The third election night of the 2016 election cycle has come and gone with minimal contest for the winners, Clinton in Nevada and Trump in South Carolina. Nevada was a much clearer race due to only having two candidates. Despite recent talk of Sanders making the state highly competitive, Clinton won by 6 points. Some are tempted to declare Clinton the clear strategic winner of the caucus, but keep in mind that Sanders has been closing the gap, especially with Latino voters which Clinton panders to for her minority coalition.
On the Republican side of the race, Trump easily won the SC primary by about 10 points. He managed to sweep all 50 delegates to the nomination convention, although Rubio won the urban areas of Columbia and Charleston. Coming in second place just ahead of Cruz, Rubio will be spinning his better than expected performance as proof that he is the alternative to Trump. Cruz, on the other hand, will try to ignore his third place finish in a state ideal for him and instead focus on the SEC primary that is upcoming, and namely his home state of Texas.
On the bottom half of the pack, Jeb Bush, the candidate favored for the nomination just last year, dropped out of the race. This drop is important for Rubio, who stands to gain a few points from Bush. It also will open up the GOP establishment to throwing its weight behind Rubio more easily. Jeb fell to the Trump-curse of people dropping out after Trump attacks.
Watch Jeb Bush reveal his decision here:
Performing even worse in South Carolina than Bush were Kasich and Carson. Both have vowed to stay in the race despite their lackluster results. Kasich, who appears to be cherry-picking states, has no real path to the nomination. His staying in the race is simply aiding Trump from having real competition. With a similarly foolish motive, Carson is remaining in the race for the GOP nomination simply to draw votes away from his enemy, Cruz. This tension between Carson and Cruz has been present since Cruz spread rumors about Carson dropping out in Iowa and have continued to manifest itself in a recent secret closet meeting of the two men which ended poorly.
Overall, Sanders has an uphill battle that will be near impossible for him to win against the money and organization of Clinton. On the Republican side, expect endorsements to start coming out for Rubio more since Bush is gone. Cruz should be looking at hitting Trump because that is the biggest threat to Cruz’s Southern-based path to the nomination. Trump should just be himself as always because, honestly, what else can we expect from him? With Jeb gone, Kasich and Carson need to put aside their selfish motives and exit the race with their reputations intact.