Super Tuesday’s matchups marked an important milestone for the 2016 Presidential Election. As many polls and pundits predicted, the two winners of the night were Donald Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Both Senator Ted Cruz and Senator Bernie Sanders, however, were able to pick up a few critical wins to remain viable alternatives to the frontrunners.
Notably, Super Tuesday illustrated just how deeply Trump and his rhetoric have captured the Republican primary electorate. He won seven of the 11 states that voted. He also won over a diverse voter base – from white, working-class moderate voters in New England to evangelical voters in the Deep South. More than 8.5 million Republicans cast ballots on Super Tuesday, shattering turnout numbers from 2012 and reflecting the record numbers set during the 2008 Democratic primary. Comparatively, Democrat voters, while passionate, fell short of the GOP turnout with approximately 5.9 million voters casting their ballot.
Separate and apart from the conversation about the likelihood of Trump’s nomination, we really ought to keep our ears to the ground about the elements of Trump’s message that resonate with so many Americans. After all, 50 percent of Republican primary voters have taken to the polls to give him their support. Still there is a deep concern brewing over Trump’s prospects in the fall. Notable figures within the GOP establishment – including former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential candidate from the past two elections – have publicly questioned Trump’s suitability for the presidency.
On the other end of the spectrum, we also cannot dismiss the central message of Senator Sanders’ campaign and his calls for a “political revolution.” Despite Secretary Clinton’s growing momentum, Senator Sanders may represent the American mindset more closely than the Democratic primary contest results have indicated.
The 2016 Presidential Election has been characterized by anti-establishment candidates on both sides of the aisle. Regardless of whom we elect as our next president, the Democratic and Republican parties owe it to their voters to take time to listen to and reflect on Americans’ calls for change and their dissatisfaction with the current political landscape as we look beyond 2016 and to our future as one united nation.
To continue the conversation, connect with Thomas P. O’Neill III on Twitter or by phone at (617) 646-1000.