What could Super Tuesday hold in store for Democrats and Republicans?

On Tuesday millions of Americans across 12 states will go to the polls on the largest single day of voting during the US election process, hence its unofficial title "Super Tuesday".

Often seen as a critical junction in the process, the results on offer can help winnow any remaining candidates lacking a clear path to the nomination.

It can also provide a healthy cushion to the front-runner, allowing them to pull clear of the field and providing a base on which to build and cement a nomination in the remaining primaries and caucuses ahead of the party conventions in July.

  • Hillary looks to build lead in Democrat contest

On the Democratic side of the race the day's traditional function might be realised. With the Southern States (Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, Virginia, Georgia) providing half the results Hillary Clinton looks set to capitalize on recent victories in Nevada and South Carolina and build her lead over her insurgent rival Bernie Sanders.

Hillary Clinton already has a big lead over Bernie Sanders. Credit: PA/Reuters

Whilst it won't provide the knockout blow (there aren't enough delegates on offer on the Democratic side of the race to take any candidate to the number of votes needed for victory) it should cement Senator Clinton's position as nominee favorite.

Having been rattled in Iowa and shocked in New Hampshire by a Sanders campaign which exposed huge gaps in her popularity among young voters (which still remain) this will allow the Clinton campaign to breathe easier and begin to focus some of attention for a potentially incendiary fight for the White House whoever her opponent is.

  • Republican Party faces its worst nightmare

How the Republican Party must wish they could be in that position.

Yes, Super Tuesday could deliver them a candidate with a huge delegate lead, the only problem is that candidate is the Party's worst nightmare...Donald J Trump.

Trump already has a healthy lead after resounding victories in three of the first four early voting states. He is ahead in the polls in most of the Super Tuesday States and if his level of support from places like South Carolina and Nevada is reflected here then he will emerge with a dominant lead.

Donald Trump has won three out of four Republican contests. Credit: Reuters

In any other year that might see a crowded Republican field being whittled down to two candidates, pitting Trump against another contender who believes they still have a path to the nomination.

It's a sign of the chaotic nature of this Republican race that there'll likely be three candidates who can claim that mantle.

Firebrand Conservative Ted Cruz, an early winner in Iowa, will likely win his home State of Texas on Tuesday and believe that gives him the platform as the only viable candidate to go head-to-head with Trump.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio, for many the natural establishment choice to unite the Party behind him, is likely not to win any states on Tuesday. His game plan at the moment seems to rest on limping along, picking up a few delegates here and there until the massive winner-takes-all primary in Florida on March 15. He and his campaign still believe if he can take that it gives him a platform to challenge Trump and see off the remaining contenders.

Ohio Governor John Kasich has a similar strategy. He believes if he can win his home state on March 15 (and Rubio loses Florida to Trump) then he's effectively the last man standing up to Trump.

The Republican field could still be crowded after Super Tuesday. Credit: PA
  • Will Republicans have to resort to 'nuclear option'?

Any which way, the Republican race could drag on for weeks and possibly even months.

Whoever's left to square off against Trump will be battered, bruised and unlikely to beat him in any conventional manner. Instead the best bet for would be to play for a "brokered convention" at the Republican National Convention in July.

If there is no outright winner as deemed by the Party's rules this means a complicated process of horse-trading and backroom deals in order to redistribute votes as candidates drop out.

There's a good reason this hasn't happened for either party for over 60 years: it's a nuclear option for a unique set of circumstances....welcome to the Republican class of 2016.

  • A clearer picture...but not decisive

This campaign has galvanized the US electorate unlike any in recent times with record numbers going to the polls.

Voter registration and "absentee" votes are already up across many of the states with places like Georgia and Tennessee predicting huge increases in numbers, beyond even 2008 when the Clinton-Obama race caught the mood of the nation.

The stakes are high, tomorrow's voting may not decide anything but unlike any other day in the primary calendar it has the ability to paint a clearer picture of the race ahead.