TODAY WAS to have been a very special political day. June 3 was to have been Super Bowl Tuesday -- the day on which nine states hold their presidential primaries.
Even though the Democrats are persisting in some uninspired name-calling (we do not believe that Sen. Kennedy really believes that President Carter is former governor Reagan's clone), the races are over for the two parties' presidential nominations.In fact, President Carter needs only a couple of dozen of the 696 delegates who are available in today's Democratic primaries to put him over the 1,666 required for nomination.
Mr. Carter is a very solid bet to win those needed delegates even if Sen. Kennedy were to sweep California, Ohio, New Jersey, New Mexico, Montana, South Dakota, Rhode Island and West Virginia. Because of the outlawing of winner-take-all primaries by the Democrats, the loser who wins over 25 percent of any state's popular vote wins a corresponding percentage of the state's convention delegates. So Mr. Carter will easily go over the Magic Number, even if Mr. Kennedy achieves his "psychological" victory by triumphing in more states by more votes, or by winning more delegates, or by whatever previously ignored category of counting -- other than total convention delegates -- the Kennedy strategists can come up with.
The Republicans, with their race formally over, are holding primaries in all the listed states and in Mississippi as well. It has to be some sort of political sign of the times that the Republicans are holding a presidential primary in Mississippi and the Democrats are not.
California, with 306 Democratic delegates, along with Ohio's 161 and New Jersey's 113 are big prizes that could have made a difference in a close race. One must feel some sympathy for the secondary states of South Dakota, Rhode Island, New Mexico, Montana and West Virginia, which, among them, rated only 116 convention delegates and very little attention from the candidates or their campaigns.
Not unlike the Super Bowls themselves, Super Bowl Tuesday turned out to be a disappointment. Who can truthfully recall an interesting Super Bowl, let alone an interesting New Mexico primary? But at least after Super Bowl Tuesday, there will be no more primaries in 1980 -- for that there should be bipartisan rejoicing.