We aren’t at the conclusion of a Tarantino-worthy Mexican stand-off yet, but thanks to Saturday’s South Carolina GOP primary, we now have a clearer picture of who will be left to face off before the end credits roll.
Donald Trump solidified his lead with a dominating win of 32.50% of the vote, while distant second place challenger Marco Rubio pulled 22.48%. Nipping at the Florida Senator’s Underoos like a small dog in a Coppertone Suntan ad is Ted Cruz with 22.34%.
The biggest news of the night was former Florida Governor Jeb(!) Bush announcing his departure from the presidential demolition derby, setting up Marco Rubio as the GOP establishment candidate.
The majority of Jeb’s supporters will likely turn to Rubio, increasing his chances for second place (again) in the upcoming Nevada caucus. At some point, this guy will actually have to win one of these.
After coming in last place (among still running candidates) in New Hampshire and now South Carolina, in addition to firing over fifty members of his staff at the beginning of the month due to financial woes, Dr. Ben Carson has firmly established himself as this election year’s political cockroach. At this point, Carson’s campaign for the presidency is essentially the most expensive book tour ever.
Considering Carson’s evangelical supporters will likely turn to Ted Cruz when he eventually drops out, I can only imagine Cruz strangled a kitten when he heard Carson vowed to carry on to Nevada.
While the GOP lived it up in South Carolina, the Democratic candidates were already in the Silver State attending events in their party’s latest caucus.
Much has been said about Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’ trouble with attracting minority voters. The Nevada Democratic caucus showed it’s more than just talk.
CNN’s preliminary entrance polling reported Hillary Clinton winning 76% of Nevada’s black vote in the most racially diverse state participating in the early election process to date.
Thanks to those same polls, it was initially believed that Sanders won a majority (53%) of Nevada’s Hispanic vote. Unlike the black vote, those numbers quickly became disputed.
Referencing Nevada’s Clark County (which holds the highest number of Hispanic voters), The New York Times’ Nate Cohn tweeted on Saturday:
“Based on the results in Clark, the precincts in ELV, and the overall entrance poll error, I do not believe Sanders won the Hispanic vote.”
FiveThirtyEight Editor in Chief and master Statistician Nate Silver would back Cohn’s tweet just twenty-six minutes later.
Cohn discussed the caucus results in further detail on Sunday:
“In the 76 precincts in Clark County where we believe that a plurality of registered Democrats are Hispanic, Mrs. Clinton defeated Mr. Sanders in the delegate count by a margin of 58 percent to 42 percent. In the smaller number of majority Hispanic precincts, she seemed to win about 60 percent of the delegates, and she won perhaps 65 percent of the delegates in the precincts where Hispanics appeared to be a particularly large share of registered Democrats.”
Iowa and New Hampshire, both states in which Sanders received his largest numbers, are simply inaccurate representations of the nation’s growing diversity.
With Super Tuesday less than two weeks away, Sanders potentially faces an uphill battle to expand his core base beyond white liberals.
There is an issue not being discussed as largely as it should be and that is the voter turnouts. Specifically, the Republican turnout.
All three states that have held a caucus or primary have reported record numbers for the GOP, while the Democrats have yet to achieve a new voter milestone.
- In Iowa, the GOP beat their 2012 attendance record of 121,503 by 60,000 attendees.
- In New Hampshire, the GOP topped their old record with 287,683 ballots.
- South Carolina had over 730,000 primary voters,creating a new record.
The 2014 midterm elections had the lowest voter turnout since World War II. Only 36.4% of eligible voters participated that year, resulting in the GOP reclaiming the Senate.
We can’t afford to make that mistake again in 2016.