SOMERSET HILLS, NJ - The results are in from the "Super Saturday" presidential primaries and caucuses. For the Democrats, there was no change, as the narrative continues to be that former Secretary of State Clinton is the inevitable nominee. The results on the Republican side signal something different about the status of their frontrunner.
Louisiana held the biggest contest of the day. The results of the Louisiana primary paint two totally different pictures.
On the Democrat side, Clinton rolled up large numbers statewide. Secretary Clinton earned 71.4% of the popular vote statewide, winning handily in all areas of the Bayou State. She won every parish except two. Senator Sanders won only in Cameron Parish and in LaSalle Parish. Both Cameron and LaSalle are lightly populated. Neither Cameron nor LaSalle are home to many Democrats.
The Democrats in Louisiana do not appear to be in revolt against their party leadership. Most, if not all, of the party apparatus supported Clinton there. Senator Sanders did pull of two victories in Maine and in Kansas, but those victories did not distract anyone from the narrative of Clinton inevitability.
In the Republican Party, the aura of inevitablity wore off of frontrunner Donald Trump this weekend. Senator Cruz won convincing victories in Kansas and Maine. Senator Rubio ran away with a landslide victory and twenty-three delegates in Puerto Rico. Trump won in Kentucky and Louisiana.
The numbers in Louisiana tell an interesting story.
The numbers appear to say that Trump did himself some damage by his Thursday night debate performance. On national television in the Fox Network GOP debate, Trump continued to argue on a very personal level with Senator Rubio, and became the first presidential candidate in history to re-assure the voters that he is well-endowed. Many commentators criticized his performance, and wondered if it would affect the votes. The numbers suggest that it did.
According to the writers and analysts at The Hayride, Cruz made up a twenty-two point deficit between the close of early voting on February 28 and the primary. In Louisiana, voters who want to vote early for any election may do so in person at designated locations in the parish from 14 days to seven days prior to any scheduled election. As such, early voting ended a week prior to the primary.
Accoring to The Hayride, the early vote was distributed as follows:
According to the same author, the votes cast on Saturday were distributed as follows:
In one week, Cruz pulled into a statistical dead heat with Trump after losing the early vote by nearly twenty-four per cent. What happened in that one week? First, Super Tuesday happened. On Super Tuesday, Senator Cruz won three states, including the biggest prize of them all, Texas. Second, there was the Fox News debate on Thursday. During the debate, Senator Rubio and Mr. Trump engaged in some playground bickering that many observers considered to be unpresidential, if not profane. Third, Mitt Romney took to the microphone to lay out a case against nominating Mr. Trump.
All three developments appear to have slowed the Trump Train. The #NeverTrump movement has, at least for the moment, had some success. That success came at great personal cost to Senator Rubio. The voters in Louisiana, Kansas, Kentucky and Maine appear to have shown their disapproval of his role of attack dog. It remains to be seen whether the damage is permanent or even fatal to his candidacy. He can take some solace in his blowout win in Puerto Rico today, where he drew 74% of the vote and took home all 23 committed delegates.
Both the Democrat and Republican contests will continue. On Tuesday, the Republicans will hold contests in Hawaii, Idaho, Michigan and Mississippi. On Tuesday, the Democrats will hold contests in Michigan and Mississippi.