What is Super Tuesday?

February 29, 2016

On Tuesday, March 1, voters in a dozen states and one U.S. territory will head to the polls or caucuses to support their preferred candidate for President of the United States. Though the early states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina have witnessed seemingly endless campaigning, polling and media coverage, the states voting on Tuesday have received far less attention.

This string of contests—dubbed the SEC primary because of the many southern states holding primaries on Tuesday—could indeed change the game as roughly half the delegates required to secure the Republican nomination are in play (661 of 1,297), as are more than a third of the required delegates for the Democratic nomination (865 of 2,383).

Who is in the race?

Vying for the nomination of the Democratic Party are Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The Republican field, which at one time boasted 17 candidates, has now been culled to five. The remaining candidates are businessman Donald Trump, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Gov. John Kasich (R-OH), and retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson.

Why is it called “Super Tuesday?”

Each party determines its nominee based on the number of delegates a candidate is awarded. Traditionally, the Tuesday in February or March of presidential election years when the greatest number of states hold nominating contests is known as “Super Tuesday.” It is considered to be the watershed moment in the nominating process because of the large number of delegates typically allotted. Super Tuesday will play a critical role this year as more delegates are up for grabs on March 1 than at any other time during the election cycle.

Which states are voting?

The SEC states holding primaries on Tuesday include Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, and Texas. The other states with primaries or nominating contests are Alaska (Republican caucuses), Colorado (Democratic and Republican caucuses), Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Vermont, and Virginia. Also holding Democratic caucuses will be the territory of American Samoa.

What is the current delegate count?

Currently, Donald Trump leads the Republican field with an estimated 81 delegates. Following behind Trump in the delegate count are Ted Cruz (17), Marco Rubio (17), John Kasich (6), and Ben Carson (4). After three contests, Hillary Clinton leads Bernie Sanders 504 to 71.

While delegates are typically apportioned to candidates based on votes received in state primaries or caucuses (Republicans label these “bound delegates” and Democrats refer to them as “pledged delegates”), each party also has a certain number of unbound delegates. Though Clinton and Sanders are presently tied at 51 pledged delegates, more than 450 “superdelegates”—the unofficial title for the group of elected Democratic officials and party leaders free to back their candidate of choice—have pledged to support Clinton, explaining her massive lead in the current delegate count.

How are delegates awarded on Super Tuesday?

Both parties have stipulated that no state may hold a “winner-take-all” primary before March 15. However, the actual method of allocating delegates is determined by each state. Some Super Tuesday states have opted to allocate delegates proportional to voter totals and others will award more delegates to the winner of the state’s popular vote.

What could happen?

Polls conducted in the Super Tuesday states have been less frequent and reliable than those performed in early states. While frontrunners Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are expected to fair well on Tuesday, the anticipated results are largely guesswork. Should Trump and Clinton see significant victories, they could be well on their way to securing the nomination of their respective parties. But even if Clinton were to expand her lead by a large margin, it is unlikely Bernie Sanders will suspend his campaign because such a large concentration of Tuesday’s contests will be held in the South where Clinton has maintained an edge over Sanders, particularly with African American voters.

Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are also counting on strong performances on Tuesday, especially in the SEC states. Though Cruz is expected to win his home state of Texas, his campaign is also seeking victories in other states to reassure supporters after his disappointing third place finish in South Carolina. And while Rubio’s momentum is on the rise, he has yet to place first in a primary or caucus. Failing to perform well on Super Tuesday could spell trouble for both campaigns.

Will anyone drop out after Super Tuesday?

Both John Kasich and Ben Carson have indicated that key wins on Super Tuesday are essential to bolster their fledgling campaigns. Should one or both see disappointing returns, it is likely that they will face increased funding concerns and pressure from party leaders to clear a path for Rubio and Cruz to take on Trump.

What should the Christian do?

We have finally reached the point in the election season when many voters start paying attention. Until this point, the contests have been held in smaller states. Other than televised debates and news coverage, very little has been done on the national stage. With 12 states voting on Super Tuesday, the election will garner more and more attention. Between now and November, it will be difficult to avoid conversations about politics and the presidential race.

Very simply, between now and then Christians should do three things: pray, vote and speak. Before we open our mouths, we should open our hearts to God. We should pray about the election and pray for our potential leaders. Unfortunately, not every candidate in this race prioritizes or agrees with the issues that are important to Christians, and none of them do so perfectly. For this reason, we must be informed about the candidates, their character and their positions on matters of policy, and then we must vote. Finally, we should encourage those around us, especially Christians, to be informed about the candidates and to vote according to their consciences.

Josh Wester

Joshua B. Wester is the lead pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Greensboro, North Carolina. Read More by this Author

Article 12: The Future of AI

We affirm that AI will continue to be developed in ways that we cannot currently imagine or understand, including AI that will far surpass many human abilities. God alone has the power to create life, and no future advancements in AI will usurp Him as the Creator of life. The church has a unique role in proclaiming human dignity for all and calling for the humane use of AI in all aspects of society.

We deny that AI will make us more or less human, or that AI will ever obtain a coequal level of worth, dignity, or value to image-bearers. Future advancements in AI will not ultimately fulfill our longings for a perfect world. While we are not able to comprehend or know the future, we do not fear what is to come because we know that God is omniscient and that nothing we create will be able to thwart His redemptive plan for creation or to supplant humanity as His image-bearers.

Genesis 1; Isaiah 42:8; Romans 1:20-21; 5:2; Ephesians 1:4-6; 2 Timothy 1:7-9; Revelation 5:9-10

Article 11: Public Policy

We affirm that the fundamental purposes of government are to protect human beings from harm, punish those who do evil, uphold civil liberties, and to commend those who do good. The public has a role in shaping and crafting policies concerning the use of AI in society, and these decisions should not be left to those who develop these technologies or to governments to set norms.

We deny that AI should be used by governments, corporations, or any entity to infringe upon God-given human rights. AI, even in a highly advanced state, should never be delegated the governing authority that has been granted by an all-sovereign God to human beings alone. 

Romans 13:1-7; Acts 10:35; 1 Peter 2:13-14

Article 10: War

We affirm that the use of AI in warfare should be governed by love of neighbor and the principles of just war. The use of AI may mitigate the loss of human life, provide greater protection of non-combatants, and inform better policymaking. Any lethal action conducted or substantially enabled by AI must employ 5 human oversight or review. All defense-related AI applications, such as underlying data and decision-making processes, must be subject to continual review by legitimate authorities. When these systems are deployed, human agents bear full moral responsibility for any actions taken by the system.

We deny that human agency or moral culpability in war can be delegated to AI. No nation or group has the right to use AI to carry out genocide, terrorism, torture, or other war crimes.

Genesis 4:10; Isaiah 1:16-17; Psalm 37:28; Matthew 5:44; 22:37-39; Romans 13:4

Article 9: Security

We affirm that AI has legitimate applications in policing, intelligence, surveillance, investigation, and other uses supporting the government’s responsibility to respect human rights, to protect and preserve human life, and to pursue justice in a flourishing society.

We deny that AI should be employed for safety and security applications in ways that seek to dehumanize, depersonalize, or harm our fellow human beings. We condemn the use of AI to suppress free expression or other basic human rights granted by God to all human beings.

Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-14

Article 8: Data & Privacy

We affirm that privacy and personal property are intertwined individual rights and choices that should not be violated by governments, corporations, nation-states, and other groups, even in the pursuit of the common good. While God knows all things, it is neither wise nor obligatory to have every detail of one’s life open to society.

We deny the manipulative and coercive uses of data and AI in ways that are inconsistent with the love of God and love of neighbor. Data collection practices should conform to ethical guidelines that uphold the dignity of all people. We further deny that consent, even informed consent, although requisite, is the only necessary ethical standard for the collection, manipulation, or exploitation of personal data—individually or in the aggregate. AI should not be employed in ways that distort truth through the use of generative applications. Data should not be mishandled, misused, or abused for sinful purposes to reinforce bias, strengthen the powerful, or demean the weak.

Exodus 20:15, Psalm 147:5; Isaiah 40:13-14; Matthew 10:16 Galatians 6:2; Hebrews 4:12-13; 1 John 1:7 

Article 7: Work

We affirm that work is part of God’s plan for human beings participating in the cultivation and stewardship of creation. The divine pattern is one of labor and rest in healthy proportion to each other. Our view of work should not be confined to commercial activity; it must also include the many ways that human beings serve each other through their efforts. AI can be used in ways that aid our work or allow us to make fuller use of our gifts. The church has a Spirit-empowered responsibility to help care for those who lose jobs and to encourage individuals, communities, employers, and governments to find ways to invest in the development of human beings and continue making vocational contributions to our lives together.

We deny that human worth and dignity is reducible to an individual’s economic contributions to society alone. Humanity should not use AI and other technological innovations as a reason to move toward lives of pure leisure even if greater social wealth creates such possibilities.

Genesis 1:27; 2:5; 2:15; Isaiah 65:21-24; Romans 12:6-8; Ephesians 4:11-16

Article 6: Sexuality

We affirm the goodness of God’s design for human sexuality which prescribes the sexual union to be an exclusive relationship between a man and a woman in the lifelong covenant of marriage.

We deny that the pursuit of sexual pleasure is a justification for the development or use of AI, and we condemn the objectification of humans that results from employing AI for sexual purposes. AI should not intrude upon or substitute for the biblical expression of sexuality between a husband and wife according to God’s design for human marriage.

Genesis 1:26-29; 2:18-25; Matthew 5:27-30; 1 Thess 4:3-4

Article 5: Bias

We affirm that, as a tool created by humans, AI will be inherently subject to bias and that these biases must be accounted for, minimized, or removed through continual human oversight and discretion. AI should be designed and used in such ways that treat all human beings as having equal worth and dignity. AI should be utilized as a tool to identify and eliminate bias inherent in human decision-making.

We deny that AI should be designed or used in ways that violate the fundamental principle of human dignity for all people. Neither should AI be used in ways that reinforce or further any ideology or agenda, seeking to subjugate human autonomy under the power of the state.

Micah 6:8; John 13:34; Galatians 3:28-29; 5:13-14; Philippians 2:3-4; Romans 12:10

Article 4: Medicine

We affirm that AI-related advances in medical technologies are expressions of God’s common grace through and for people created in His image and that these advances will increase our capacity to provide enhanced medical diagnostics and therapeutic interventions as we seek to care for all people. These advances should be guided by basic principles of medical ethics, including beneficence, non-maleficence, autonomy, and justice, which are all consistent with the biblical principle of loving our neighbor.

We deny that death and disease—effects of the Fall—can ultimately be eradicated apart from Jesus Christ. Utilitarian applications regarding healthcare distribution should not override the dignity of human life. Fur- 3 thermore, we reject the materialist and consequentialist worldview that understands medical applications of AI as a means of improving, changing, or completing human beings.

Matthew 5:45; John 11:25-26; 1 Corinthians 15:55-57; Galatians 6:2; Philippians 2:4

Article 3: Relationship of AI & Humanity

We affirm the use of AI to inform and aid human reasoning and moral decision-making because it is a tool that excels at processing data and making determinations, which often mimics or exceeds human ability. While AI excels in data-based computation, technology is incapable of possessing the capacity for moral agency or responsibility.

We deny that humans can or should cede our moral accountability or responsibilities to any form of AI that will ever be created. Only humanity will be judged by God on the basis of our actions and that of the tools we create. While technology can be created with a moral use in view, it is not a moral agent. Humans alone bear the responsibility for moral decision making.

Romans 2:6-8; Galatians 5:19-21; 2 Peter 1:5-8; 1 John 2:1

Article 2: AI as Technology

We affirm that the development of AI is a demonstration of the unique creative abilities of human beings. When AI is employed in accordance with God’s moral will, it is an example of man’s obedience to the divine command to steward creation and to honor Him. We believe in innovation for the glory of God, the sake of human flourishing, and the love of neighbor. While we acknowledge the reality of the Fall and its consequences on human nature and human innovation, technology can be used in society to uphold human dignity. As a part of our God-given creative nature, human beings should develop and harness technology in ways that lead to greater flourishing and the alleviation of human suffering.

We deny that the use of AI is morally neutral. It is not worthy of man’s hope, worship, or love. Since the Lord Jesus alone can atone for sin and reconcile humanity to its Creator, technology such as AI cannot fulfill humanity’s ultimate needs. We further deny the goodness and benefit of any application of AI that devalues or degrades the dignity and worth of another human being. 

Genesis 2:25; Exodus 20:3; 31:1-11; Proverbs 16:4; Matthew 22:37-40; Romans 3:23

Article 1: Image of God

We affirm that God created each human being in His image with intrinsic and equal worth, dignity, and moral agency, distinct from all creation, and that humanity’s creativity is intended to reflect God’s creative pattern.

We deny that any part of creation, including any form of technology, should ever be used to usurp or subvert the dominion and stewardship which has been entrusted solely to humanity by God; nor should technology be assigned a level of human identity, worth, dignity, or moral agency.

Genesis 1:26-28; 5:1-2; Isaiah 43:6-7; Jeremiah 1:5; John 13:34; Colossians 1:16; 3:10; Ephesians 4:24