Super Tuesday and the handful of subsequent contests seem to have provided some indication of how the Republican and Democratic primaries will play out.

Neurosurgeon Ben Carson’s exit has narrowed the Republican field to four candidates. However, if things do not change quickly, only two of the four are viable contenders.

While Donald Trump has failed to live up to the hype that he would sweep the field with relative ease, he enjoys a solid lead, carrying 12 states and nearly 400 delegates. Meanwhile, Sen. Ted Cruz has outperformed a number of pundits’ projections, winning six states and a little over 300 delegates.

Sen. Marco Rubio has dramatically underperformed, carrying only the state of Minnesota. Meanwhile, Gov. John Kasich has garnered more votes than expected, but has failed to win a single state.

As such, the field seems to be narrowing to a Trump versus Cruz matchup, with recent states like Kentucky being settled by a margin of only 10,000 votes. For the momentum to change, Rubio desperately needs to win a major state.

Kasich needs to hope that after watching the other three candidates pound away at each other, voters will warm up to his gentlemanly style of politics. If things continue on their current trajectory, Rubio and Kasich may soon finds themselves finished, and Trump may well pull out a modest victory over Cruz.

As for the Democrats, Hillary Clinton has done quite a bit to silence her doomsayers. Clinton has currently secured the most popular votes of any candidate of either party, and has also won 11 states.

She has dominated the Southern states and Massachusetts, giving her a comfortable delegate lead. Clinton supporters, who hoped to end Sen. Bernie Sanders candidacy early in the cycle, have been severely disappointed as Sanders has carried eight states.

Although, these eight states have almost all voted via caucuses, which due to their often convoluted nature, ensure modest to extremely low turnouts. With the exception of Minnesota, Sanders has been left with relatively few delegates.

However, these victories have kept him very much in the race. Sanders’ strength in the Midwest and the New England states gives him time to perhaps shift the field in his favor in states like Florida, which offer more significant prizes.

The Midwest—where Clinton tended to do poorly in the 2008 Democratic primary as well—is not a very viable path to the nomination, given the region’s low share of delegates. Thus, if momentum does not shift elsewhere for the Sanders campaign, he is still likely to fall short of victory.

Kevin Spann
Political Columnist

 

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