BY RACHAEL BLANDAU – STAFF WRITER
This week’s South Carolina Primaries ended in landslide victories from the two leading candidates on the Democratic and Republican sides—Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Trump won with 32.5 percent of the vote, and all fifty of the Delegates, while Clinton eviscerated Bernie Sanders, winning 73.5 percent of the vote, and 39 of 53 Delegates.
This resounding victory could be the turning point for public opinion on Donald Trump, and the lynchpin that legitimizes him as a candidate. Although he was the resounding victor in three out of the four primary elections so far, it was still hard to reconcile the man who used to host The Apprentice with the man who wants to run the country. Yet, with Super Tuesday right around the corner, Trump is holding on to a nearly unassailable lead, and polls for the upcoming elections show the same story—at least in the primary elections, Trump is here to stay. After his victory in South Carolina, Trump wrapped up his easy win with praise for the state he’d claimed long before with a few simple words:“ Let’s put this thing away!”
However, Marco Rubio, who came in a distant second at 22.5 percent, is not as ready to give him the win. In fact, Rubio has been quoted many times since the Primary’s culmination that he practically won South Carolina.
“If it is God’s will that we should win this election, then history will say that on this night in South Carolina, we took the first step forward in the beginning of a new American century,” he said.
While increasingly unlikely, victory for Rubio would be the best bet for the establishment Republican base, who do not favor Trump or third place candidate Ted Cruz, viewing them as more radical outsiders.
These radical views seem to be why Trump has so many fans, as people around the nation are starting to desire a different kind of President than the traditional politician. In fact, when the Primary culminated and Jeb Bush dropped out of the race, the last “traditional” hope for the Republican Party died, as the establishment mainstay of the Bush family ended his run. However, the question still stands: why are so many people being drawn in by Trump’s radicalism?
Another candidate that is proposing a changed system, Bernie Sanders, is not faring so well on the Democratic side. Similar to Trump, Sanders is seen as an outsider operating independently from the established Party.
Unlike on the Republican side, the race between Sanders and Clinton has been fairly close. Although Sanders has only won one Primary, he has remained within single digits in several others, and drawn large crowds. Yet, with his giant loss in South Carolina, Sanders could be looking at a long road ahead, as Clinton continues to dominate in every demographic except for voters under 29. While South Carolina seemed to be the turning point in terms of legitimacy for Trump, it was the first occasion where Clinton’s dominance was fully felt. She, too, spoke with confidence after her win, saying, “Tomorrow, this campaign goes national.”
If the statistics are correct, Clinton is right—the recently tallied Super Tuesday results will make her campaign go national, as it hits its stride at the best moment. After votes were tallied, Clinton now leads Sanders with 1,052 delegates to his 427 while Trump leads the Republican race with 319 delegates—93 delegates ahead of Marco Rubio. On the biggest day of the campaign trail so far, there are two candidates—one establishment and one unlike anything we have seen before—easily holding the momentum going forward.