Super Tuesday was the night for Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton. Each claimed 7 out of 11 victories in the primary elections, solidifying the likelihood of being their respective party’s nominees.
Trump gained 315 delegates overall—99 more than his closest rival—Ted Cruz. Trump won votes throughout the conservative South in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia, as well as the Northern states of Massachusetts and Vermont.
Sen. Ted Cruz won his home state of Texas, Oklahoma and Alaska. And Florida Sen. Marco Rubio got his first win in Minnesota.
On the Democratic side, Clinton now has a total of 386 delegates to Sanders’ 248. She picked up strong support among Southern African-American voters in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia, and in Massachusetts.
Sanders won his own state, Vermont, along with Colorado, Minnesota and Oklahoma.
Trump, who is considered by traditional Republicans as a “loose cannon,” has defied conventional wisdom. He insults Hispanics, wants to ban Muslims in America and was harshly criticized for not distancing himself from white supremacist supporters until he was pressured to, and this has conservatives worried.
On Wednesday, Sen. Lindsay Graham told CBS News’ Charlie Rose, that Trump’s anti-diversity stance has hurt the party. If Trump becomes the GOP nominee, he will lose against Clinton in November, he said.
“The Hispanic community is trying to tell us that they want to be Republicans, we just won’t let them. We may be in a position that we may have to rally around Ted Cruz to stop Donald Trump.
“This is what I’m going to say to Republicans when we lose: ‘I told you the immigration issue is killing us.’ Have you ever heard of the statement, ‘too big to fail?’ Well, we’re too stubborn to win. Please quit beating up on the Hispanic community, stop saying they are rapists because they’re not. We are driving away the fastest demographic in the country.”
CBS News Contributor Bob Schieffer said the GOP didn’t take Trump seriously, but now they understand that “He could very well be the nominee. They are trying to figure out what to do about that.”
He told MSNBC News anchor Contessa Brewer that he has never seen such a high level of division within the party. “We have reached a point where money has just overwhelmed the process. Serious people don’t want to fool with it anymore. Then you’re left with those who are willing to fool with it. Then you have the cast of characters that you have seen. . .” He said there may be a “whole realignment” of the Republican Party.
Schieffer doesn’t see Cruz as a viable alternate:
“Ted Cruz has no friends among the Senate in the United States. He wears that like a badge of honor. He went on the Senate floor and called the Republican leader (Sen. Mitch McConnell) a liar.” Leaders in the Republican Party are trying to figure out a way to have an open convention to prevent Trump from getting the nomination, Schieffer said, but admitted that it would be a long shot.
Graham said Cruz has “an 80% disapproval rating, with growth potential.”
On Sunday evening, GOP Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse became the first member of Congress to join the #NeverTrump movement. He said he would not vote for Trump or Clinton, but would look for a third-party alternative.
Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican nominee, will address the state of the GOP race on Thursday. The speech is expected to include criticism of Trump.
While it is not yet clear what Republicans will do, the Clinton camp is betting their candidate will be the one to end Trump’s bid for the White House. Pundits say, however, don’t count Sanders out. He has deep pockets and is expected to go the distance.