SparkNotes Blog

SparkNoting Super Tuesday: We Must Have Bloody Noses and Crack’d Crowns

Super Tuesday? More like Super Tues-uh oh, Donald Trump might actually do this. WHAT YOU HAVE DONE, AMERICA.

On a day that usually decides the nominee, Super Tuesday certainly was A DAY for both sides. Let’s break it down.

Plot Overview

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton went into Super Tuesday with considerable leads. She pulled out a substantial win in Nevada and a gigantic win in South Carolina—bigger than Barack Obama in 2008. The wind was in her sails, the caucuses were the east and Hillary was the sun, her polling numbers were two blushing pilgrims, et cetera, going into Tuesday, and it paid off. She won Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. Not too shabby.

Meanwhile, Uncle Bernie held his own, winning Colorado, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and Vermont. Even though mathematically he’s down in terms of delegates, he has the financial resources to stay in the race until the end, meaning that he could mayyybeeee (or maybe not) pull ahead of Clinton.

On the Republican side, in any other year if a candidate won state after state by huge margins, he (yes, he) would be proclaimed the nominee with a swell of Ted Nugent over the loudspeakers. Not in 2016. Why? Because that person is Donald Trump, and the establishment is all, “HELL NO.” At least for now.

Like Hillary, he went into to Super Tuesday well ahead, having won by large margins in Nevada in South Carolina. He wound up taking Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. Defying all logic, he was able to win big while fighting off attacks that he wouldn’t disavow support from a leader in the KKK. Only Trump could get away with that.

All the while Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio struggled to do anything they can to strip away at Trump’s lead. Based on Tuesday’s results, it didn’t work.

Senator Ted Cruz had a rough go of it going into Tuesday. His campaign has gotten into trouble over lying about other candidates, and putting out false information on the daily—in fact, just after Nevada he had to fire his communication director after he tweeted a video falsely purporting to show Marco Rubio telling a Cruz supporter not to trust the bible. Even with all that, he was able to hold his own on Tuesday, winning Texas, Oklahoma, and Alaska.

Cruz’s wins pose a mighty blow to Rubio. With Jeb Bush out of the race, and Ben Carson stepping away from the fray today (tbh I forgot he was running), Rubio has become viewed as the establishment’s choice as the most likable/least hatable, garnering him endorsements from big-time Republican figures. He even shifted focus and started attacking Trump in the style of Trump, accusing him of wetting his pants and having small hands (because you know what that means…). None of it helped Rubio on Tuesday—he lost everything except Minnesota, the only state he’s won thus far.

Phew, what a night.

Context

Let’s start with the Dems. Hillary is winning in states with large numbers of minorities, people that make up the backbone of the Democratic base. A Democratic nominee cannot win the White House without large support from black, Hispanic, and female voters. Hillary has them all, and by large numbers. Bernie is winning states that are predominantly white (with the exception of Oklahoma, whose Democratic electorate is quite small). He needs to start winning in more diverse states or else his campaign is over in terms of delegates, though financially he’s able to go on as long as he wants. If it becomes clear that Hillary has the nomination, he’ll still stay in the race in order to push her to the left and to ensure his views are considered and accepted into the party platform at the Democratic convention. This, my friends, is a wonderful display of democracy.

Now for the circus show that is the Republicans. Trump has this, and likely will continue to win big in the coming primaries. So what can other Republicans do? There are a few interesting options…

  • Option 1: Stay in and shore up as many delegates as possible so that that candidate—likely Cruz, but Rubio is trying real hard—can challenge Trump on the floor of the convention. This is what they mean when they talk about a brokered convention. It’s when party delegates refuse to support the person with the most pledged delegates (the person that won the most primaries). This could be a route to take down Trump, but it’s controversial and likely will lead to a revolt from voters during the general election, not to mention the possibility of a third party Independent run from Trump if he’s forced out. Speaking of…
  • Option 2: A third-party independent run from a prominent Republican that lost to Trump. This would certainly split the party, but it’s not unheard of. Theodore Roosevelt did this in 1912 when he challenged William Howard Taft for the Republican nomination and lost. You know what happened then? A Democrat won.
  • Option 3: Give up the White House. Senate Republicans are already preparing for this. Basically Trump would be the nominee, but Congressional elections would campaign on him losing, and push the idea that people need to elect Republicans to Congress to fight whatever President Hillary Clinton or President Bernie Sanders would do as Commander-and-Chief.

Needless to say, the Republican primary is pretty fun if you ignore the horrors a Trump presidency might entail!

Analysis of Major Characters

Who is David Duke? Glad you asked. He’s a one-term Republican legislator from Louisiana. Now that I got the one nice thing about him out there, let’s focus on the despicable: he’s a white-nationalist, antisemitic conspiracy theorist, and former Grand Wizard of the Klu Klux Klan.

The controversy with Duke started when he tweeted support for Donald Trump. CNN asked Trump why he hadn’t disavowed Duke, and Trump basically said that he couldn’t if he didn’t know who David Duke was (the letters “KKK” mean nothing to Trump, of course). Then the next day he walked that statement back by saying he had a bad ear-piece in. Then he walked it back some more, saying he loved black people.

Yes folks, this is the potential Republican nominee for President.

What do you think? Share your comments below or tweet at me at @HAlanScott.