News / USA

    Trump, Clinton Lead Before Major Vote

    Trump Trounces Rubio, Cruz in Nevadai
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    February 24, 2016 1:09 PM
    Billionaire Donald Trump easily won Tuesday's Republican presidential caucus in the western state of Nevada -- a victory that added to his already strong momentum toward securing the party's nomination as its candidate in this November's general election. VOA's Richard Green has more from Washington

    Donald Trump won his third victory in four contests with a commanding lead in the Nevada caucus Tuesday, securing his status as the Republican front-runner heading into next week's crucial Super Tuesday votes in more than a dozen states.

    The win follows his first-place finishes in New Hampshire and South Carolina, two states no candidate has won without going on to become the Republican nominee.

    Trump's seemingly inevitable path to the Republican nomination, however, is fueled by a fractured, five-candidate field.

    "Donald Trump still has to prove that in a one-on-one or three-man race, he can consistently get to 35, 40, 45 percent of the vote, or 50 percent. Right now that's still unclear," said analyst Stuart Rothenberg, founder of the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report.

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gives thumbs up as he visits a caucus site, Feb. 23, 2016.
    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gives thumbs up as he visits a caucus site, Feb. 23, 2016.

    The billionaire businessman beat opponents Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Florida Senator Marco Rubio in the Nevada Republican caucus Tuesday with almost 46 percent of the vote. Rubio won second place, but with a lead of less than 2,000 votes over Cruz. 

    Ohio Governor John Kasich and retired surgeon Ben Carson placed fourth and fifth respectively.

    The win in Nevada garnered Trump his first congressional endorsements Wednesday, from New York Republican Rep. Chris Collins and Rep. Duncan Hunter, a Republican from California.

    Recent public opinion polls show Trump leading in the majority of Super Tuesday states. William Galston, a senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution, said the chances of stopping Trump in a divided field are not high.

    "People who say they support Mr. Trump are typically very committed to him and they come out and vote for him, so there's a reasonably good case, based on experience so far, to take the surveys seriously," he said.

    Path forward for Rubio

    Rubio solidified his position as the Republican alternative to Trump by securing several key party endorsements, while benefiting from the failure of one-time front-runner Jeb Bush, who faltered and dropped out of the race after the South Carolina primary. 

    Supporters cheer during a caucus night rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, Feb. 23, 2016.
    Supporters cheer during a caucus night rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, Feb. 23, 2016.

    Rubio has not yet won a caucus or primary, and has trailed at least 10 percentage points behind Trump in each of those votes. Rothenberg said Rubio's path forward is "narrow but simple" and involves waiting until the middle of March for primaries in Ohio, Illinois and Florida that award significant numbers of delegates.

    "I wouldn't expect any dramatic movement on his part until the middle of March and that means staying alive, convincing his donors that he's still credible, convincing folks in the media that he's still credible," he said.

    Just as Trump benefits from a fractured field, Rubio benefits from fewer challengers. After a strong second-place finish in New Hampshire, Kasich came in fifth in South Carolina and Nevada. He remains in the race, but with little hope of securing the nomination.

    "If I were Marco Rubio, I would size up the situation," Galston said. "I would say to Mr. Kasich, 'John, you can't win the nomination, but you can sure keep me from winning the nomination and in the process hand over the Republican party to Mr. Trump. So why don't you and I get together and you agree to bow out?"

    WATCH: Trump and Cruz supporters in Nevada

    Trump, Cruz Supporters Stump in Nevadai
    X
    February 23, 2016 12:52 PM
    VOA Talks to Donald Trump and Ted Cruz supporters in Nevada.

    The other remaining candidate, Cruz, said he was looking forward to returning to his home state of Texas, one of the states voting on Super Tuesday, after his third-place finish in Nevada.

    Cruz said he was looking forward to returning to his home state of Texas, one of many states voting on Super Tuesday, after his third place finish in Nevada. Cruz's poor showing among his core base of evangelical voters in South Carolina contributed to another third-place finish, but he pointed to his caucus win in Iowa, saying, "The only campaign that has beaten Donald Trump and the only campaign that can beat Donald Trump is this campaign."

    Cruz leads in polls in Texas and neighboring Arkansas, but his path forward is unclear.

    "Cruz has framed his appeal quite narrowly and specifically,” Galston said. “There's a ceiling on his support. He has been unable to commandeer the loyalties of more than one-fifth of the Republican base, and that's just not enough.”

    A supporter watches as returns come in during a caucus night rally for Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Feb. 23, 2016.
    A supporter watches as returns come in during a caucus night rally for Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Feb. 23, 2016.

    After the March 1 Super Tuesday vote, more than 700 delegates will have been awarded, nearly one-third of the Republican total.

    Democrats' final stop

    Democratic presidential candidates face a final test Saturday in South Carolina, before heading into Super Tuesday voting. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders face off again after Clinton's win in Nevada's Democratic caucus.

    "The road ahead for her over the next two weeks looks really appealing and attractive, and I think she will build up some momentum," Rothenberg said.

    Clinton won the support of Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid on Wednesday, following her Nevada caucus win.

    She is expected to do well in South Carolina due to significant support among African-American voters and the endorsement of the state's influential congressman, James Clyburn. A win Saturday will boost Clinton's argument that she will be a stronger candidate than Sanders in the November national general election.

    PHOTO GALLERY: Presidential candidates build momentum

    • Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, is flanked by his two sons, Donald Trump Jr., left, and Eric, while speaking at a caucus night rally Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016.
    • Voters line up outside a Republican caucus site, Feb. 23, 2016, in Las Vegas.
    • Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson speaks to reporters during a campaign stop in Las Vegas, Nevada, Feb. 23, 2016.
    • Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton takes pictures with supporters after a campaign event at the Central Baptist Church in Columbia, S.C., Feb. 23, 2016.
    • U.S. Democratic presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders greets audience members at a campaign rally in Norfolk, Virginia Feb. 23, 2016.
    • Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gives thumbs up as he visits a caucus site, Feb. 23, 2016.
    • Supporters cheer during a caucus night rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, Feb. 23, 2016.
    • Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., gives a thumbs up during campaign event, Feb. 23, 2016 in Kentwood, Mich.
    • Republican U.S. presidential candidate Ted Cruz addresses supporters at a rally after the Nevada Republican caucuses in Las Vegas, Nevada Feb. 23, 2016.

    Katherine Gypson

    Katherine Gypson is a reporter for VOA’s News Center in Washington, D.C.  Prior to joining VOA in 2013, Katherine produced documentary and public affairs programming in Afghanistan, Tunisia and Turkey. She also produced and co-wrote a 12-episode road-trip series for Pakistani television exploring the United States during the 2012 presidential election. She holds a Master’s degree in Journalism from American University. Follow her @kgyp

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: kushal kumar from: Panchkula- India
    February 26, 2016 1:46 AM
    . While making predictions for US in article - " Astrological probable alerts for US in year 2016" - published last year on 15 October 2015 in online magazine thesop.org, one of the predictions made by this Vedic astrology writer to happen in US in 2016 is that US glory will be very much talked about and be in focus. So here Donald .J. Trump , aspirant for Republican Party nomination in race to US Presidential election 2016 is telling the American people that he is the only one who will make America great again. So prediction of this writer has come precisely accurate.


    by: RS
    February 24, 2016 3:13 PM
    Canada loves you Donald J. Trump. Incredible how mainstream media, including the BBC, is against Trump. Are they frightend that maybe one day Europeans will look at Trump's agenda?
    In Response

    by: Marcus Aurelius II from: NJ USA
    February 25, 2016 9:45 AM
    If BBC and Europe don't like Donald Trump, he must be good. They loved Barack Obama and look at what we got when their wish came true. Of course Americans not only don't listen to outsiders, they aren't influenced by them either. While Britain debates whether or not it is fit to govern itself or should continue to put itself in the "capable" hands of Brussels, that kind of debate was settled one can for all in America in 1776. They certainly weren't fit to govern us.

    by: Tom (Canada)
    February 24, 2016 4:20 AM
    Congratulations to Trump!!! End of controlled media and censorship. America will be great again.
    In Response

    by: Lou from: Atlanta
    February 24, 2016 10:54 AM
    Wait till Super Tuesday. You ain't seen nothing yet!
    In Response

    by: meanbill from: USA
    February 24, 2016 9:34 AM
    Trump is intelligent to know that if he got 46% of the vote, that means there was 54% voting against him? .. So he knows, the fight for the republican nomination is far from over? .. And don't forget that Nevada votes Democratic in presidential elections?

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