By Kate McIntosh
On 1st March eleven US states announced the results of their primaries, the vote to decide which Republican and Democrat candidates get delegates at the national conventions. Much of what we predicted about Super Tuesday 2016 came to be so, with especially strong performances from Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Meanwhile, Ted Cruz managed to take three states and Marco Rubio one; both have been left behind by Trump in the contest for the Republican nomination. In the Democrat camp, Vermont’s Bernie Sanders had some success, with wins in Colorado and Minnesota. The Sanders campaign remain convinced that victory in California and New York could win them enough delegates to challenge Clinton.
Donald Trump’s perplexing monopoly on Republican voters was cemented with big wins across seven of the eleven ‘Super Tuesday’ states. His opposition remains divided despite calls from the next most likely winner, Ted Cruz, for them to abandon their own campaigns and join his to prevent a Trump victory. Marco Rubio, who took only Minnesota, is arguing that he can challenge Trump in states that send delegates proportional to each candidate’s share of the vote – he insists that Trump won’t cross the threshold for nomination. Elsewhere, the Republican establishment are now preparing to mount an attack on Trump, with some news outlets even reporting that a third Presidential candidate will be proposed by a breakaway Republican group. Despite a very confident press conference on the night of 1st March, in which we saw a glimpse of would-be President Trump, there is still an outside chance that he will be eliminated come the national convention. If the party unite behind Cruz, who has now proved that he can defeat Trump, it’s possible that the billionaire’s presidential aspirations will be over quicker than thought.
Hilary Clinton’s path to the Democratic nomination is a little clearer after Super Tuesday, after steep victories in seven states. She won the Southern states where she was predicted to do well, and also gained support from Massachusetts and Virginia. As of 2nd March she is almost 200 delegates closer to the 2,383 needed to win than Sanders. But in Vermont Clinton gained only 14% of the vote; Sanders’ is a Vermont Senator, hence the huge support for him here. The question now is whether Sanders can replicate the success in Vermont in other primaries, which is not an impossibility. The Sanders campaign has been quick to remind us that a majority of states are yet to vote, and there are plenty of delegates left to be won.
The next important date on the Presidential election calendar is 15th March, when another five states announce their results – expect more success for Clinton and Trump. After this, the remaining states will continue to hold primaries and caucuses until July, when the delegates will be sent to party national conventions to formally nominate their Presidential hopefuls. If the Republican field remains divided, and Sanders’ predicted wins in California and New York don’t come to fruition, it looks as if it will be Trump vs Clinton for the White House.
Photograph: DonkeyHotey via Flickr