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US election word of the week: Super Tuesday

 © PhotoDiscIn this series we are looking at some of the language and terminology associated with the US electoral process in the run-up to the Presidential election in late 2016. This week’s word is Super Tuesday.

Following the slow build-up of the early caucuses and primaries, the US Presidential campaign moves up a gear on Super Tuesday. This is a day in February or March when numerous states across the country hold primary elections to select delegates to the national conventions later in the year. This makes it the first real test of the candidates’ nationwide electability and, generally speaking, the candidates who do best on Super Tuesday go on to garner their parties’ nominations for Presidential candidate. Here’s how Macmillan Dictionary describes Super Tuesday:



in the US presidential elections, a day in February or March on which several states hold primary elections

People around the world vote on different days of the week for different reasons. In the UK voting always takes place on a Thursday, while many other countries prefer a day at the weekend. Americans have been voting on Tuesdays since the middle of the 19th century; the day was chosen to allow people to travel sometimes long distances to polling stations without interfering with days set aside for worship or markets. Despite protests about the inconvenience of having elections on a working day, it seems unlikely that this will change any time soon.

Look out for the next post in this series. You can find past posts on the language of American politics here and here, or search for other posts in this series using the tag US politics.

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Liz Potter

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