Super Tuesday has come and gone. Trump and Clinton dominated the South, with the billionaire magnate on track to become the Republican nominee, while Clinton struggled in the Midwest and Western parts of the country; Sanders won Colorado, Oklahoma, and Minnesota (of course, he won Vermont). Please read Guy’s detailed analysis posted earlier this morning, where he explains that while Trump had a good night, he failed to win the majority for the delegates up for grabs. He also gives the rundown for Rubio, Cruz, the Democrats, and where the races go from here. For the GOP, spoiler alert: there will be blood in Cleveland.
Winning Winning Winning–As expected, Mr. Trump swept through most of the South. In Texas, Sen. Ted Cruz halted Trumpmentum in a much-needed win for the conservative firebrand. Trump also lost Oklahoma and Alaska to Cruz. Yet, Trump’s northern incursion yielded some dividends, clinching the Vermont and Massachusetts contests. According to FiveThirtyEight, the billionaire magnate is well on track to clinch the nomination. As stated before, Cruz’s bastion of support–Evangelicals and very conservative voters–begin to peter out; Rubio needs to do well on March 15–when the contest become winner-take-all–to catch up to Trump’s delegate count. The problem is that Trump is polling well in most of those contests as well. About 20 percent of Republican voters have already made up their minds, with a lot of party members feeling betrayed by the GOP. This bodes well for an outsider candidate, like Trump, who expertly rode that wave of anger last night. Yet, Sean Davis of the Federalist noted that while folks are talking about the critical series of March 15 primaries (367 delegates), there are 347 delegates at play between now and then.
It Ain’t Over Til’ It’s Over–Guy touched upon this regarding the Democrats. Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) may say he’s going all the way until the convention, but it’s going to take something within the realm of the paranormal to shift this nomination fight away from Clinton, according to Harry Enten of FiveThirtyEight. Clinton’s firewall with black Democrats looked very strong with the Nevada and South Carolina contests, but it was confirmed explicitly last night: they’re not breaking for Sanders. They’re not even considering jumping ship for Sanders, though a lot of them like what he has to say–they’re just starting to get to know the disheveled Democratic socialist.
The Clinton Coalition–Concerning black voters, Clinton won 80 percent of them in Georgia; 90 percent in Alabama; 80 percent in Tennessee; 90 percent in Arkansas; and won 80 percent in Texas. In some of these states, like Georgia and Alabama, blacks make up almost half of the Democratic electorate. Clinton’s problems with women voters seem to have all but evaporated. She won women voters by a two-to-one ratio in Virginia and Texas; two-thirds of them in Tennessee; and three-quarters of them in Alabama. She also dominated Sanders with Hispanics in Texas, showing that she’s quickly closing areas, where the Vermont senator can make headway in his bid to topple her for the nomination (via NYT):
More than 90 percent of Clinton's voters want a candidate with political experience, and four in 10 say experience is the quality they are looking for in a candidate. Two-thirds of her voters want to continue President Barack Obama's policies, rather than shift in a more liberal direction. And, just as with Trump, 6 in 10 of her backers made up their mind more than a month ago. Nearly two-thirds of her supporters are women, and two-thirds are 45 or older.
In Texas, where a third of voters were Hispanic, 7 in 10 of them voted for Clinton.
Clinton made inroads on Super Tuesday with young-ish (30-44) voters, nearly 6 in 10 of whom supported Clinton. Sanders, by contrast, had led among all voters under age 45 in the first three contests of the year, in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada.
Yes, Sanders won in Colorado, Oklahoma, and Minnesota, but that still plays on the narrative that his success is found in states where the electorates are less diverse; an issue that many said was going to be a problem for him as the primaries move South. By the time Sanders could find an area to stage a comeback, like the West, it could be too late–as Clinton’s lead in delegates could become insurmountable. As for problems, it’s the same old ones with the former first lady. White men aren’t too thrilled with her, and young people (and those who want an honest and trustworthy candidate) don’t seem to be enthused by the former Secretary of State. Nevertheless, Sanders faces a bruising fight if he wants to seriously beat Clinton:
When I wrote on Saturday that Clinton was on her way to winning the Democratic nomination, I projected that she would win 508 delegates on Tuesday. It will take a little while to get the exact delegate totals, but FiveThirtyEight contributor David Wasserman projects Clinton to win well over 500 delegates. That will give her a lead of around 200 pledged delegates, not counting her large lead among superdelegates.
This lead is pretty much insurmountable. Democrats award delegates proportionally, which means Sanders would need to win by big margins in the remaining states to catch up. He hasn’t seen those kinds of wins outside of his home state of Vermont and next-door New Hampshire. Consider the case of Massachusetts: My colleague Nate Silver’s model had Sanders winning the state by 11 percentage points if the race were tied nationally and by 3 points based on the FiveThirtyEight polling average last week. Instead, Sanders lost by nearly 2 percentage points.
Sanders needs a fundamental shift in the race.
Unfortunately for him, it’s already a two-person affair — not like the Republican side, where we wonder how the race might change if one of the candidates dropped out. The votes on the Democratic side so far have been fairly predictable based on demographics; it just so happens that those demographics favor Clinton.
Sanders, perhaps not surprisingly, has indicated that he’ll continue to fight for votes across the country. But for every win he may get in mostly white states, Clinton will be marching toward the nomination with likely victories in states such as Michigan and Florida. The math indicates that Clinton eventually will win the nomination with relative ease.
Stopping Trump–Well, that ship may have sailed already. The Donald is the best positioned to win the nomination, and the movement to stop the eccentric billionaire remains fractured allowing his to continue his march towards victory. As Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report wrote, #NeverTrump isn’t working. Moreover, she added that Rubio needed to place strong in a lot of states, while he performed decently in some contests, he still ended the night in third place concerning the delegate count. Not the best position to paint yourself as the person who can beat Trump. At the same time, his win in Minnesota wipes out the “he’s never won anything yet” attack from those unsupportive of his candidacy. Again, it may be too little, too late for Rubio, whose political ambitions could be over if he loses Florida on March 15. Yet, his campaign promises to take their fight all the way to the convention. Right now, anti-Trump forces are descending into Florida for what seems to be a last stand. Still, both Cruz and Rubio have no reason to drop out, as they accomplished what needed to be done for their respective campaigns.
Kasich Factor–Establishment Republicans
Carson’s Appointment with the Doctor–He’s finally seen the light. The neurosurgeon has apparently heard the voices of “We The People,” with those words being "get out." Carson said there’s no way for him to win, and he’s expected to drop out soon.
Travel Log- Via National Journal, Sanders will be in Portland, Maine; Clinton will be in New York City; Kasich and Rubio will be in Michigan; and Cruz is in Kansas.
Future Battles– On March 5, Democrats will have primary contests in Kansas, Nebraska, and Louisiana; Republicans will be duking it out in Kansas, Louisiana, and Maine.
March 6– Democrats caucus in Maine; Republicans hold their primary in Puerto Rico.