Thursday, March 03, 2016

March 3, 2016--Super Tuesday: Who Really Won? Who Really Lost?

The New York Times banner headline on Wednesday morning was, "TRUMP AND CLINTON FEAST AS 12 STATES VOTE."

Putting aside the funky "feast," did the NYT get it right?

One could make a case that they missed the real stories. For both parties.

That case would claim that the apparent biggest winner--Hillary Clinton--with by far the most delegate votes (she has 1,001 while Sanders has only 371) was really a loser.

She has thus far benefitted greatly, disproportionately, by being propelled into the lead by rolling up a powerful stream of victories in mainly southern states with large concentrations of Democratic African-American voters while she is doing less well in other, more demographically balanced states. States such as Colorado, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and Vermont, all of which Sanders won on Super Tuesday.

Further, over the next few weeks there will be mainly winner-take-all primaries in states such as Kansas, Nebraska, Maine, Illinois, Michigan, and of course Ohio where Sanders may be set up to do quite well.

And a large portion of Clinton's delegates (more than half her total) are so-called "super delegates," chosen by local party elites. These delegates could turn out to be evanescent if Sanders gets on a roll.

Remote as this may be, this is still possible and a good reason for the Clintons not to do too much premature celebrating since, according to this analysis, Sanders sort of won and Clinton sort of lost.

On the GOP side, if I were Trump I would be a little nervous. Many pundits said he was sure to carry all 11 Super Tuesday states, with the exception of Ted Cruz's Texas. Cruz did in fact win there with a margin of 17 percentage points, more than double what was predicted.

And then he went on to defeat Trump in Oklahoma (Tuesday's most unpredictable state with Cruz and Sanders winning) and the Alaska caucus.

Also, the otherwise hapless Marco Rubio managed to win the Minnesota caucus while Trump wound up a weak third.

Add to that that Trump, on average, is getting only 35-40 percent of the popular votes and if you add up all the GOP delegates thus far awarded, he has only 45 percent of them.

Not exactly a New York Times feast.

If Kasich wins Ohio and Rubio manages somehow to win Florida, Trump could be in trouble. Minimally a brokered convention would be a distinct possibility where the remaining party bosses and big-money people would rig things for Paul Ryan or Mitt Romney.

So for me the Republican winners might be Kasich, who did pretty well in Vermont and Massachusetts and should do much better during the next two weeks, and without doubt Cruz, who is the current stand-out number two.

Then again, Ben Carson may turn out to be the biggest winner. If he "suspends" his candidacy, as expected, he'll no longer have to appear on stage side-by-side with these people.

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