The following is an excerpt from Jamelle Bouie | March 2, 2016 | Slate.com |
For just a moment, it looked like Marco Rubio had a big win. When polls closed in Virginia, he was tied with Donald Trump, a surprise after a week of polls showing Trump with a double-digit lead in the state. But it was a false alarm. Trump had swept Virginia, along with Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, and Vermont. The only thing Rubio had to show for days of anti-Trump bluster was a modest win in Minnesota, called at the end of the night. If the Republican establishment went into Super Tuesday ready to fight Trump to the nails, they left it cowed and defeated. He’s not quite the presumptive nominee, but he’s close.
At the same time, it’s important to say that Trump didn’t win a majority of the Super Tuesday vote, or outperform previous leading candidates. The real estate mogul won 34 percent of all Republicans who voted on Tuesday, compared to 26.5 percent for Ted Cruz and 22.3 percent for Marco Rubio. This makes Trump less of a dominant candidate than Mitt Romney in 2012 (who won nearly 40 percent of the Super Tuesday popular vote against a wide field) and John McCain in 2008, who won 42 percent, against a smaller one of three opponents.
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