How Super Tuesday Changed Everything (and Also Nothing) In The Race

Darth Vader, Donald Trump, Darth Trump, Star Wars, politics, funnyHey, Donald Trump is a real thing. No, it’s not a joke, at least not anymore. Yes, you need to be worried about him. Really, really, really worried.

In case you were still feeling skeptical about President Trump (come on, even typing those words feels like a joke) just take a look at how he did in the Super Tuesday elections. A huge number of delegates were assigned to the candidates that night (Americans don’t actually vote for nominees; instead, we vote for delegates who will then get to vote at a convention) and Trump was the winner in a landslide.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders also did quite well, if it’s any consolation. And right now national polling shows them beating Trump in a two-person race. But a lot can change between now and November, particularly if either stumble in the press.

Super Tuesday had a fun enough start, with Bill Clinton causing a bit of a ruckus when he visited a polling station just to, you know, hang out. You can always count on Bill for some fun. Turns out that might’ve been campaigning too close to the ballots — whoops.

And then the early returns from the east coast started rolling in, and things started to look worrisome. Trump took the lead in the first states: Georgia, Alabama, Massachusetts and Tennessee. 

Those southern states aren’t a huge surprise — plenty of racist sentiment there to bolster Trump’s chances. But Massachusetts? Why is Massachusetts on the list?

Bernie Sanders, for his part, declared victory early in his home state of Vermont; although he won a handful of states, Hillary took the majority and she’s currently way ahead of him on the delegate count.

Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Super Tuesday, results, 2016, election, delegates, states
(image via The New York Times)

“By the end of tonight we are going to win many hundreds of delegates,” Bernie promised, and it turned out to be true: around 300. But Hillary picked up around 500. She’s currently exceeding the target of where she needs to be in the lead-up to the convention; and Bernie’s behind where he needs to be. His pathway to the nomination is narrower than hers, though not impossible.

Marco Rubio was a surprising loser on Super Tuesday. He seemed like he was in striking distance of Trump, particularly after a tough show at the debate a few days earlier. But he was bested by Ted Cruz in a lot of states — particularly Texas, Cruz’s home state, which has a heavy influence on the election.

As the night wore on, it was clear that Clinton and Trump were the two winners — both with seven Super Tuesday states under the belt. Unless something changes, they’ll be facing each other in the general election. And so Clinton began taking aim at him: “America never stopped being great. We have to make America whole,” she said in a victory speech. “I believe what we need in America is more love and kindness.”

But it’s Trump’s speech that had everyone talking. For one thing, Chris Christie stood behind him the whole time and looked like a very sad man (above). But more importantly, Super Tuesday was the first time that a lot of voters took a serious look at the campaign. Trump’s speech was their first long hard look at him.

So Super Tuesday continued Trump’s steamroller through the election process — that, at least, was no change. But as more Americans wake up to the fact that there’s an election happening, he might find that his support has reached its natural ceiling, and all of the attention he’s getting may turn sour. Super Tuesday may mark a turning point in his popularity.

At least… let’s hope that’s how it goes.