The U.S. presidential hopefuls faced their biggest test during Super Tuesday on March 1.
The results, following elections in 12 states and one territory, cemented Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton as frontrunners for their respective parties.
The billionaire real estate tycoon won primaries in Alabama, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Virginia, Arkansas and Vermont, while the former secretary of state came out on top in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, Arkansas, Texas and Massachusetts.
Kyle Kondik, political expert at University of Virginia Center for Politics, andFletcher McClellan, professor of political science at Elizabethtown College, Pennsylvaniaexplain what impact the Super Tuesday results have on the race for the White House.
Kyle Kondik, political expert at University of Virginia Center for Politics:
What have we learned from Super Tuesday?
– Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump went in to Super Tuesday favored to be their respective party nominees. Nothing that happened changed that. Both Clinton and Trump won the bulk of the states contested and they added to their lead in delegates.
Does a Clinton-Trump presidential race look even more likely?
– Probably. Clinton is a very big favorite for the Democratic nomination. Trump is leading but he’s also not a sure thing because he has so divided the Republican Party.
Who are the biggest losers?
– Bernie Sanders continues to fall further behind Hillary Clinton, and while he did win some states, losing Massachusetts — a state that’s part of his northeastern base where he needed to do well—had to have been a blow…And despite doing well in the Northeast, John Kasich finished behind Carson in several states. Marco Rubio finally won a state, but he fell short of winning delegates in Alabama, Texas, and Vermont because he didn’t win a high enough share of the vote.
Does Bernie Sanders have a chance to compete with Clinton after Super Tuesday?
– Sanders has plenty of money and his disproportionately youthful backers are very enthusiastic. So he can continue to campaign for as long as he wants, accumulating delegates and influence at the convention in shaping the platform. But the nomination is out of reach, just as it probably has been all along.
Speaking in Texas, Cruz urged other Republicans to quit the race and join him against Mr Trump. Is this a possible scenario?
– Not as yet. It seems likely that Marco Rubio and John Kasich will stay in until at least March 15, when their home states of Florida and Ohio vote. Cruz held up on his home turf. Now we’ll see if the others can. Perhaps an alliance of Rubio, Cruz, and Kasich can prevent Trump from winning a majority of delegates and pushing this race to the convention in Cleveland, which would be chaos.
Trump gave a press conference, where he pledged to be a unifying, diplomatic voice. Is he really a unifier, in your opinion?
– There’s no such thing as a unifier in American politics, and even if there were, it wouldn’t be someone like Trump. A substantial majority of Americans dislike Trump, and he’s a polarizing figure even in his own party. And he has said so many outrageous and offensive things that he will continue to be an incredibly divisive candidate.
What can we expect in the future?
– This is the heart of the primary season. There are many contests in the first half of March, culminating in a second Super Tuesday on March 15, when five major states vote — Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina and Ohio. The other candidates need to deny Trump victories on March 15 or he might have an even clearer path to the nomination.
Fletcher McClellan, professor of political science at Elizabethtown College, Pennsylvania:
What are the lessons from Super Tuesday?