The Bush Political Dynasty Crumbled at the Polls This Weekend
The weekends are usually made for partying and sleeping in past noon. And, while we did do both of those things, this was also a game-changing weekend for the race to the White House. Two states held primaries on Saturday split along party lines, with Nevada holding its Democratic caucus and South Carolina hosting the Republican primary. If you’re asking yourself why the parties didn’t just hold contests in the same state at the same time like they did in Iowa and New Hampshire, we ask that you remember this is American politics. In America, we decide presidential candidates by coin toss and million dollar donations. Before we head into the final round of primaries ahead of March’s Super Tuesday contest, here’s who won, who’s done, and what it all means.
After a landslide victory in South Carolina, there may be no stopping Donald Trump from securing the GOP nomination. That’s also the most terrifying sentence we’ve ever written, besides the one time we said Catwoman wasn’t as bad as we thought it was. Before you book your one-way ticket out of the country and say your final goodbyes to high cholesterol, mass shootings, and all of the other staples of American life, just know that the Trump crisis may somehow still end on a positive note. Marco Rubio had his operating system upgraded to fix his glitches, and he ended up edging out a second place win against Ted Cruz by less than a percentage point.
Meanwhile, Nevada Democrats took a break from the slot machines and warm weather to head over to caucusing sites for another confusing round of standing in groups and wondering why they couldn’t just place a traditional vote. Nevada should have been a landslide for Hillary Clinton, after she lead polls by double digits for months. But, by the end, she ended up with only a 5% lead over Bernie Sanders for the win in the Battle Born state. That gave her a four delegate lead over Sanders, and provided endless talking points to spin into positive PR as the two move toward March’s Super Tuesday battle. The upcoming South Carolina primary happens before Super Tuesday, but is already set to be a landslide win for Hillary—the only newsworthy moment will be how bad Bernie does with black voters there.
Watching Jeb! At the Disco choke back tears as he conceded defeat on Saturday was almost as sad as saying goodbye to Martin O’Malley’s abs. The little Bush that couldn’t poured resources and a hundred million dollars into following in his brother’s footsteps, but he was cut down like a Kraken by Trump’s unstoppable surge. It was a powerful moment, given that the American political system has sent two Bush men into the White House, but failed to stop a racist billionaire who has made the campaign trail into one long Jerry Springer episode. Then again, it’s hard to hear the word Bush and not think about the financially disastrous and unnecessary bloody eight years that Dubya spent in the White House before Obama took over. In the face of an overwhelming wave of crazy that’s risen to the surface of the GOP race, we’ll miss Jeb and his affinity for exclamation points.
For those hoping to see Bernie win Nevada, we’ve got bad news. The fervor that has overtaken young people who are predominantly white is simply not sticking with voters of color—and that’s a huge problem moving forward. Entrance polls in the state showed Hillary’s firewall among black voters held strong, as she took three quarters of their votes, while Bernie’s reliance on young voters and independents backfired. Only 80,000 voters turned out on Saturday, which is 40,000 less than 2008’s numbers.
What it All Means
As the parties swap, Democrats head to the polls in South Carolina while Republicans try to get lucky in Nevada this week. The results will be interesting but, at this point, both contests feel more like an appetizer before March 1’s Super Tuesday contest, which is when over a dozen states will head to the polls to vote on their nominees. With Jeb!? heading home to let the teardrops fall on his guitar, it will be interesting to see who takes second place to Trump’s inevitable win in Nevada. As for Sanders, it’ll take a small miracle to block Clinton from taking South Carolina in a landslide but, then again, miracles have happened already—just look at Kasich’s bizarre second place win back in New Hampshire. What a time to be alive.
GIF art by Kathryn Chadason. Additional imagery via John Locher and Jim Young.
Stay tuned to Milk for more political coverage.