Here are a few notes from the results on Saturday 5th of March, when Democrats voted in Nebraska, Louisiana, and Kansas, while Republicans voted in Maine, Louisiana, Kentucky and Kansas.
Bernie not going away
Bernie notched a big win over Hillary in Kansas and a respectable lead in Nebraska. Yet in a repeat of earlier states, Clinton won Louisiana, the state with the most delegates and a lead of almost 50 points.
While the Clinton team would like to finish this contest and set their sights on the Republicans, Democratic voters aren’t quite finished with ‘feeling the Bern’. The Senator from Vermont has shown far more resilience than many expected last year, and though his route to the nomination looks very murky, his longevity indicates not only his personal popularity, but reluctance to hand Hillary the nomination.
Many were on the verge of writing Ted Cruz off (myself included).
Though winning Iowa, he performed badly in New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. South Carolina was particularly painful, as the Texan Senator lost his core demographic of evangelic, hardline conservatives to Trump.
Yet on Super Tuesday Cruz took his home state of Texas, Oklahoma, and Alaska despite famed Alaska governor Sarah Palin endorsed Trump. Not to mention that Cruz was competitive in most states, taking away delegates in second place.
On Saturday, Cruz delivered a stinging rebuke to Donald Trump, winning Kansas and Maine while the billionaire took Kentucky and Louisiana by smaller margins.
Cruz’s vitality does little to heal the wounds within the GOP though. The Senator is as reviled as Trump by many in the party, championing a record of naked obstructionism in the Senate. Whichever the American people put forward, Trump or Cruz, they are sending a message that they are sick of Washington D.C.
Rubio’s star fades
What a difference a week can make. Unlike Cruz, Rubio had fared relatively well in the three states prior to Super Tuesday, and put forward a decent challenge to Trump on the debate stage.
Nevertheless, Super Tuesday was disappointing, and Super Saturday was a disaster. Rubio didn’t crack 20% support in any of the four states voting, coming in third in Kansas, Kentucky, and Louisiana, while a dismal fourth in Maine.
Trump sees this now as a two-man race between himself and Cruz, two figures hated by the Republican establishment. Rubio will hang on until his home state of Florida votes on March 15th, but he has probably already fallen too far behind.