Lookahead: Republican primaries 2012

The when, where and who of the Republican primary elections.

The Republican primary race has kicked off in earnest. The Iowa caucus (see here for an explanation of caucuses/primaries) marked the beginning of a flood of votes as Republican voters choose a candidate. In a race that has so-far been defined by the prevalence of the unforeseen, it is impossible to know what the next few months will hold. If you're confused by the baffling array of votes taking place, here is a guide to when they're happening, what they mean, and who we can expect to do well

Schedule

Broadly, the primaries will follow this schedule:

1 February - 5 March: Contests of traditional early states Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina
6 March - 31 March: Contests that proportionally allocate delegates
1 April and onward: All other contests including winner-take-all elections

See below for a list of all primaries and caucuses that have been announced.

Who is running?

Michele Bachmann: US Representative from Minnesota's 6th Congressional District

Herman Cain: Businessman and radio-host from Georgia (campaign suspended on 3 December, following a series of sexual harrassment allegations)

Newt Gingrich: Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives from Georgia

Jon Huntsman: Former Governor of Utah and US Ambassador to China

Gary Johnson: Former Governor of New Mexico

Ron Paul: US Representative from Texas's 14th congressional district

Rick Perry: Governor of Texas

Mitt Romney: Former Governor of Massachusetts

Rick Santorum: Former Senator for Pennsylvania

Iowa

All eyes are on this state, which provides the first indication of which way voters will go. While success in Iowa does not necessarily translate into ultimate victory, it is a reasonable indication of whether a candidate's message is getting through, and can have far-reaching implications for the rest of the race. In the past, some candidates have dropped out altogether after a poor showing in Iowa.

UPDATE 4 JANUARY: Mitt Romney has won in Iowa, beating Rick Santorum by just eight votes.

Virginia

Another state that has drawn attention is Virginia -- because several candidates have failed to qualify to appear on the 6 March ballot after failing to provide the required 10,000 verified signatures. It is a particular blow for Gingrich -- whose campaign said that the state's electoral system is "failed" -- as he was leading the polls in the state. Four other candidates have also been excluded, with only Romney and Paul qualifying.

Polls

Almost all of the Republican candidates have had their time in the frontrunner spot at one point or another during this race. After a brief period on top, Gingrich is slipping behind once again, leaving the top spot open for Romney. However, the numbers are far from those traditionally enjoyed by the favourite. A poll by Rasmussen Reports last week gave Romney 25 per cent, followed by Paul on 20 per cent and Gingrich on 17, with the other candidates trailing behind with 10 per cent or less. Another poll, by Iowa State University, placed Paul on 27 per cent, Gingrich on 25, and Romney on just 17.

Timetable

3 January: Iowa (caucus)
10 January: New Hampshire (primary)
21 January: South Carolina (primary)
31 January: Florida (primary)
4 February: Nevada (caucus)
4-11 February: Maine (caucus)
7 February: Colorado (caucus), Minnesota (caucus)
28 February: Arizona (primary), Michigan (primary)
3 March: Washington (caucus)
6 March: Alaska (caucus), Georgia (primary), Idaho (caucus), Massachusetts (primary), North Dakota (caucus), Ohio (primary), Oklahoma (primary), Tennessee (primary), Vermont (primary), Virginia (primary)
6-10 March: Wyoming (caucus)
10 March: Kansas (caucus), U.S. Virgin Islands (caucus)
13 March: Alabama (primary), American Samoa (caucus), Hawaii (caucus), Mississippi (primary)
17 March: Missouri (caucus)
18 March: Puerto Rico (caucus)
20 March: Illinois (primary)
24 March: Louisiana (primary)
3 April: Maryland (primary), Texas (primary), Washington DC (primary), Wisconsin (primary)
24 April: Connecticut (primary), Delaware (primary), New York (primary), Pennsylvania (primary), Rhode Island (primary)
8 May: Indiana (primary), North Carolina (primary), West Virginia (primary)
15 May: Nebraska (primary), Oregon (primary)
22 May: Arkansas (primary), Kentucky (primary)
5 June: California (primary), Montana (primary), New Jersey (primary), New Mexico (primary), South Dakota (primary)
26 June: Utah (primary)
To be announced: Guam (caucus), Northern Mariana Islands (caucus)

Samira Shackle is a freelance journalist, who tweets @samirashackle. She was formerly a staff writer for the New Statesman.

Photo: Getty
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Donald Trump's inauguration signals the start of a new and more unstable era

A century in which the world's hegemonic power was a rational actor is about to give way to a more terrifying reality. 

For close to a century, the United States of America has been the world’s paramount superpower, one motivated by, for good and for bad, a rational and predictable series of motivations around its interests and a commitment to a rules-based global order, albeit one caveated by an awareness of the limits of enforcing that against other world powers.

We are now entering a period in which the world’s paramount superpower is neither led by a rational or predictable actor, has no commitment to a rules-based order, and to an extent it has any guiding principle, they are those set forward in Donald Trump’s inaugural: “we will follow two simple rules: hire American and buy American”, “from this day forth, it’s going to be America first, only America first”.

That means that the jousting between Trump and China will only intensify now that he is in office.  The possibility not only of a trade war, but of a hot war, between the two should not be ruled out.

We also have another signal – if it were needed – that he intends to turn a blind eye to the actions of autocrats around the world.

What does that mean for Brexit? It confirms that those who greeted the news that an US-UK trade deal is a “priority” for the incoming administration, including Theresa May, who described Britain as “front of the queue” for a deal with Trump’s America, should prepare themselves for disappointment.

For Europe in general, it confirms what should already been apparent: the nations of Europe are going to have be much, much more self-reliant in terms of their own security. That increases Britain’s leverage as far as the Brexit talks are concerned, in that Britain’s outsized defence spending will allow it acquire goodwill and trade favours in exchange for its role protecting the European Union’s Eastern border.

That might allow May a better deal out of Brexit than she might have got under Hillary Clinton. But there’s a reason why Trump has increased Britain’s heft as far as security and defence are concerned: it’s because his presidency ushers in an era in which we are all much, much less secure. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to British politics.