Leo Pierson: Super Tuesday! (Or, Maybe Not)

Leo Pierson: Super Tuesday! (Or, Maybe Not)

Guest Post by Leo Pierson (@LeoPierson)

It has notably taken me a few days to digest the on-goings and outcomes of supposed Super Tuesday. I’ve been second-guessing myself, thinking I must have missed the big news, the surprise twist, that moment of political exhilaration that dons said primary with such a lofty moniker.

But I didn’t miss anything; that moment just never came. And this mi gente, is the surprising, if anti-climactic news as regards (the not so) Super Tuesday.

Here in Ohio, which should have been the prize among the 10 states that held primaries, the candidates decimated previous spending records. Mitt Romney—and his Super PAC—blew  $12 million to capture the Buckeye State. He outspent his rival, Rick Santorum, by a margin of 4:1 and still barely managed to eke out a 1% victory (please pardon the pun).

Also worth noting, the House of Representatives lost two long-time incumbents, both of whom were outflanked from the right. Podiatrist and Tea Party darling, Brad Wenstrup, beat Southwest Ohio’s Jean Schmidt, who is perhaps best known for the SNL spoof covering her 2005 tirade on the House floor.

As reported in the Washington Post, Wenstrup won by six points, and he never ran even a single television ad! Schmidt, who has recently been dogged by House ethics investigations, also lost her home county. Obvious take-away: if you’re going to run for office, make sure your neighbors actually like you!

The other major loss came from left wing darling, Congressman Dennis Kucinich. Kucinich is known for his quixotic 2004 and 2008 Presidential bids. Due to perceived anti-immigrant comments from his former Democratic colleague turned rival, Marcy Kaptur, Northeast Ohio’s Latino community threw its weight behind Kucinich. I wrote about the debacle here on the Huffington Post. Somewhat predictably, however, Congresswoman Kaptur handily beat the longtime Cleveland politician by nearly 20 points.

There are two take-aways from the Kaptur-Kucinich race: First, all politicians need to stop railing against immigrants if they expect support from their Latino constituents, many of whom are immigrants themselves, or have immigrant family members and close friends.

Por otro lado—and there is no way to overemphasize this—Latino constituents must continue to organize more effectively and must, must, must work harder to develop relationships with their elected officials in order to educate them more proactively on Latino policy issues. These are two requisite conditions in order to appropriately improve our communities’ educational, health care, economic and political outcomes. Don’t overlook them.

But truthfully, other than the above, Ohio’s Super Tuesday was loathsomely mundane. My good friend, David Little, accurately captured the day’s zeitgeist—and perhaps that of this entire primary season—as we walked into the Board of Elections that evening: “Geez!” he said. “I at least thought that the CNN van parked outside would draw some folks in!”

It didn’t. Those folks never came. Most of them never even voted. So much for “Super” Tuesday!

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: LATISM held a special Twitter Chat on Super Tuesday night, which broke all previous records of engagement for our chats to date. You can read the recap and download the transcript here.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

 

Leo J. Pierson is a Public Sociologist who resides in the Cincinnati area. His Primary Research Areas: U.S. Immigration Policy & Politics. He’s also a contributor to LatinoVoices on The Huffington Post. You may find more about his work at http://www.onimmigration.com

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