Super Tuesday Primary Elections

By Candace Lewis

For the politically-challenged among us, the tsunami-sized wave of frenzied media in a presidential-election year may not only bowl us over with confusion and bewilderment, but may also flood us with guilt for lacking intimate knowledge of the American electoral process.

image of millennials holding sign promoting voting to their generation
Photo: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters; from Millennials Could Determine the Presidential Election—but Will They Vote?

WHAT’S HAPPENING IN OUR AMERICAN ELECTORAL PROCESS…

March 1, for example, is “Super Tuesday”–that Tuesday in February or March of a presidential election year when the highest number of states hold their “Primary Elections”.

Sometimes called “nominating caucuses” or otherwise more simply called “Primaries,” this election asks citizens to vote for their preference of their political party’s presidential candidate or else to designate themselves as uncommitted to any candidate.  Primaries also avail voters in Tennessee a chance to choose as many political-party delegates as can be elected from their congressional district.

Delegate candidates commit themselves to represent a particular party hopeful like Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton  (in the voting booth, the delegate’s name may be seen alongside their chosen candidate) as their party’s nomination for Presidential candidate in the November General Election.  Should a delegate win enough votes in the Primary, they’re then certified to attend their party’s national convention in order to confirm their voters’ nomination preference on the convention’s floor in the summer.

HOW MARCH’S PRIMARIES ARE SIGNIFICANT IN THE ELECTORAL PROCESS…

Historically, the order & timing of state Primaries shaped the field of candidates hopeful for their party’s nomination as presidential candidate.

Early Primary results would help winning candidates both to gather momentum as summer party conventions approached and to marshal significant resources such as the endorsement of an intra-party rival who–upon failing to win any support in early Primaries–might have withdrawn from the nomination race and asked their supporters to endorse a party front-runner.

States were therefore compelled to hold their Primary as early as possible in order to exert influence over other states & to sway influence with a prospective future U.S. President.  To reduce this crush of so-called “front loaded” primaries, national-party rules were changed as of 2008 to require state Primaries be held after February in all but four (New Hampshire, South Carolina, Iowa & Nevada) of the United States.

HOW TENNESSEE’S PRIMARY IS SIGNIFICANT…

With early state Primaries no longer clinching a particular hopeful’s party nomination, the key to winning a presidential nomination shifted from winning particular state Primaries to winning delegates.

For this reason, Tennessee voters join those from Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Texas, Virginia and Oklahoma to choose 1,010 party delegates up for grabs in the so-called “SEC Primary”.  This powerhouse coalition of Southern states–so named after the well-recognized south-eastern conferences (SEC) of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) college sports–significantly strengthens the electoral voice of its constituent states by creating a larger pool of party delegates than any single SEC state could avail by itself alone.

By offering nomination hopefuls this significant chunk of delegates, the SEC Primary entices the campaign trails of party candidates to ramble South in order to woo delegate voters.  In turn, such local visits generate media coverage and local buzz about the candidates and the platforms of issues each one is building as those that will be important to him or her as an elected President.

HOW YOUR VOTE IS SIGNIFICANT IN TENNESSEE …

Your vote in a Tennessee Primary election thus weighs the scale of those delegates pooled in the SEC Primary who will go forth to represent a Southern voice on party-convention floors over the summer.  Recognizing this, Tennessee opted to join the coalition of SEC-Primary states to make your vote matter in the process of choosing America’s own leaders.

So make your Primary vote matter by making it happen on March 1: vote at the polls and represent not only yourself but this state in this significant process in American democracy!

image of the word vote
Photo: Theresa Thompson; from https://flic.kr/p/5z2jST

RESOURCES

Qualifying Procedures – 2016 Presidential Delegates from the Secretary of State, Tennessee

Everything You Need to Know about Delegate Math in the Presidential Primary from the Washington Post

Everything You Need to Know About the Presidential Primaries from the League of Women Voters

Why the Presidential Primary Elections Are So Important from AboutNews

Note from Sarah Smith: find information about the history of elections, current news coverage, and anything else election-related from Thigpen Library’s collections.

Lynda.com Access @ Vol State

Lynda.com announcement - text is same as image

Flyers posted at VSCC locations declare:

[blockquote author=”” link=”” target=”_blank”]Learn a new skill free! Do something today that will benefit your future. Full access to Lynda.com content will be available to VSCC students, staff, and faculty in: JANUARY 2016. [/blockquote]

What does this mean?

Lynda.com is the “gold standard” leader in online training content. Lynda.com offers 6,000 courses in 5 languages  + more than 110,000 tutorials with new content added weekly – available 24/7. Topics and courses offered by Lynda.com includes:

  • Developer Training + Tutorials (learn how to code, build web applications, program …)
  • Design Training + Tutorials (learn graphic design skills, Illustrator or InDesign, typography …)
  • Web Courses + Training (learn web design and user experience [UX] skills …)
  • Photography Courses + Classes (learn everything from gear to technique including lighting, photo editing …)
  • Business Courses + Training (learn Microsoft Office applications, project management, negotiation, leadership, and marketing …)
  • Education + Elearning (learn new classroom technologies and instructional techniques …)
  • 3D + Animation + Tutorials (learn how to build virtual worlds through animation and 3d modeling applications  …)
  • Video Training Tutorials (learn videography skills and applications such as iMovie and Final Cut Pro …)
  • Audio + Music Tutorials (learn how to record, mix, produce and sound engineer …)

With Vol State’s access to Lynda.com *you* will be able to learn the skills you need to be successful: in your VSCC classes, in your workplace, and in your life.

lynda.com logo image

Don’t forget –

Lynda.com will be available from the library’s website in JANUARY 2016!

Lynda.com is being made available at Vol State through a partnership between the Information Technology Department and Thigpen Library. The college subscription is funded by TAF.

One simple way to guarantee your feedback about the library is heard

Library Director, Sarah Smith, joins the blog today to share information about how the library staff responds to student feedback.

As the director of the Thigpen Library, I am always seeking ways to improve services and resources provided to Vol State students. So, I get really excited when students contribute their suggestions for the library, whether it’s through one of the library’s Tip Jars (located downstairs at the Reference Desk and upstairs at the Circulation Desk), verbally to a staff member, or in response to our informal surveys.

One of the two tip jars in the library. Photo credit: Librarian Mike Hitzelberger
One of the two tip jars in the library.
Photo credit: Librarian Mike Hitzelberger

I’m very excited to report that the library actively responds to student suggestions. For instance, one student commented about the need for computer station sanitation to prevent the spread of disease. Voilà! Students now have easy access to disinfecting wipes placed throughout the computer lab area so that they can sanitize their computer station before use.

We also respond to students’ need via observation. For example, we noticed that many students wanted to use the large reading tables for study, but also needed access to an outlet to charge their laptops at those tables. The library came up with what students have called a “genius” solution – attaching outlets (including USB charging ports) to the tables.

A group of students using the charging station while they study
A group of students using the charging station while they study

A request that has been received from a few of our students is for the library to stay open 24/7. Good news: we already are! The library’s online collections can be accessed by any Vol State student, staff, or faculty member 24/7, and these include millions of full text articles and more than 200,000 online books and videos. Additionally, our LibGuides provide instruction on the use of the library’s resources so that students can get the help they need to use library resources at any time.

As far as the physical building remaining open 24/7, there are many reasons why the idea is not feasible. I’ll name a few of the main reasons for not staying open for any 24 hour period on a regular basis: non-residential campus, security concerns, huge costs (at a minimum guess, $150,000 extra) to hire staff, and the Gallatin Campus itself officially closes at 11 pm. Perhaps the best evidence for not staying open 24/7 is the lack of demonstrated need for those hours: during our extended hours near exam times there are never more than a handful of people using the library between 10-11 pm; unfortunately, there are only a handful of students here at closing each night during our regular hours, too. I know that there will be a few students who will remain unsatisfied with this response and so I encourage these students to speak with me directly.

Sarah can be reached at 615-230-3412 or at Sarah.Smith@volstate.edu.