No, the March 1 primary contests -- which take place on what is known as “Super Tuesday” -- are neither the end, nor even the climax, of the presidential nominating season.
But they are the equivalent of what the Hollywood set would call “opening wide.” We've reached the stage where this grand spectacle is no longer confined to the savvy insiders enjoying Iowa and New Hampshire's limited-run "art house" contests. It's time to go nationwide, specifically in 13 states where voters in each party will choose about one-quarter of the primary season's delegates.
It's high stakes, it’s mass marketing, and for Republicans who are now desperate to stop front-runner Donald Trump, this day is YUGE. And it's a similar proving ground for Democratic insurgent Bernie Sanders, who needs to get back in the ballgame, fast, lest Hillary Clinton sends organizers home for an early spring break.
This week, all campaigns will be under pressure to demonstrate that their candidates have the legs to run through the spring. Some may put the nomination away. Others might be looking at the end of the road. And for everyone in between, they've got to grab some wins.
On this week's "First To Last," we'll explain who needs to do what, ranked in order of Super Tuesday desperation.