Charlotte Talks: North Carolina Helped Give Rise To Super Tuesday In The 1980s

Mar 3, 2020

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Super Tuesday has been around for decades, but it really came into its own in the 1988 presidential race when North Carolina and other Southern states tried to flex their power in picking the Democratic nominee.

Democratic candidates Jesse Jackson, Michael Dukakis, Al Gore and Dick Gephardt split the Super Tuesday vote in 1988, when 21 contests were held.
Credit C-Span

It's been 40 years since Super Tuesday entered the political lexicon, and it has taken on more importance with each election cycle.

The last time North Carolina participated in Super Tuesday was 1988, which political scientist Barbara Norrander considers the beginning of the modern era of Super Tuesday. That was the year that southern Democrats banded together in hopes of vaulting a moderate Democrat to the nomination after the party's landslide defeat in 1984.

"I don't know about you, but I'm tired of losing national elections for the White House," then-candidate Al Gore said in Charlotte in 1988.

The only thing is - it didn't work.

A look at the origins of Super Tuesday and its evolution as a force in presidential politics.

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Barbara Norrander, University of Arizona, professor in the School of Government and Public Policy; author of "Super Tuesday: Regional Politics and Presidential Primaries" (@norrande)