By ALEX ALEXIEV
With several more states casting their votes in primaries in Super Saturday last weekend the field has narrowed considerably in the republican race, while Clinton continues to dominate the democratic slate though not in a very persuasive manner.
The Republican Party – Five states voted in the GOP primaries on March 5th and hopes that the nominee would emerge from them were disappointed. Indeed, while Donald Trump continues to dominate the republican race, Ted Cruz showed considerable strength and may have emerged as Trump’s main challenger. He won big two of the five states (Kansas and Maine) and came in a very close second to Trump in Louisiana and Kentucky, where he trailed by only three delegates. Cruz’s very big win in Kansas, in particular, may have dented Trump’s aura of invincibility. The big loser of the weeknd was Marco Rubio who did poorly everywhere, except in Puerto Rico, where he won by 74% of the vote. The coming battle between Trump and Rubio in Florida on March 15 will clearly decide Rubio’s fate. If he cannot beat Trump on his home turf, he is clearly finished. The latest polls show Trump leading Rubio by 8% (38% to 30%) and the race is clearly tightening, since Trump led by 20% last week. Rubio supporters hope that his big win in Puerto Rico would bring the million-strong Puerto Rican constituency in Florida in his camp.
Beyond that, it has become more than clear that the GOP establishment is in a state panic that Trump will be the nominee and lead the party to huge defeat in November. One indication was a full blast against Trump as a disaster in the making by the GOP nominee in 2012 Mitt Romney in a speech last Friday. Another is a major advertising campaign against Trump by several republican political action committees in Florida, Michigan and Ohio. The GOP strategy presently appears to be to deny Trump the 1237 delegates he needs to win the nomination outright and to have him defeated at the convention in Cleveland in July. Whether this is feasible remains to be seen. Much will depend on whether he can win in Florida, which has 99 winner-take-all delegates and also in Ohio, where Governor Kasich is his main opponent.
The Democratic Party - As mentioned above, Hillary Clinton continues to be the prohibitive favorite in the race and the presumptive democratic nominee. Nonetheless, Bernie Sanders shows no signs of conceding the race to her. In fact, this past weekend Sanders won 4 states (Colorado, Kansas, Maine and Nebraska), while Hillary carried Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts and Louisiana. Hilary leads in the delegate count by 1130 to Sanders’s 471, but it should be noted that 458 of her delegates are so called ‘super delegates’ i.e. party functionaries which are not elected but appointed ex officio. There is a good reason for Sanders not to drop out of the race even though it is never mentioned. If Hillary were to be indicted because of the e-mail scandal, she would have to remove herself and he will become the nominee by default.
National election match-ups:
Clinton – Trump: 45.4%- 42%, Cruz – Clinton: 46.5% – 45%, Rubio – Clinton: 48.5% – 43.5%