Republican candidate Donald Trump, one of the most outlandish figures to enter American politics in the last few decades, and the Democratic former Secretary of State and former First Lady Hillary Clinton, are getting closer to their respective parties’ nominations for the upcoming November presidential race. Their triumph on Super Tuesday, the day when the country holds the most primaries, has put them far ahead of their rivals.
Still, the day was not a total victory. Clinton and Trump are far from the number of delegates they need to win the nomination and their adversaries have not given up yet. On the Republican side, Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, who won his home state of Texas, will remain in the race. And Democratic Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton’s sole rival, remains determined.
Clinton and Trump are far from the number of delegates they need to win the nomination and their adversaries have not given up yet
While Trump won in most states, Ted Cruz carried Texas and Oklahoma, which puts him in second place, allowing him to position himself as the alternative. Meanwhile, Rubio, who was the shining hope of the Republican Party, won in Minnesota – a consolation prize. If Rubio fails to carry his home state of Florida on March 15, he will be pressed to leave the race.
In the Democratic camp, Clinton won every Super Tuesday primary except Vermont, Oklahoma, Minnesota and Colorado.
Trump, a New York multimillionaire whose language runs against the economic and political elites, is sending a message to the Republican establishment and to the nation: “I can win all over the country.” From north to south, from east to west, among fundamental Christians and urban atheists. So the fight to determine the identity of the party is set: Is it a conservative group whose values include free market economics and aggressive foreign policy or a populist nationalist organization led by a businessman and entertainer who projects an image of strength? “Trumpism,” it seems, is on the rise.
Super Tuesday was the first test of a new strategy by Trump’s adversaries. Until last week, they had avoided personal attacks. But over the last few days, his most important Republican rivals – Rubio and Cruz – have questioned his moral integrity and business competence. They have insinuated the possible commission of fiscal crimes including ties with the mafia. The press has begun to examine his affairs with a magnifying glass. And his friendliness with racist right-wing radicals drew sharp rebukes from party leaders.
While Democrats are holding an orderly, peaceful contest, Republicans are blustering. Clinton’s victory is paving the way for her nomination. After barely winning the Iowa caucuses and losing in New Hampshire, she has rallied in the southern and western states, exactly where Sanders floundered. But his Democratic socialist leaning, which appeals to millennials, has forced Clinton to shift further left.
Although both Clinton and Trump are wealthy New Yorkers, and both are at home in that small social circle where money and politics join hands, they share few other similarities.
Trump’s friendliness with racist right-wing radicals drew sharp rebukes from party leaders
Trump is a newcomer to politics. He is erratic in his opinions, moving from extreme right on immigration and very close to left-leaning unions when he talks about protectionist measures to buffer the American economy. He is a populist nationalist who sometimes shows faint understanding of the issues on which he speaks.
On the other hand, Clinton has been a Democrat since her college days in the late 1960s. She is one of the most qualified presidential candidates in recent years. She worked with her husband Bill Clinton when he was president in the 1990s, served as New York Senator, ran for the presidency against Barack Obama in 2008 and joined his administration as secretary of state.
In light of widespread public discontent with elites and social unrest over inequality and the shrinking middle class, Democrats have chosen a household name
If the Republicans were once concerned about Donald Trump, a man they see as an interloper who threatens to destroy them from within, now is the time to panic. Now is the time for desperate measures. In light of widespread public discontent with elites and social unrest over inequality and the shrinking middle class, Democrats have chosen a household name. Clinton embodies the establishment and progressive pragmatism. Democrats now represent order while the Republican Party is in revolution.
English version by Dyane Jean Francois.