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Republican Donald Trump (left) and Democrat Hillary Clinton (right) each won seven states on Super Tuesday.  

CREDIT:

Joe Raedle/Getty Images (Trump); Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images (Clinton); Shutterstock (background)

A Super Tuesday for Trump and Clinton

The billionaire real estate developer and the former secretary of state cement their presidential front-runner statuses

Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton were the big winners of the Super Tuesday contests last night, both making substantial progress toward clinching their parties’ presidential nominations.

Clinton, the former secretary of state, won commanding victories in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia, and by a narrower margin in Massachusetts. Her strong showing appeared to demonstrate that she can build the kind of coalition of diverse voters she’ll need in order to win in November, political analysts say.

At a victory rally, Clinton seemed more focused on her likely Republican opponent than her Democratic challenger, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who won in Colorado, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and his home state of Vermont, but fell much further behind in the delegate race.

“What a super Tuesday!” Clinton declared, adding, in reference to Trump, “The rhetoric we’re hearing on the other side has never been lower. Trying to divide America between ‘us’ and ‘them’ is wrong, and we’re not going to let it work.”

On the Republican side, Trump won sweeping victories in Alabama, Georgia, Massachusetts, and Tennessee, and narrower ones in Arkansas, Vermont, and Virginia. With strong support from low-income white voters, especially those without college degrees, he appears to have transcended the regional and ideological differences that have dominated the Republican Party in recent years.

Trump said he expected to consolidate the Republican Party behind his campaign.

“I am a unifier,” he told reporters last night. “Once we get all of this finished, I am going to go after one person and that’s Hillary Clinton.”

Trump needs a total of 1,237 delegates to win his party’s nomination, and his lead is expanding: He has 316 delegates after Super Tuesday. 

But the night wasn’t all good news for Trump. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas won the night’s biggest delegate prize: his home state of Texas, as well as Oklahoma and Alaska. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida won only one state last night: Minnesota. Rubio has his eyes set on his home state of Florida, which votes March 15 and has a winner-take-all primary.

Cruz made an appeal to the other Republican challengers who remain in the race to drop out.

“So long as the field remains divided, Donald Trump’s path to the nomination remains more likely, and that would be a disaster for Republicans, for conservatives, and for the nation,” Cruz said.

Two other Republican candidates, Ohio Governor John Kasich and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, remain in the race. Neither has won a primary or a caucus.

As Trump moves closer to the nomination, more Republicans have begun speaking out in recent days, warning that if Trump becomes the nominee, it will doom the party to defeat in the November general election. A handful of outside groups known as Super PACs have announced plans to attack Trump in TV commercials in the coming weeks.

“Nominating Donald Trump would be the best gift the Republican Party could give to Hillary Clinton,” said Republican Bobby Jindal, the former Louisiana governor.

Officials in both parties acknowledge that Democrats are now better positioned for the general election than the divided Republicans.

“The Democrats are having a loud squabble, but the party is broadly unified behind certain themes,” says David Axelrod, the Democratic strategist. “The Republicans are engaged in a full-out civil war, fundamentally riven by mistrust, and it is very hard to see how they put the pieces back together once this fight is done.”

But Democrats can’t look to November quite yet. Clinton needs a total of 2,383 delegates for the Democratic nomination, and she has now amassed 1,001. Despite Clinton’s strong performance, however, Sanders is vowing to stay in the race. In the past month, he’s raised an impressive $42 million. That fundraising total came from 1.4 million individual contributors who donated an average of $30 each, demonstrating the depth of Sanders’s appeal. He insists that he’s still in a position to challenge Clinton for the nomination.

“By the end of tonight, we are going to win many hundreds of delegates,” he told his supporters at a rally in Burlington, Vermont. “We have come a very long way in 10 months.”

The next contests will come this weekend, when voters in Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, and Nebraska go to the polls. 

 

With reporting by Patrick Healy, Amy Chozick, Alexander Burns, Jonathan Martin, and Michael Barbaro of The New York Times.

Super Tuesday Winners, State by State

CREDITS: Trump: Dan Hallman/Invision/AP; Clinton: US Dept. of State; Sanders: Courtesy of the office of Senator Bernie Sanders; Cruz: Courtesy of the office of Senator Ted Cruz; Rubio: Courtesy of the office of Senator Marco Rubio

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