Super Tuesday Winners & Losers
The biggest day of the 2016 primary is now in the books. Millions of Republicans and Democrats across the country went to the polls to register their choice for the nominee of their respective parties. Here’s a quick look at Super Tuesday’s big winners and losers:
Donald Trump & Hillary Clinton: It was expected, but it was still impressive. The Trump and Clinton tsunamis crashed ashore as predicted, with both candidates winning substantial victories across the South. Clinton is now a shoo-in to be her party’s nominee – barring some catastrophic event. Trump, too, is now the odds-on favorite for the GOP nomination. His dominant performance on Tuesday night – winning big in states as diverse as Alabama and Massachusetts – only adds to his momentum heading into the winner-take-all phase of the contest, which begins in two weeks.
Ted Cruz: He delivered a victory in his must-win home state of Texas and added an upset victory in neighboring Oklahoma, where pre-election polls had him trailing Trump by double digits. In the early hours of Wednesday morning he also added Alaska to his win total. Cruz exited Tuesday night with a second-place finish in delegates and number of states won, bolstering his case that he’s the only candidate in the field who can defeat Trump.
African-Americans: Bernie Sanders won four states tonight (Oklahoma, Colorado, Minnesota, and Vermont) and narrowly missed winning Massachusetts. Normally, that would be a solid showing on Super Tuesday. But the absolute primacy of Clinton across the South, driven by huge support among African-Americans, nullified much of Sanders’ accomplishments. Despite a couple of highly publicized run-ins with BlackLivesMatter protesters confronting Clinton with uncomfortable questions, African-Americans are flexing their collective muscle for her and providing her with a decisive edge for the nomination.
Marco Rubio: What started as a promising night with strong early returns in Virginia quickly turned into a bad dream for Florida’s freshman senator. His near miss in Virginia – losing by 30,000 votes, probably because John Kasich siphoned off 96,000 votes while finishing fourth – was followed by a string of third-place finishes. Most disappointing among them was Rubio’s failure to reach the 20 percent threshold in Texas, leaving him empty-handed in the most delegate-rich state on Tuesday’s map. Rubio’s night was salvaged with a victory in the Minnesota caucuses, sparing him the indignity of going winless in the first 15 contests of the primary. Regardless, his date with destiny remains March 15 in his home state.
The GOP Establishment: After having mostly moved out of the denial phase after Trump’s big victory in South Carolina a couple of weeks ago, members of the establishment went into full panic mode in the run-up to Super Tuesday. All-out assaults by Rubio, Cruz, various super PACs, and the conservative media (aided by Trump’s gaffe over David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan) did nothing to dent his juggernaut. Expect the pattern to repeat itself in the coming days: more frantic efforts mounted by the establishment to stop Trump. The schism in the Republican Party that has been building for the last few years is now a gaping wound, and probably won’t be healed by the time the convention rolls around in July.
Ben Carson: To be a loser, you actually have to play the game, and it’s not at all clear that’s what Carson is doing. Despite his poor showing on Tuesday, and despite not having any legitimate path to the nomination, it’s unclear that Carson will exit the race this week. Or ever.