It’s that time of year for the annual NCAA college basketball tournament replete with bracket picks, Sweet 16, Final Four, and the National Championship. Replace the word “sports” with “politics” and March Madness best describes the 2016 U.S. presidential election cycle and what to expect regarding primaries, caucuses, and debates. Photo attributions: Getty Images and Fox Broadcasting
March 1: a/k/a Super Tuesday because more states vote and more delegates are at stake than any other single day in the presidential primary campaign. In alphabetical order: Alabama primary, Alaska caucus (GOP), American Samoa caucus (Dem), Arkansas primary, Colorado caucuses, Georgia primary, Massachusetts primary, Minnesota caucuses, Oklahoma primary, Tennessee primary, Texas primary, Vermont primary, Virginia primary, and Wyoming caucus (GOP).
March 2: Based on Super Tuesday’s election results, there will be lots of grinding and gnashing of teeth by candidates and their contributors. Stay in the race or fold?
March 3: Republican debate in Detroit, Michigan.
March 5: And another round of voting including the Kansas caucuses, Kentucky caucus (GOP), Louisiana primary, Maine caucus (GOP), Nebraska caucus (Dem).
March 6: Democratic debate in Flint, Michigan; Maine caucus (Dem) and Puerto Rico primary (GOP).
March 8: Hawaii caucus (GOP), Idaho primary (GOP), Michigan primary, Mississippi primary
March 9: Democratic debate in Miami, Florida.
March 10: Republican debate in Miami, Florida, U.S. Virgin Islands caucus (GOP).
March 11-20: SXSW (South by Southwest) in Austin, Texas kicks off for nine (9) days of film, interactive media, and music. And because it’s not gonna be crowded enough, U.S. President Obama is scheduled to attend a DNC fundraiser in Austin the first day of the festival with a musical performance by J. Cole. Be assured, every Airbnb in the area is sold out.
March 12: District of Columbia convention (GOP), Guam convention (GOP), Northern Mariana Island caucus (Dem).
March 15: Candidates lacking delegates should heed the ancient warning, “beware the Ides of March” as this is the last day of primaries/caucuses for the rest of the month. Meaning? Whoever is running short on numbers and money won’t be in race for much longer. Voting continues in the Florida primary, Illinois primary, Missouri primary, North Carolina primary, Northern Mariana Island caucus (GOP), and Ohio primary.
March 17: St. Patrick’s Day.
March 20: First day of Spring. (Spring Equinox).
March 21-22: U.S. President Obama and the First Lady say “hola” to the newly reinstated U.S. Embassy in Havana, the first visit by a sitting president since 1928. Coincidently, the GOP debate takes place in Salt Lake City, Utah and expect candidates to say “no bueno” to Obama’s visit to the Caribbean country.
March 22: American Samoa convention (GOP), Arizona primary, Idaho caucus (Dem), Utah caucuses
March 25: The Rolling Stones perform for the first time in Havana, Cuba — as per Reuters, a milestone event in a country where the communist government once banned the group’s music as an “ideological deviation.”
March 26: Alaska caucus (Dem), Hawaii caucus (Dem), Washington caucus (Dem).