By Ianiz Patchedjiev
The results of several primaries held since Super Tuesday have showed that the race for the party nominations is far from over. Notably, Cruz and Sanders did especially well in battling for delegates in these states, showing voters that Clinton and Trump aren’t the inevitable candidates they claim to be.
In the two weeks since Super Tuesday, eight Republican Primaries have occurred. Of those, Ted Cruz has won a surprising three, furthering his lead over Marco Rubio and cementing his claim as the GOP alternative to Trump. Trump, who has just endured a barrage of rejection and criticism from the GOP establishment, is doing his best to reverse this trend by attempting to temper himself and present a more likable image to the public. This was evident during the last GOP debate where Trump was noticeably quieter and more composed, even after numerous calls for specifics to his plans by his opponents. Notably, former candidate Ben Carson endorsed Trump and asserted that he really is a reasonable person, saying that “”Some people have gotten the impression that Donald Trump is this person who is not malleable, who does not have the ability to listen, and to take information in and make wise decisions. And that’s not true…He’s much more cerebral than that.” Ted Cruz, who now stands as Trump’s largest opponent, received his own endorsement from a former candidate, Carly Fiorina. Cruz now has 360 delegates, only 99 behind Trump’s 460, and seeks to diminish that margin of difference.
Meanwhile, the Clinton Campaign expressed its disappointment when Bernie Sanders won the Michigan Primary last week even after state polls projected a serious loss for the Senator. To Clinton, Michigan was supposed to be the final blow against the Sanders insurgency; it was supposed to show voters that she was competitive all across the country and that Sanders was nothing more than a regional fad. Instead, Sander’s upset victory signaled that the race was far from over and that his message was appealing to more than just Northeastern Progressives. Of the six Democrat Primaries held since Super Tuesday, Sanders has won a surprising four (Maine, Michigan, Kansas, and Nebraska) while Clinton was only able to claim victories in the Southern states of Louisiana and Mississippi. To Clinton, this represents a major problem; her lead in delegates comes from mostly Southern States, not the Midwestern or Northern states where Sanders has proven to be an adept competitor. The issue is, most future primaries won’t be in the South, meaning that Sanders has an opportunity to catch up to Clinton in terms of delegates. Whether or not she’ll be able to maintain her lead has yet to be seen.
Super Tuesday 3.0
The March 15 presidential primaries (dubbed “Super Tuesday Three” by many) added hundreds of delegates to Hillary Clinton’s and Donald Trump’s expanding stockpile and triggered more calls for their opponents to drop out of the race.
To Donald Trump, March 15 was supposed to be the day that John Kasich and Marco Rubio dropped out of the race for the Republican Nomination. His plan was to win Ohio and Florida, the respective home states of his two opponents, in order to embarrass them and force them to drop out. However, the GOP establishment pulled every string it had in order for Kasich to win the winner-take-all primary in Ohio and keep it out of the hands of Trump. This strategy notably included campaigning by Mitt Romney and a plea by Rubio for his supporters to promote Kasich in Ohio. However, Trump did get one of his wishes; he won every other primary, including Florida, forcing Rubio to drop out of the race. With only Cruz and Kasich in Trump’s way, many are pointing to a contested convention in Ohio as the only strategy for ending Trump’s candidacy. Here, as long as Trump fails to reach the 1,237 delegates needed to win the nomination, delegates will be able to support another candidate in a series of voting rounds by the party leaders. However, Trump himself warned of violence should the GOP snatch the nomination from him. Trump, no stranger to violence, was forced to postpone a rally in Chicago on March 11 due to clashes between supporters and protesters. Remarkably, Trump blamed the violence on Bernie Sanders, and said that the protesters were supporters of his campaign.
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton won every primary on March 15, signaling that her campaign was far more powerful than Sanders’. Many expected Sanders to contest the Missouri primary where Clinton won with 0.2% of the vote but Sanders respectfully declined to. Yet, despite new calls for Sanders to drop out of the race, he has promised to push on so that the other half of the country has an opportunity to vote for him. He explains during an MSNBC interview, “The bottom line is that when only half of the American people have participated in the political process … I think it is absurd for anybody to suggest that those people not have a right to cast a vote”. Nevertheless, the New York Times has reported that President Obama has secretly told private donors that Sanders will soon resign from the race and that the time will come for Democrats to unite under Hillary Clinton in order to stop Trump.