Alabama joins the presidential politics derby in only two-and-a-half weeks, on March 3, but who would ever know it from the lack of political advertising?

By far, the most ads I have seen are for the candidacy of Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City, whose name was not on the ballot for the Iowa caucuses or the New Hampshire primary.

Bloomberg took an unusual path in his quest for the Democratic nomination, skipping the early states to concentrate on Super Tuesday, which includes 16  primaries on March 3.

The approach is not unprecedented, but unusual, because momentum is built in the early contests. Of course, multi-billionaire Bloomberg is attempting to grasp his own momentum — pumping big bucks into the Super Tuesday states, which includes much of the Deep South and California.

Meanwhile, that momentum is being seized largely by former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

But they, particularly Buttigieg, may face some stumbling blocks in a couple of weeks. In order to win in the South, a candidate needs a sizeable percentage of the African-American vote. Buttigieg has drawn criticism for his handling of issues relating to African-Americans, particularly relating to disproportionate jail sentences for drug offenders.

The candidate whom I felt had a chance to prevail on Super Tuesday, Sen. Kamala Harris, African-American from California, is no longer in the race. She admitted she liked to smoke marijuana — and, yes, she inhaled — yet prosecuted persons for marijuana possession in California.

With Harris and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker out of the race, I really do not know of any black politician strong enough to win Super Tuesday. The natural heir to that vote is Joe Biden, who was vice president under the country’s only African-American president Barack Obama.

The early test vote for that black strength will be South Carolina on Feb. 29.

Surprisingly, Tom Steyer, the other billionaire in the race, is said to be making a strong surge in South Carolina, spending big bucks on advertising there and hiring a formidable staff. Blacks are expected to account for more than half the vote in South Carolina.

The winner in the Palmetto State will have the momentum going into the March 3 Super Tuesday sweepstakes.

People wonder why the votes in the Democratic primary matter, since President Trump is expected to win in the Deep South in November by a huge margin.

Well, to get to November’s general election, someone must win the Democratic nomination. That requires claiming almost 2,000 delegates, a good percentage (about 40 percent) of which are up for grabs on Super Tuesday. And none of the primaries is winner take all, so the candidates who get 15 percent of the vote in a congressional district will win delegates.

Of course Trump faces little or no opposition in the Republican presidential primary here.

 

Retired Auburn Attorney Don Eddins is publisher of The Auburn Villager newspaper and the online publication, auburnvillager.com. Before going into law, he was state Capitol reporter for The Huntsville Times and state editor for The Columbus Ledger. In college, he was sports editor of The Auburn Plainsman. Email him your comments about the newspaper to doneddins@auburnlaw.us. 

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