”

Porter, for her part, spent money to boost other Republicans, in order to take away votes from Garvey and give her a chance to finish second and thus make the runoff in November.

The cynical maneuvering by Schiff, and his greater financial resources, appears to have paid off, for now. With just over 50 percent of the vote counted, the former head of the House Intelligence Committee is currently winning, with 33.1 percent, followed by Garvey, close behind at 32.6 percent. Porter is third with 16.1 percent, while Lee is a distant fourth, at just over 9 percent.

Following Tuesday’s results, Schiff attempted to hold a victory celebration but was interrupted and eventually shut down by anti-genocide protesters, many with the Jewish American group, IfNotNow. As Schiff attempted to speak, a chorus of chants demanding a “ceasefire” and to “let Palestine live” interrupted his remarks and forced him to bring the party to a close.

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Republicans aligned with Trump won some of the most high profile primaries. In the North Carolina gubernatorial race, the Republican nomination went to the fascistic Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson.

Imitating a Southern preacher, since taking office in 2021, the rotund Robinson has been a staple at Trump rallies and CPAC events, where he regularly attacks LGBTQ persons, immigrants and socialism. Prior to being elected, Robinson, like QAnon fascist Marjorie Taylor Greene, espoused his reactionary and antisemitic viewpoints on social media.

In 2014, Robinson favorably quoted Adolf Hitler, and in 2017 he defended the Nazi dictator again, writing on social media, “Folks always talk about killing ‘baby Hitler’ to spare humanity from extreme misery. But if you really wanna do humanity a favor go back and kill ‘baby Friedrich Engels’ and ‘toddler Karl Marx.’”

The next year, in 2018, following the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlotteville, Virginia, Robinson compared the removal of Confederate statues in America to Kristallnacht, the November 1938 Nazi pogrom that resulted in over 1,400 synagogues being burned, thousands of Jewish businesses and homes destroyed and 1,500 people murdered.

Speaking at CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) last month, Robinson endorsed “warrior” Trump, railed against transgender people and “open borders.” He is set to face Democrat Josh Stein, who bested his Democratic opponents yesterday but garnered over 150,000 fewer votes than Robinson.

Stein was the first Jewish statewide official in the history of North Carolina when he became attorney general in 2016. The same Republicans who howl about nonexistent “antisemitism” on college campuses will be making tacit appeals to real antisemitism in the general election campaign, in alliance with outright fascists and neo-Nazis.