Five key states (Ohio, Florida, Illinois, North Carolina and Missouri), hit the polls on Tuesday. Pres. Obama made a significant Supreme Court announcement. We have all the information you need to make sense of this week in politics.
Who Had the Best Night?
Clinton swept the polls in Ohio, Florida, Illinois and North Carolina, but held such a narrow lead over Sanders that his campaign is assessing the option of a recount. Under Missouri law, candidates lagging by 0.5 percent or less are granted the right to a recount.
Clinton congratulated Sanders on his “vigorous campaign,” then promptly turned her attention to Trump and criticized major aspects of his platform, such as his stance on immigration. “We should be breaking barriers, not building walls” said Clinton.
Who Needs a Drink?
Rubio ended his presidential campaign Tuesday evening in Miami – what Yahoo News calls “devastating” and the Daily Caller reports as “humiliating.”
As a Senator of Florida, Rubio’s loss of his home state is rather embarrassing – perhaps even more so because Trump won instead. However, Rubio seems to have learned his lesson from attempting to follow Trump’s trash-talking campaign style.
Instead, he ended on a hopeful note, asking the American people to “not give in to the frustration. America needs a vibrant conservative movement, but one that’s built on principles and ideas, not on fear, not on anger, not on preying on people’s frustrations.”
He finalized his decision by stating “It is not God’s plan that I be President in 2016, or maybe ever.”
And That Leaves…
Good ol’ Donald Trump. Unlike Rubio, Trump strengthened his hand in the GOP race with his win in Florida on Tuesday night.
According to the Associated Press, Trump has won 47 percent of the 1,237 delegates required to claim the Republican nomination, and he could very well reach his goal of winning the remaining 54 percent by June 7 – the official end of the primary season – by sweeping the rest of the winner-take-all states.
Although Trump did well in Illinois, North Carolina and Missouri, these states are not winner-take-all. The sharing of delegates among the candidates continues to prolong the uncertainty in the GOP race for the nomination.
But that doesn’t faze him; Trump announced Tuesday evening that his “message is very simple. We are going to make America great again. And if I don’t make it, then I will go off into the wild blue yonder and I will enjoy the rest of my life.”
On to Ted Cruz, whose campaign trail looks a bit more complicated. The Texas Senator stated that he can still win the Republican nomination by the time primaries are over in early June.
And he can…if all the other presidential candidates drop out. There are too few winner-take-all primaries left for Cruz to stockpile enough delegates. He still needs 79 percent of the remaining delegates to secure a nomination – so far he has only 29 percent. In light of Trump’s smorgasbord of delegates, Cruz’s goals do not seem mathematically possible.
Speaking of Math…
Ohio Governor John Kasich needs to do some.
His overall poor performance in other states overshadows the small victory of winning all 66 delegates of his home state. Although he swept Ohio easily and prevented Trump from gaining those critical delegates, it is nigh impossible for him to reach the GOP’s required 1,237 delegates, seeing as he has 1,094 to go.
What Happened to Bernie?
No, I didn’t forget Sanders.
The Vermont Senator had a less than triumphant night Tuesday – he and his supporters experienced a shocking reality check after Clinton won all five states.
Sander’s campaign team knew the results of the March 15 primary would be crucial in determining whether or not he would be able to overcome the current status as the underdog. Although he won Michigan on March 8, Clinton’s sweeping victories on Tuesday put a serious damper on Sanders’ momentum and determined a seemingly unbeatable lead.
The next primaries will be held in Arizona, Idaho and Utah on March 22, and in Alaska, Hawaii and Washington on March 26. Arizona is the next winner-take-all state with 58 delegates waiting to be dealt out. Trump leads the GOP count at 673 delegates, Cruz at 411 and Kasich at 143. Rubio exit with 169 delegates.
Cruz and Kasich are fighting to keep Trump from reaching the required 1,237 delegates. If they’re successful, the GOP convention could be contested, meaning that no single candidate has secured a majority of delegates.
As for the Democrats, Clinton trumps (ha) Sanders with 1,606 delegates to his 851.
In Other News…
President Obama nominated Merrick B. Garland to be the 113th Supreme Court Justice of the United States. If confirmed, Garland would suceed Antonin Scalia, the Supreme Court justice who died Feb. 13 at the age of 79. Garland, a 63-year-old from the Chicago area, is a well-known figure in Washington who has received praise from members of the Republican and Democratic parties. Despite his favorable centrist reputation, Garland’s nomination process will be a long, messy partisan conflict.
This week in politics saw Clinton and Trump triumph at the Ohio, Florida, Illinois, North Carolina and Missouri primaries, while Sanders and Kasich had a mediocre performance at best. Rubio had the worst week – he ended his presidential campaign after Trump beat him in his own state. President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to replace Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court.