Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton each won 7 of the 11 Super Tuesday state primaries. But the outcomes for each mean different things.
Presidential primary elections are more about collecting delegates to each party’s convention than winning states. And in Super Tuesday primaries, delegates are allocated proportionally according to the raw vote. Trump won Virginia, but he only got one more delegate than runner-up Marco Rubio.
And the number of Republican delegates Ted Cruz got by winning Texas is more than what Trump got in his best two victories.
Hillary Clinton’s overwhelming victories in Southern states enabled her to take a commanding lead over Bernie Sanders in the Democratic delegate count.
What does this all mean?
Republican votes will continue to be split three ways among Trump, Cruz and Rubio, while John Kasich and Ben Carson continue to hang on through the March 15th winner-take-all primaries.
And Hillary Clinton can start honing her general election strategy.
The G.O.P. Has Two Weeks to Take Down Donald Trump
Dan Balz – The Washington Post
The window for stopping Donald Trump closed almost completely Tuesday night, leaving the demoralized anti-Trump forces with two weeks and no agreed-upon strategy for denying the New York billionaire the Republican presidential nomination.
Not only did Trump tighten his grip on the nomination, but the only candidate who has been able to beat him more than once so far is Cruz, the nemesis of Republican congressional leaders and what the Texas senator likes to call the “Washington cartel.” In a choice between Trump and Cruz, many who could be counted as part of that establishment would be hard-pressed to declare a preference.
Trump’s Winning Streak Baffles G.O.P. Losing Club for Losers
Charles Hurt – The Washington Times
Republicans insisted that real estate developer Donald Trump sign their silly little pledge before they let them into their Losing Club for Losers. They said that unless he signed their pledge, he would run as a third party candidate if he did not win the nomination. He would hurt the party. He would fracture the vote and ensure whoever did win the nomination could never win the general election.
Being the bigger man, the adult in the room, the serious one among them, Mr. Trump signed their silly little pledge…
Ever since, he has put on an clinic on how to win….
Mr. Trump racked up so much incredible winning that going into Super Tuesday, the only way to maximize all his winning was to lose Texas to Sen. Ted Cruz, of Texas. By allowing Mr. Cruz to win his home state, Mr. Trump ensured the crippled candidate remains in the race under the illusion that he still has a pathway to the nomination. This, in turn, prevents a one-on-one race, which is realistically the only way Mr. Trump could lose the nomination at this point.
Hillary Clinton’s Moment
Frank Bruni – The New York Times
You can look at Hillary Clinton’s path to this juncture and marvel at how difficult she has often made things for herself, creating messes where there didn’t need to be any, frittering away advantages, misunderstanding the mood of voters, underestimating the mettle of opponents, and failing to cement an image — and a message — that seemed authentic and right.
That’s a legitimate perspective. She’s a deeply flawed politician.
But she’s also a preternaturally determined, resourceful and patient one. Her path illustrates that just as compellingly.
Why Bernie Sanders Won Super Tuesday
Cenk Uygur – The Huffington Post
It turns out that Hillary Clinton won all of the states she was supposed to win — and a narrow victory in Massachusetts (remember she won Mass. by 15 points against Obama and still lost the primary in 2008). But Bernie Sanders had resounding wins in CO & MN. Those two states are much more indicative of the states that are coming in the rest of the primary schedule….
Tonight could have been the knock out punch if Clinton had won CO & MN. But she didn’t! She lost them big. Now, he has a $40 million war chest and favorable map in front of him. Feel the Bern!
Will the G.O.P. Establishment Line Up Behind Ted Cruz Now?
James Poulos – The Week
After stating the obvious — there’s no path for Rubio short of dirty deeds if he can’t win his home state of Florida on March 15 — Graham let it rip on CBS last night. “You know, Ted Cruz is not my favorite by any means. I don’t wish him ill […] but we may be in a position where we have to rally around Ted Cruz as the only way to stop Donald Trump, and I’m not so sure that would work.”
Graham is not just testing the waters for a Cruz endorsement in his capacity as one of the beltway media’s most beloved and entertaining regulars. He’s doing it as a top-shelf surrogate for Jeb Bush…
Cruz’s fundamental strength in this weirdest of seasons pierced the veil of confusion last night. He’s the best bet to beat Trump, same as he ever was. And for Marco Rubio, that’s a heavy albatross to drag home to Florida on primary night.
What Went Wrong for Marco Rubio
Issac Chotiner – Slate
Rubio’s candidacy failed for a number of reasons. Above all, Donald Trump has emerged as a nearly unstoppable force.
But there were other festering problems, from his canned answers and overprogrammed style, to the unfortunate fact that he is a youngish, Hispanic man who speaks about his hopes and dreams for America to a Republican electorate that is white, old, and hopelessly depressed about an increasingly Hispanic America…
Beyond demographics, part of Rubio’s problem was that his substantive platform mirrored Bushism in too many ways. Foreign adventurism of the sort Rubio advocates (like much more aggressive stances against Assad and Putin) has rarely been less popular, and his other policies included (promised) giant tax cuts for the rich and (unmentioned) budget deficits for everyone else.
Trump Fans Size Up #NeverTrump Republicans
Megan McArdle – Bloomberg View
There are the die-hard Republicans who are so appalled by Donald Trump that they would not vote for him if he were the party nominee. And then there are the die-hard Trump supporters who are appalled by these #NeverTrump Republicans….
Leaving a political party that no longer represents you isn't blackmail. Being threatened if you leave is blackmail. #NeverTrump— Jim Treacher (@jtLOL) March 2, 2016
Trump fans should know that the #NeverTrump Republicans who wrote to me are not rejecting you, or even your issues. They are rejecting Donald J. Trump, because they think he is a bad person, so incompetent, aggressive and shamelessly unprincipled that they do not trust him with the Oval Office, or the helm of their party.