Realities of the Race

March 16 was a lonely moment of clarity in the wild, wild, 2016 Presidential primaries. Campaigns were strengthened, preserved, and in one case utterly obliterated. A look at the results:

WINNERS

  • Hillary Clinton won big, erasing the sting of Sanders’ Michigan upset. Winning in five different states, including confident victories in the supposedly Bernie-Friendly Midwest, she dispelled the notion she could lose the nomination. Her voter coalition of older liberals and minorities carried the day with wins across the nation, earning her a hefty sum of delegates along the way. Clinton will be the Democratic Nominee, math and common sense say she’s basically already won.
  • The Donald keeps on winning. With a blowout win over the hapless Marco Rubio in Florida, he wrapped up 99 delegates on a night that was supposed to be Trump’s downfall. In three other states, Midwestern Illinois and Missouri along with North Carolina, Trump eked out tough wins against Ted Cruz. While his close competitions with Cruz and losing Ohio to Kasich show the cracks in his limited appeal, he still came out on top with the lion’s share of delegates. His anti-establishment message is coming through to the American people; the Republican nomination is his to lose.

SURVIVORS

  • Rough night for Ted Cruz, who came within .2% of beating Trump in Missouri, along with close finishes in North Carolina and Illinois. While his supporters will cite this as an ability to battle Trump in the voting ballot, a more cynical view says no. Cruz is likely limited by his appeal as a hardline conservative, as the shadowy Anti-Trump forces still refuse to officially support him. The results of Tuesday tell me Cruz can keep up with Trump, not beat him head to head.
  • John Kasich carries on. With a confident, double digit, win in his home state of Ohio, he made a strong case to stick around until the Republican National Convention. While he hasn’t shown the ability to win outside of Ohio, Kasich has the moderate reputation and positive attitude necessary to keep his hopes alive. His success will hinge on his ability to be more aggressive and take the fight to his opponents, along winning more than one state.

FIND A STONEMASON WHO KNEW THEIR LIKENESS WELL

  • Liberal voters are all Berned out. Bernie Sanders took heavy losses in winner-take-all Florida and Ohio, and was swept across his main column, the Midwest. Despite his presence as a social reformer and protest candidate, he simply does not have the broad voter diversity necessary to win a presidential election. He has enough fire in both his rhetoric and active young voters to carry on until the Convention, but the delegate numbers say it’s a lost cause. A bold attempt for sure, but his chances to win the Nomination are essentially zero.
  • Poor Marco. An optimistic candidate groomed by the GOP to redefine Republican candidates (young, Latino, firm yet flexible), voters never got over his ties with Jeb Bush and the GOP. Rubio simply could not appeal to a real coalition of voters, receiving fragmented support from all ends of the conservative spectrum. This year is the year that conservative voters overthrow the establishment completely, not embrace it in a new form. An embarrassing loss at home in Florida to Donald Trump was the final nail in the coffin. I wish him the best of luck, and hope to see him in the future.

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Originally published at midwestpoliticalreport.wordpress.com on March 16, 2016.

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