On this year’s “Super Tuesday,” presidential politics kicked into hyper-drive.
With the likes of Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Minnesota, Vermont and Virginia at stake, one day can validate or destroy the campaigns of presidential hopefuls.
Tuesday was, in its purest form, an affirmation of the frontrunner status for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican candidate Donald Trump.
Trump won primaries in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia. Clinton won primaries in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
For the Republicans, close races took place in Arkansas, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Vermont and Virginia. Trump edged out Ted Cruz in Arkansas by six percent with 35 percent of the overall vote. Cruz won Oklahoma over Trump, who garnered 29 percent, and Marco Rubio, who received 26 percent. Trump won Virginia with 34 percent over Marco Rubio’s 31 percent. Marco Rubio won his first primary state in Minnesota, beating out Cruz at 28 percent and Trump at 21 percent. Trump eked out a victory in Vermont with 32 percent of the vote. John Kasich was close behind at 30 percent.
On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders won Oklahoma 52 percent to Clinton’s 42 percent, the Colorado caucus 59 percent to 40 percent, the Minnesota caucus 59 percent to 41 percent and his home state of Vermont 86 percent to 14 percent.
Clinton owned Sanders on the black vote, a sizable block, in states like Georgia and Alabama. FiveThirtyEight polling found that blacks and Latinos accounted for no more than nine or 10 percent of the Republican electorate, more often hovering around two percent.
In Sanders’ Vermont victory speech, he remained confident in his campaign.
“By the end of the night, we are going to win many hundreds of delegates,” Sanders said. “We have come a very long way in ten months. At the end of tonight, 15 states will have voted, 35 states remain, and let me assure you, we are going to take our fight for economic justice…to every one of those states.”
With Clinton claiming victory in numerous states, her speech focused on pitting herself against Trump.
“I believe what we need in America today is more love and kindness,” Clinton said.
Trump’s victory speech focused on his dominance, recognizing the fact he hasn’t slipped below second place in primary or caucus results.
“I came in no worse than second, so it wasn’t like I won then just disappeared,” Trump said.
Marco Rubio addressed a Florida audience, although he hadn’t won any states at the time. He took the opportunity to disparage Trump and to maintain his steady second and third place finishes.
“Five days ago, we began to explain to the American people that Donald Trump is a con artist,” Rubio said.
Ted Cruz attempted to denigrate Rubio’s campaign in his Texas victory speech, saying that “as long as the field remains divided,” Donald Trump is more likely to be the nominee, “and that would be disastrous,” for the United States and the Republican party. Cruz also quoted former Democratic presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy during his remarks.
“We are the only campaign that has beat Donald Trump once, twice, three times,” Cruz added.
Certain states afford delegates to candidates based on percentage point threshold. For example, in Texas, a candidate must poll, at the very least, 20 percent to gain delegates. The Atlantic explained the dilemma Rubio faces.
“Trump hit Rubio for not winning any states tonight, but Rubio is also dangerously close to falling below the 20 percent viability thresholds in a number of races. He's at 17 percent in Alabama, 18 percent in Massachusetts, 19 percent in Texas, and 19 percent in Vermont. Even in Georgia and Tennessee, he's hovering just slightly above the threshold, at 22 and 20 percent respectively. There are a lot of votes still to be counted tonight, but it's going to be a nail biter for the Rubio campaign as the race pivots into a delegate slugfest.”
The primaries and caucuses on “Super Tuesday” did confirm consensus candidates, but also promised the rest of the race, in both parties, to be competitive.
Sten Spinella is a senior staff writer for The Daily Campus and can be reached via email at email@example.com.