Remember a few months back, when the GOP was bustling with more candidates than one could manage to keep track of, and the Democrats’ Hillary Clinton dominated every poll? Well, things have changed, and they have changed quickly. Saturday night’s Republican South Carolina Primary and Democratic Nevada Caucus have proven just that.
There are five Republican candidates left vying for the Presidential nomination. Preceding Saturday night’s South Carolina Primary, there were six candidates. Governor Jeb Bush declared that, if he did not reach the top four by the end of the night, he would leave the race. And he did so after the results rolled in. Trump owned the night with a huge 32.5% win, followed by Marco Rubio in second place with 22.5% followed closely behind by Ted Cruz in third place with 22.3% of the votes. Tension between Rubio and Cruz was high, as Cruz preemptively declared that he had earned second place before discovering that the polls showed otherwise.
Following the win, Trump and his supporters show confidence for the rest of the election. During Saturday night’s address, Donald Trump’s certainty showed in quotes such as “let’s put this thing away.” Through his victory speech, Trump reiterated the focal points of his campaign:
“Our country doesn’t win anymore. Doesn’t win. We don’t win with the military, we can’t beat ISIS. We have great military but we can’t beat ISIS. We don’t win on trade. You look at what China’s doing to us, what Japan does to us, what Mexico is just killing us at the border — at the border and with trade. Mexico is killing us — absolutely. We’ll do the wall…”
Marco Rubio also showed a strong faith in his campaign, following the announcement of the results by saying, “After tonight, this has become a three-person race, and we will win the nomination.”
Meanwhile, the race for the Democratic nominee is as tight as ever. Hillary Clinton just scathed the win at 52.7%, leaving Bernie Sanders behind at 47.2%. What once was a no-brainer win for Clinton could now go either way. Clinton and her supporters feel that Saturday night’s Nevada victory was a big win for the campaign. In a speech after the caucus, she took a sly dig at Sanders and his ability to provide “real solutions,” saying, “We look at our country and see so much that isn’t working the way it should. Americans are right to be angry, but we’re also hungry for real solutions.”
Though Sanders did face defeat, his address exuded the conviction that America would choose him over Clinton:
“The wind is at our backs. We have the momentum, and I believe that, when Democrats assemble in Philadelphia in July at that convention [Super Tuesday] we are going to see the results of one of the great political upsets in the history of the United States.”
With both parties polarized by controversial candidates and tight polls, nothing is known of what will come in November. What increases the tensions is the fact that Super Tuesday (occurring on March 1) is just around the corner. On this day, 12 states and one territory will participate in caucuses and primaries for the 2016 presidential election. Both Republicans and Democrats will compete for votes in Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Texas, Vermont and Virginia; Republicans only will hold a Tennessee primary and Alaska caucus; Democrats only will participate in a American Samoa caucus. By that point, the polls can show completely different results than they do today.
Amid all of this excitement, only is known for certain: there is nothing to be certain about in the 2016 race for President of the United States of America.