WASHINGTON: When the richest haul in the US presidential primary race arrives on “Super Tuesday,” millions of Americans will cast their votes — and many of them will count for nothing.

In the primary system it is the number of allocated delegates that matters more than the popular vote count.

The Republican and Democratic nominating contests that play out across the US every four years serve to elect delegates to the national conventions, where they formally select their party’s presidential nominee.

It’s a system that tends to favour front-runners, and for Nikki Haley, the sole remaining challenger to Donald Trump for the Republican nomination, it’s one that has dulled her already razor thin chances.

Trump terms SC verdict on Colorado ballot a ‘big win for America’

Haley wins in Washington DC

On Sunday night Haley won the Washington, DC, Republican primary taking 19 delegates, her first victory in the nominating process and a symbolic win for the former US ambassador to the United Nations, Edison Research said.

Haley won 62.9 per cent of the vote, versus 33.2pc captured by the former president.

“It’s not surprising that Republicans closest to Washington dysfunction are rejecting Donald Trump and all his chaos,” Haley campaign spokesperson Olivia Perez-Cubas said in a statement.

With 2,429 Republican delegates from across the country, Trump needs at least 1,215 to secure his lock on the nomination.

Having won all eight early state and territory contests, he already has more than 247 delegates in his column compared to Haley’s 24 going into Super Tuesday, when more than a third of the national Republican total is up for grabs.

Trump’s dominance is such that he could cross the magic threshold as early as March 19 — even though the primary calendar stretches into early June.

On the Democratic side, incumbent Biden is a virtual lock.

The delegate numbers differ between the parties, but the process is similar. There are currently 3,934 Democratic delegates in play, and Biden’s magic number for victory is 1,968. He already has 206 delegates, and could also secure the nomination in March.

That means the re-match between Biden and Trump — who will be the oldest ever pair of nominees — will involve one of the longest presidential campaigns in US history.

The Republican National Convention is scheduled for July in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, while Democrats gather for their convention in August in Chicago.

The delegates also endorse the party’s candidate for vice president, selected by the presidential hopeful and often announced a few days before the convention.

‘Trump can stay on Colorado primary ballot’

The US Supreme Court on Monday removed a potential hurdle to Trump’s bid to recapture the White House, unanimously dismissing a state court ruling that could have barred him from the ballot for engaging in insurrection.

In a 9-0 decision, the conservative-dominated court said “the judgement of the Colorado Supreme Court… cannot stand,” meaning 77-year-old Trump, the Republican White House frontrunner, can appear on the state’s primary ballot.

Trump hailed the decision, declaring a “BIG WIN FOR AMERICA!!!” in a post on his Truth Social website.

Published in Dawn, March 5th, 2024

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