The dust has settled on Tuesday night’s presidential primaries. While Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton maintained their respective leads, Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders proved their contender status is deserved.
Clinton won Mississippi with 83 percent of the vote and Sanders garnering 17 percent in a blowout. The true surprise of the night was Sanders’ victory in Michigan, which will be elaborated on later in this story. Sanders edged Clinton by about one percentage point, 50 percent to 49 percent.
Touting his triumph in his victory speech, Sanders spoke to a favorable schedule the rest of the primary season, with the south – disastrous for Sanders – out of the way.
"The American people are saying they are tired of a corrupt campaign, finance system and super PACs financed by Wall Street and the billionaire class," said Sanders. "They are tired of a rigged economy."
Trump won three of the four states at stake: Michigan, Mississippi and Hawaii. Cruz won convincingly in Idaho.
In Michigan, Trump wound up with a 37 percent share of the vote, Cruz and John Kasich essentially tied for second with 24 percent and Marco Rubio came in last. Trump’s win in Mississippi saw him gain 47 percent to Cruz’s 36 percent and Kasich’s eight percent. Hawaii also went to Trump, where he gathered 42 percent of the vote. Cruz came in second again with 32 percent and Rubio had 13 percent. In Idaho, Ted Cruz came in first with 45 percent to Trump’s 28 percent and Rubio’s 15 percent.
Following a successful primary day, Trump expressed a desire for establishment Republicans to coalesce behind him.
"I hope Republicans will embrace it," Trump said, referring to his campaign. "We have something going that is so good, we should grab each other and unify the party."
Rubio is having a tough go of it. After failing to come in better than third in any of the four states on Tuesday night, and not procuring one delegate from either Michigan or Mississippi, his last hope for a path to the Republican nomination is a strong showing in Florida, his home state.
Cruz kept pace with Trump, coming in second thrice and first once. Although Cruz initially seemed to be a fringe candidate, he has now went on to win states across the country, including Maine, Kansas, Iowa, Oklahoma, Texas, Alaska and Idaho.
John Kasich seems to be vying for the “moderate” Republican label over Rubio. His rather pedestrian showing on Tuesday is enough to keep him going, as he is hoping for a large enough presence to cause a fractured Republican convention.
Trump maintains a sizable delegate count lead, steadying his campaign with three wins on Tuesday.
The Democratic race will only become closer in the coming months as Clinton no longer has her southern stronghold to fall back on. Still, her sizable delegate lead affords her a comfortable cushion.
Sanders’ Michigan upset has sent shockwaves through the media. FiveThirtyEight gave Clinton a 99 percent chance of coming out the victor in Michigan. The polling and analysis outlet acknowledged this.
“…not a single poll taken over the last month had Clinton leading by less than 5 percentage points,” the site read. “In fact, many had her lead at 20 percentage points or higher. Sanders’s win in Michigan was one of the greatest upsets in modern political history.”
It remains to be seen whether this win for Sanders will propel him in future contests, or what it means necessarily. At the very least, it is proof that he is a viable candidate.
Currently, Trump has collected 458 delegates, Cruz 359 delegates, Rubio 151 delegates and Kasich 54 delegates. There are 1,237 delegates needed to win the Republican nomination.
Clinton has amassed 760 delegates, Sanders 546 delegates. This is not including “superdelegates,” which are “Democratic party leaders who are free to support any candidate…The majority of the 712 superdelegates have declared support for Mrs. Clinton, though they could switch candidates if she were to lose the lead in pledged delegates, which are awarded based on election results,” according to The New York Times.
The next truly influential primary contest is in Florida on Mar. 15.
Sten Spinella is a senior staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.