Why you should care
Because the office of the POTUS is at stake, and these latest results will help lock in the next.
Despite a start as soft as a Southern drawl, Super Tuesday didn’t disappoint once the polls started closing: the Donald, favored in 10 out of 12 primary states coming into Tuesday’s vote, was projected to win most, including Georgia, Virginia, Alabama, Massachusetts and Tennessee — though he was expected to lose Texas, Oklahoma and possibly Alaska to his rival Ted Cruz. Meanwhile, for the Democrats, Hillary Clinton pushed ahead with her advantage over Bernie Sanders, with projected wins in Georgia, Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas and Texas, among others, but was expected to lose in Vermont, Minnesota, Colorado and Oklahoma to the Democratic socialist. (See our detailed results, below.)
Here is where the race goes from here:
1. Is Trump Scratching Clinton’s Back? Trump has undeniably stoked voter turnout for the Republican Party, evangelizing new voters in part by ramping up fears over immigration and terrorism. If he becomes the nominee, he will count on those voters to turn out come November. But fear is starting to play a major role in goosing Democratic voting — against Trump. “It’s a scary election,” Susie Sharfman, a 54-year-old college administrator in Atlanta, said. She wasn’t the only one: Many voters told OZY that Trump’s ramped-up rhetoric frightened them and spurred them on to vote. Experts say Clinton, still the Democratic front-runner, hasn’t been able to inspire young progressives and may face low general-election turnout as a result. But if Trump is the nominee, her faults may not matter: Democrats could flock to the polls simply to try to stop Trump.
2. Reading candidates’ tea leaves. Most of the candidates have released their upcoming schedules, and their choices speak volumes. Marco Rubio is already in Florida, not even waiting for the SEC Primary to finish before heading to the panhandle ahead of its March 15 primary. The move suggests that the Sunshine State’s favored son has some work to make up the 20-point difference, in poll averages, between him and Trump. Meanwhile, Cruz heads to Kansas — one of the reddest states in the country — to bolster his crusading conservative reputation in what could be winnable ground. Sanders is also heading to the Sunflower State, after a stop in Maine, while doubling down on his strategy to win low-minority states. And Trump? His schedule has a three-day break — that’s some confidence there, eh? — before rallies in Michigan and Louisiana on Friday.
3. Look to the North. Trump’s appeal in the South is already proven; look no further than South Carolina. That’s why so many pundits called a big SEC Primary win for the billionaire before any votes were cast on Tuesday, and the results backed them up. But the North? With projected wins in New England states Massachusetts and Vermont — despite their relatively few delegates for the GOP — Trump’s gained a suggestion of general-election viability. Pronounced Republicans in those states tend to lean more left or moderate than elsewhere, proving Trump’s potential for crossover appeal. Indeed, a poll by research firm Mercury Analytics says that as many as 20 percent of Democrats might be willing to switch lanes to vote for Trump in a general election. And — if those figures are realistic (some are certainly skeptical) — that could make the difference between a blowout loss come November and, let’s just say it: President Trump.