On March 8th, Hillary Clinton won a resounding victory in the ultra-rural southern state of Mississippi while democratic socialist pulled a tight, but significant, upset in Michigan.
On the Republican side, Trump took Mississippi, Hawaii and Michigan, but lost Idaho to his rival Ted Cruz. Here are a few takeaways:
Michigan feels the Bern
For the Democrats, it ain’t over yet.
The mid-western state of Michigan handed Bernie Sanders a victory, winning by around 20,000 votes. The Sanders campaign will be hoping that Michigan is an indicator of other delegate-rich Rust Belt states. Ohio and Illinois vote for their preferred Democratic nominee next week, and if Sanders can build on this momentum, he reopens his chances at the nomination.
Hillary hurting, but actually advances
The Michigan result was a wound for the Clinton campaign, as they are concerned they are unable to adequately reach Democrats under the age of 30, and working class white Americans who have felt the economic impact of free trade through the closure of American manufacturing.
To make matters worse, Hillary’s share of the African American vote fell. Hillary only won 60% of the black vote in Michigan, compared to 80% in Mississippi, and 87% in South Carolina. Possibly this is a sign that Bernie’s youth popularity is beginning to limit Hillary’s appeal to this bedrock demographic of the Democratic Party.
However, let’s not let the storyline overshadow reality. Hillary actually extended her lead over Bernie on Tuesday: while Bernie won 9 more delegates than her in Michigan, Clinton took 25 more delegates than Bernie in the deep south state of Mississippi.
Despite attacks, Trump dominant
Trump has been under increasing scrutiny over the past two weeks, and fell prey to an unprecedented attack by former Republican nominee Mitt Romney. Yet, for all his enemies’ effort, Trump continues to take victories.
Trump added Hawaii, Mississippi, and Michigan to his haul, bringing his total number of state-victories to 15.
The billionaire has recently taken to requesting supporters at his rallies take a pledge, promising to vote for him. Such action may be Trump cashing in on his popularity when he perceives it to be at its zenith, potentially pre-empting any controversy that may come about if he releases his tax returns or the New York Times off-the-record tapes that are reputed to discredit his promises on immigration.
At the same rallies, there are an increasing number of protesters in scenes that veer towards violence. Neither this, nor his pseudo-personality cult, matters much if he keeps on winning at this pace.
Kasich hoping for big Mid-West wins
John Kasich has been biding his time. After Jeb Bush announced the end of his run, there were calls for the Governor of Ohio to drop out as he polled at the bottom of the pack with Ben Carson.
Yet Kasich stuck to his guns, claiming the mantle of ‘moderate’ in contest that has been dragged to right wing. This paid off in Michigan, where Kasich came excruciatingly close to taking second place from Ted Cruz.
Kasich’s strategy is to win his home state of Ohio on March 15th, and hope that Trump cannot win Florida on the same date. If that happens, the real estate billionaire may not win an outright majority before the Republican National Convention, leading to a brokered convention where Kasich could be in play.
That said, the governor needs to perform better in upcoming Rust Belt states, and is relying on Marco Rubio winning Florida. Which may be in question…
Rubio bleeding out
The last, best hope of the Republican establishment is falling to earth.
Consider Marco Rubio’s results from the 8th: fourth in Mississippi with 5% of the vote, third in Hawaii with 13% of the vote, third with 16% in Idaho, and a dismal fourth with 9% in Michigan.
To make matters worse, because of individual state’s minimum qualification standards, Marco Rubio did not win a single delegate from those four states. This, from the man who is supposed to be leading the counter-Trump charge of the GOP.
The Republicans have another debate on March 10th, so expect Rubio’s terrible results to be a prime target for Donald Trump, that is, if he still even considers Rubio a threat. Unfortunately, the hopes of the anti-Trump wing of the party in large rely on the Rubio still taking his winner-take-all home state of Florida, and its 99 delegates.
The problem? Polls have Trump ahead in Florida by around 16%.