After victories on Saturday by Donald Trump in South Carolina and Hillary Clinton in Nevada, the race for President continues on in both of those states this week, with Clinton the favorite in South Carolina and Trump the leader in Nevada, as the 2016 race rolls toward a big showdown on March 1.
Hillary Clinton currently leads the delegate race among Democrats by 502-70; Donald Trump has 67 delegates in the GOP race, followed by Ted Cruz with 11, and Marco Rubio with 10.
HILLARY CLINTON – How big was Clinton’s win in Nevada? Really big. I mean, really, really big. A loss would have created a panic situation this week going into South Carolina and the Super Tuesday states on March 1 for the Democratic Party as a whole. Instead, Clinton is the favorite in the Palmetto State, especially with her strong support among black voters. It doesn’t mean this race is over, but Clinton is in a much better place right now than if the Nevada Caucus had been a disastrous loss to Bernie Sanders.
BERNIE SANDERS – Sanders certainly isn’t going away anytime soon, and he may win some states. But the loss in Nevada is going to be like a pebble in your shoe, a painful reminder of how the challenger almost caused big trouble for the lumbering giant of this race. Sanders isn’t going to focus only on South Carolina this week, as he already has a stop announced in Virginia, one of the Super Tuesday states. But his road forward is much more difficult now. Momentum is a big deal, and his was certainly tempered on Saturday thanks to a big effort by Harry Reid and unions on the Las Vegas Strip.
DONALD TRUMP – Let’s be blunt about the situation right now – Donald Trump is in a commanding position in the GOP race. He won all 50 delegates in South Carolina. Usually, if you win New Hampshire and South Carolina, you become the Republican nominee. Trump is certainly the favorite in Nevada on Tuesday, and he will be the favorite in most of the eleven Super Tuesday states on March 1. Mitt Romney won 6 of 10 on Super Tuesday in 2012; it’s not out of the question that Trump could do better than that next week, and really begin to roll his way to the GOP nomination. A new poll in Massachusetts shows him at 50 percent.
TED CRUZ – Cruz wants this to be a race between him and Trump, but the third place finish in South Carolina undermined the assertion of Cruz supporters that they have a southern firewall against Trump. Cruz has now fully switched his attacks away from Trump and on to Marco Rubio, trying to prevent Rubio from getting momentum. Trump hurt Cruz in recent days by charging that Cruz was lying about his record. Another problem for Cruz is that exit polling found many more voters found he ran an “unfair” campaign in South Carolina than Rubio.
MARCO RUBIO – This next ten days will show whether Rubio can really rise to the challenge against Donald Trump, or if Trump is just too powerful at this point. Rubio’s second place finish in South Carolina was a big deal, but now he must follow through on that – like by finishing second to Trump in Nevada at a minimum. Rubio stopped outside of Nashville on Sunday and drew an estimated 4,000 people, a huge crowd for anyone but Trump. With Jeb Bush gone, Rubio has the chance to jump up in this race, but where can he win on March 1?
JOHN KASICH – Kasich’s momentum after his surprise second place finish in New Hampshire faded away in South Carolina, leading to a distant fifth place finish. Kasich has decided to skip Nevada and instead is already campaigning in Super Tuesday states like Vermont, Massachusetts and Virginia. But Kasich may be hard pressed to keep his bid going, especially with all the attention on Trump, Rubio and Cruz. The Ohio Governor would love to stay in the conversation so he could be around Michigan (March 8) and his home state (March 15). But that is a long ways away when it comes to a campaign for President.
BEN CARSON – Carson has already issued a campaign schedule for Nevada, and seems in no hurry to get out of this race. There is a big argument as to who is would help if Carson exited – Trump or Cruz?