Super Tuesday Blowout For Hillary, Trump

Landslide Super Tuesday victories put that soul firmly in the hands of two candidates: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

Will America choose inclusion or racism?

It’s not hyperbole to say the political soul of America is on the line right now. Landslide Super Tuesday victories put that soul firmly in the hands of two candidates: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

Clinton represents the politics of inclusion while Trump has focused much of his campaign on excluding whole segments of the population, from Muslim immigrants to Mexicans to undocumented people already here. Trump wants to overturn marriage equality legislation and has talked about doing the same with abortion rights.

There are major issues at stake. While the candidates continued to battle for votes in the next primaries and caucuses, the Supreme Court was hearing the most important abortion brief in 25 years. Protestors on both sides of the abortion issue chanted outside the SCOTUS building, highlighting how much of an issue abortion still is 43 years after Roe v. Wade was decided.

Whoever is the next president will influence the SCOTUS for at least a generation. Two justices are ready to retire, and they happen to be the two most liberal, Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Also in play is every piece of signature legislation or executive order put forward by President Obama during his two terms. These include marriage equality, women’s pay equity (women still don’t have it, but the Lily Ledbetter Act was one of the first things Obama signed into law), the Affordable Care Act, setting aside federal lands as protected, clean air legislation, and a host of other issues.

Which is why the results of Super Tuesday are so pivotal.

It was a tough night for everyone but Trump and Clinton. Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) lost heavily to Clinton: she won seven states plus American Somoa. Sanders won four states, one of them his own.

Trump also won seven states. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), three, including his own and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) won a single state. Neither Dr. Ben Carson, nor Ohio Gov. John Kasich captured a state and Carson dropped out of the Republican race Wednesday afternoon.

The delegate numbers are even more dramatic than the state-by-state wins suggest. Trump has 319, his nearest competitor, Cruz has 226 and Rubio 110.

Clinton won more delegates in Texas, which she captured in a landslide and which has 222 delegates at stake, than Sanders won in all four of his victories, ending up with 490 to Sanders’ 323.

Super Tuesday is big. More people vote on that day than any other throughout the primary election process. Clinton swept the South, winning Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia with 30 to 40 point spreads over Sanders.

Clinton also won Massachusetts by a small margin, but that state was expected to go to Sanders and MA Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s refusal to endorse Sanders was seen by his supporters as a betrayal that cost him the state and created an intra-party fight that Sanders could ill afford. Twitter and Facebook were flooded with angry Sanders supporters vowing never to forget and demanding Warren be primaried at her next election.


The ugliness of these emotions resulted in a series of articles including one from a conservative website eager to deflect attention from the GOP battles with a Democratic one. I was surprised to find one of my own viral tweets about the issue embedded there.

In this highly emotional race, every new item has the potential to impact the candidates.

And yet exit polling suggests that the majority of Democrats are happy with both candidates, even if they are voting more dramatically for Clinton, whereas among GOP voters, 50% actually think Trump should not be president.

The path to the Democratic and Republican nominations are all but certain for Clinton and Trump. Sanders would have to win remaining states–and yes, there are still many of them–by the kind of margins that Clinton won by on Super Tuesday and that’s not just unlikely, it’s nigh on impossible. Yet Sanders was talking like a winner, not a loser on Wednesday, even tweeting a challenge to Trump with some old polling embedded that put him in a better position to win against Trump than Clinton.

His bravado notwithstanding, when Sanders gave his victory speech in VT Tuesday night, it was obvious as he fought back emotion, that he saw where his campaign was headed, even if his supporters did not.

The attacks on Warren–numbering in the thousands according to the senator–were evidence of a problem Sanders has had from the outset: His zealous supporters take things too far. Back in August I reported attacks on Black Lives Matter activists by Sanders’ supporters who called them plants from the Clinton team.

At a Seattle rally for Sanders, when two BLM lesbians took over the microphone, there were chants of “tase her” and “arrest her” from his supporters, who were overwhelmingly white. Throughout his campaign and perhaps underscored by his assertion Tuesday night that he had “brought Vermont values to the country” has been the perception that Sanders’ campaign is for and about white people. Vermont itself is the second whitest state after Maine and Sanders has been taken to task for years for not having black staff members.

The attack on natural ally Warren, combined with other attacks on Gloria Steinem, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis and Latina activist and co-founder of the Farm Workers Union, Dolores Huerta have forced both Sanders and his Rapid Response Director Mike Casca to repeatedly ask that supporters not be abusive.

While Trump was fighting negative press about his failure to disavow the endorsement of former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke, black voters were turning out en masse for Hillary Clinton.

America’s demographic has changed significantly even since 2012. There are fewer white male voters, more black women and men of voting age. Latin@ voters are the largest minority bloc after women (who are actually a majority, but viewed through the pundit scrim as minority).

These voters are not going conservative, despite the 2012 autopsy done by the Republican National Committee which ascertained minority voters would be essential to any future presidential wins.

Then Donald Trump changed everything.

The rise of Trump has eviscerated that narrative of the GOP needing to be a bigger tent. Where Clinton has a seeming lock on minority voters–winning some states, like AL and AR by as much as 90% to Sanders’ 10%–Trump is locking up the disenfranchised white male vote that gave Mitt Romney his largest single voting bloc in 2012.

The deconstruction of the numbers shows the wildly different compositions of the Republican and Democratic coalitions. Exit polls from 2012 showed about 72 percent of the electorate was white. Republican Mitt Romney carried the white vote 59 percent to President Obama’s 39 percent, a 20 point lead and the fourth highest for a Republican since the advent of exit polling.

But with 127 million Americans voting in 2012, Obama won with 51.1% of the vote, Romney got 47.2%–not a landslide for the Democrats, but it was easy to see that the difference in votes–six million–was comprised of non-white voters.

The GOP is over 80% white, the Democrats, nearly 40% non-white. And as black friends keep telling me–and the current political landscape affirms–the Democratic nomination lies firmly in the hands of black voters, a fact almost ignored by the punditry as well as Bernie Sanders.

In 2008, Barack Obama beat out Clinton in the primary in the delegate count (she won the popular vote) and super delegates changed allegiance from her to him, solidifying his nomination. Nearly 60% of Americans voted.

In 2012, nearly 55% of Americans voted. In both races Obama won against his Republican rivals with a broad cross-section of voters–white and non-white, women and men, young and old. Women voted overwhelmingly for Obama in both elections.

Which brings us to 2016. Sanders had expected his “political revolution” would resonate with a broad base of Democratic voters, but so far that has failed to happen. Large rallies of cheering fans have not translated into actual votes while Clinton’s consistent outreach to communities of color and marginalized voters like LGBT people and of course women of all races has moved her firmly onto the path to the nomination.

In Virginia, exit polls showed Clinton winning 84% of blacks; in Georgia, 83%; in Tennessee, 82%; in Arkansas, her home base for nearly 20 years, 88%. Clinton did almost as well with Latin@ voters, with a 2-to-1 margin (65 percent to 34 percent) in Texas.

While Sanders asserted that he would amass the same number of voters as Obama, the reality has been far different. The angry white man amassing new voters is Trump, not Sanders, which has infused the Republican Party with a phalanx of people they are not quite sure they want to embrace.

Super Tuesday solidified the numbers in ways that look impenetrable for Sanders, who pledged Wednesday to campaign “all the way to Philadelphia,” where the Democratic National Convention will be held in July.

Trump led the news, instead of the Democrats, even though by any standards, the Democratic race is the historic one. The first woman and the first Jew to run on a major party ticket is meaningful in America where glass ceilings are in need of breaking.

But it’s Trump everyone was scrambling to defeat–and with good reason. Wednesday morning friends of mine in the UK and Australia were sending me frantic messages about Trump who was leading the news abroad, even though Clinton was leading the vote count.

“What about Trump?” One friend asked, “What’s wrong with you people?” I hastened to remind her that only a quarter of the states had voted and Clinton had exponentially more votes than Trump.

But everyone has a right to be concerned by the GOP frontrunner whose campaign is literally just misogyny, racism, Islamophobia and homophobia. Sanders may be slight on details of his lofty plans but at least those plans are admirable. Trump wants to isolate America from foreign people of color with medieval-style walls and moats.

How did he get this far?

The GOP is unsure how to derail the candidacy of the man everyone dismissed as a summer fling, until that fling started to look like an arranged marriage. This is a democracy and votes matter. But thus far Trump has a third of the GOP vote–and comes in well behind Clinton in both votes and delegate counts.

For her part, Clinton hasn’t stopped stumping for a single vote. Whatever mistakes she made in 2008, she’s determined not to repeat them in 2016. Every vote counts. Especially with Trump at stake.

In her victory speech on Super Tuesday, Clinton drew the distinctions between her and Trump as distinctly as possible.

The most defining is her message of inclusion–Clinton is positioning herself as drawing voters who have felt marginalized into the Big Tent of the Democratic Party while Trump–though he said he was a unifier in his victory speech–has been having journalists and protesters dragged out of his rallies since the beginning. In a rally before SuperTuesday, a young black woman was beaten by Trump supporters for protesting.

Prior to Super Tuesday, after her huge win in South Carolina on Feb. 27, Clinton led Sanders in pledged delegates 91 to 65. (She has far more super delegates than he does, but those don’t count until the nomination nears.)

In the Democratic Party, delegates are apportioned via percentage of votes won per congressional district; in the Republican Party there are winner-take-all states, like the upcoming Florida primary, which if Trump wins, will make him unstoppable unless there is a brokered convention, which hasn’t happened in decades.

More importantly, Clinton left Super Tuesday with a larger lead than President Obama had in 2008. That is telling, since Clinton was never able to overcome his lead in 2008, despite winning California, the jackpot of delegates.

Clinton also shifted the narrative about who will and will not vote for her, winning 65% of white women and 55% of white men as well as the majority of voters 30 and over. She even did well among millennial voters on Super Tuesday, an area that has plagued her.

All these numbers add up to two things: The Democrats have a lock on a broad base and the Republicans do not. And while some Sanders’ supporters have asserted they will not vote if Clinton is the nominee and #BernieOrBust is a current hashtag demanding Berners write in the candidate’s name if Clinton is the nominee, the prospect of a Trump presidency will likely be too alarming to allow even the most hard-core Berners to sit out the election. After all, civics isn’t about personalities, it’s about the nation.

Super Tuesday may have drawn a clear line between winners and losers, but primary season is far from over. But that issue of civics will continue to be writ large. What do we want for America?

In an interview after he won Texas, Cruz told ABC News that if Hillary Clinton were elected, the nation would be “unrecognizable” in another four years. Cruz, who has shut down the government once and is the face of the Tea Party, also asserted that Obama had virtually destroyed America. For his part, Trump said Clinton (he has always ignored Sanders) shouldn’t be allowed to run for president and said she should have fixed Washington by now, ignoring the fact her job as Secretary of State was foreign policy.

This is the battle that will loom in the coming weeks and months. Will America embrace a candidate who can’t disavow the KKK, which was responsible for rapes and lynchings of hundreds of black men, women and children? Or will they embrace their first woman president whose message is to make America a kinder and more welcoming place, a place of healing, a place of working together?

Only the votes will tell, but one thing is certain: those of us who are not straight white men are under attack by Trump, Cruz, Rubio and Kasich on every level. Our fight is against them. And we must take a moral interest in defeating them as well as self-interest in doing so. Unless we do, all the gains of the Obama Administration will be under threat. And so will we.