Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton emerged as the victors in the Super Tuesday primaries and caucuses showdown on 1 March. Thirteen contests in all were held across the United States, and two abroad for the Democrats only, the Pacific island territory of American Samoa and the global Democrats Abroad grouping.
With all bar one result declared, it became clear that there are two front-runners, one for each of the two political parties which dominate the race to the White House – Donald Trump for the Republicans and Hillary Clinton for the Democrats.
However neither front-runner was able to deliver a knock-out blow to their chasing rivals. Trump stretched ahead of chasers Cruz and Rubio – winning in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Vermont, and Virginia. The billionaire picked up the lion’s share of the delegates up for grabs, increasing his total to 285.
Ted Cruz, the evangelical Texas senator, performed better than expected. Cruz picked up his home state, Texas, but failed to achieve a majority, getting 44% of the vote. However, due to the crowded nature of the Republican primary contests with five names still on ballot papers, this was enough to win him a victory.
Cruz also won neighbouring Oklahoma and far-flung Alaska, which was expected to go to Trump following former governor Sarah Palin’s highly publicised endorsement. Senator Cruz picked up 144 delegates from the Super Tuesday contests, giving him 166 overall.
Florida senator Marco Rubio picked up his first state, scoring 37% in Minnesota, and going home with 71 delegates, to bring his total to 81. Rubio is seen as the most moderate of the Republican candidates and remains the favourite of his party’s elite, having quickly amassed donors when Jeb Bush withdrew from the race.
However, with only 87 delegates, almost 200 less than Trump and just over half of Cruz, the path to a Marco Rubio victory seems to be petering out and pressure to concede in favour of an ‘anyone-but-Trump’ candidate may grow. Rubio may however hang on till 15 March to stand in the primary in his home state of Florida before taking stock.
However, it may not be all plain-sailing for Trump. The billionaire blowhard was on the receiving end of attacks over his financial dealings from Rubio and Cruz during the last TV debate before Super Tuesday. Trump University, a now defunct school of real estate based in New York, is under investigation for fraud.
It is alleged that 5,000 individuals were charged as much as $35,000 each to attend talks and seminars which promised to teach them the secrets of Trump’s real estate success. The ‘students’ allege that they never received any investment advice. The lawsuit, launched by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, has been authorised to continue its way into the byzantine US civil court maze.
Donald Trump has been urged to release his tax returns, which, according to 2012 presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, could contain a “bombshell.” Ted Cruz suggested that they could show that Trump had engaged in multiple financial deals with the Mafia. Trump has neglected to release them, citing an Inland Revenue Service audit.
On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton performed solidly as projected, winning 7 states, including Texas, Georgia, Massachusetts, and Virginia, containing 594 of the 1034 delegates that were up for grabs on Super Tuesday. Sanders won his home state of Vermont, as well as Colorado, Minnesota, and Oklahoma. Clinton won the American Samoa caucus, and the global Democrats Abroad contests will be complete on 8 March.
Clinton has now secured 544 pledged delegates, and, counting superdelegates, she has 1001 out of the 2383 needed to secure the Democratic presidential nomination. The former Secretary of State chose Florida for her victory speech, and pointed it towards the national presidential election.
“That is why I believe, deeply, that if we resist the forces trying to drive us apart, we can come together to make this country work for every one. The struggling, the striving and the successful. If we all do our part we can restore our common faith in our common future. That’s the spirit powering this campaign,” said Clinton, in a speech peppered with policy positions.
Perhaps annoyingly for the Clinton camp, news from Bernie Sanders was unabashed – the Sanders bandwagon rolls on and Bernie has personally vowed that he will not withdraw from the contest and will fight every single seat right up to the last one – Washington DC in June.
The gruelling campaign moves on and there is virtually no time to catch breath – the next primaries and caucuses will be held on , 6 and 8 March and Trump and Clinton will enter those , including Louisiana, Kentucky, and Michigan, with a greatly strengthened position and path to victory.