U.S. Studies Online and the Centro Interuniversitario di Storia e Politica Euro-Americana (CISPEA) postgraduate group (www.ceraunavoltalamerica.it) are pleased to present a recurring summary of the key developments in the lead up to the US Presidential Election 2016. This update will appear fortnightly on U.S. Studies Online and we encourage responses and comments.
Last Saturday’s long-awaited competition saw a 10-point victory for Donald Trump, Jeb Bush’s decision to drop out of the race and a big sigh of relief for Hillary Clinton. Nevada and South Carolina’s results finally put an end to a long debate, which was mainly focused on New Hampshire’s impact and its reflections on both sides.
After Bernie Sanders’s success in gathering $6.4 million within the 24 hours following the close of polling, Thomas Piketty has questioned how US Senator for Vermont could be able to express anger at rising inequality and to stimulate the opening of a new and changed political era. Using these lenses could be valuable to read new Hillary Clinton’s loss, since Richard Trumka has stated that AFL-CIO would remain neutral in the presidential primaries.
After John Kasich’s short resurrection and Trump’s first crushing victory, Republicans have focused on Cruz and Rubio’s unresolved race for second place in South Carolina.
While Governor Nikki Haley endorsed Rubio, Cruz had concentrated his discourse on national security, addressing veterans and military families. However, Trump’s leading position was unbeatable, conquering the favor of men, women, evangelicals and under 50.
Democrats were actually the main actors in pursuit of votes from women and minorities. Nevada’s caucus has highlighted this state’s importance, despite its low turnout, to scrutinize voting behaviors of increasing and more powerful minorities.
Latinos revealed their increasing political participation supporting Sanders, who won 68% to 28% among minorities under 45 years old, while African Americans threw their support behind Hillary Clinton, surely affecting expectations about the upcoming polls.
It is not just a coincidence that, looking at February 27 elections, Sanders met Al Sharpton and other civil rights leaders, while Hillary Clinton, addressing Harlem’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, promoted a $125 billion plan to help poor communities, for instance through re-entry programs and job training.
African American women are expected to be the key factor in South Carolina’s democratic primaries, showing one more time that women, not just for gender politics, will be the main actors in the next election rounds.
As it has been demonstrated by The New York Times’ definition of a generational schism, young women have definitely abandoned Hillary Clinton, making her staff consider new strategies to address the growing electoral power of Millennials, who gave a 59-point victory to Sanders in New Hampshire.
In this relative uncertainty looking forward to Super Tuesday, still blurry debates on Antonin Scalia’s successor have contributed to warm the presidential primaries elections up, forewarning how future Supreme Court configuration would be one of the most important issues in the next few weeks.
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Many thanks to the Italian postgraduates of CISPEA for this update.