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Clinton and Trump put their boxing gloves on after winning Super Tuesday

Super Tuesday, the single most important day in the US primaries, confirms Clinton and Trump as frontrunners. They’re now eyeing each other up for the ultimate prize.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have consolidated their lead in the contest to become the presidential candidates for the Democratic and Republican parties, respectively. Twelve states plus American Samoa voted on the 1st of March, also known as Super Tuesday – the day in the US presidential primaries with the most delegates up for grabs. Clinton won seven states, Bernie Sanders four. In the opposite camp, Trump also clinched seven states, followed by Ted Cruz with three and Marco Rubio with one.

 

super tuesday results
Source: The New York Times (click image for link)

 

A brief history of Super Tuesday

Super Tuesday as we know it began when twelve Southern states voted for in the Democratic primaries on the same day in 1988. They believed they would be able to influence the contest by selecting a candidate that would have better chances of winning the general election. The strategy didn’t work and Republican George H.W. Bush became president, but it paid off with the election of Democrat Bill Clinton, Super Tuesday winner in 1992.

 

hillary clinton selfie
Hillary Clinton takes a selfie with a supporter © Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

 

Why it is so important

Super Tuesday this year determined the allocation of nearly a quarter of Republican and a fifth of Democratic delegates, those party members who will cast the definitive vote for the candidates, based on the preferences expressed by their state, at the party conventions over the summer.

 

bernie sanders supporters
Bernie Sanders supporters listen to his speech after winning his home state Vermont’s primary on Super Tuesday © Spencer Platt/Getty Images

 

The day unfolded more or less as expected. Clinton won the key demographic of black voters. Sanders received the overwhelming majority of support in his home state of Vermont and Cruz won in his home state of Texas, the Super Tuesday primary in which most delegates were allocated. Trump was able to capture a cross-section of Republican voters notwithstanding a last minute controversy that saw him accused of not refuting the endorsement of David Duke, former leader of white supremacist organisation the Ku Klux Klan.

The candidates of both parties were awarded delegates in proportion to the votes they received and it would have been impossible for Super Tuesday to seal the fate of the primaries definitively. Whilst Clinton leads over Sanders by around two hundred delegates and Trump’s advantage over Cruz is of over a hundred, unlikely as it may be, technically the tables could still turn.

 

ted cruz daughters
A Dr. Seuss book with the signatures of Ted Cruz’s daughters Catherine and Caroline at a Super Tuesday event in the Senator’s home state of Texas © Erich Schlegel/Getty Images

 

The sparring begins

Clinton and Trump have now set their eyes on the more important contest that will probably see them battling each other to become president. In her Super Tuesday victory speech, the Democratic frontrunner made a clear reference to Trump saying, “the stakes in this election have never been higher and the rhetoric we’re hearing on the other side has never been lower,” while the leader of the Republican primaries stated, “our country is going to hell and Hillary Clinton doesn’t have a clue,” in his. Trump was calm and composed during the speech compared to his usually brazen and uncompromising style, speaking of uniting the party and congratulating Cruz on his wins. A more sobre Trump seems an ever likelier presidential candidate – and an increasingly difficult monster to slay for Democrats and Republicans alike.

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