Trump, Clinton for White House showdown - Emirates24|7

Trump, Clinton for White House showdown

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Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump piled up the wins on Super Tuesday, US networks projected, putting the pair closer to presidential nominations.

Ted Cruz managed a critical win in his home state of Texas over Trump, and another in Oklahoma.

Bernie Sanders defeated Clinton in four states: Colorado, Minnesota, Oklahoma and his home state of Vermont.

Republican Marco Rubio notched his first victory of the campaign, taking the Minnesota caucus.

Here is a state-by-state breakdown of projected winners on the pivotal day of the 2016 White House race:

Alabama Republican: Donald Trump
Democrat: Hillary Clinton

Alaska Republican: unknown

Arkansas Republican: Donald Trump
Democrat: Hillary Clinton

Colorado Democrat: Bernie Sanders

Georgia Republican: Donald Trump
Democrat: Hillary Clinton

Massachusetts Republican: Donald Trump
Democrat: Hillary Clinton

Minnesota Republican: Marco Rubio
Democrat: Bernie Sanders

Oklahoma Republican: Ted Cruz
Democrat: Bernie Sanders

Tennessee Republican: Donald Trump
Democrat: Hillary Clinton

Texas Republican: Ted Cruz
Democrat: Hillary Clinton

Vermont Republican: Donald Trump
Democrat: Bernie Sanders

Virginia Republican: Donald Trump
Democrat: Hillary Clinton

TOTAL WINS - Democrats:

Hillary Clinton: 7
Bernie Sanders: 4

Republicans:
Donald Trump: 7
Ted Cruz: 2
Marco Rubio: 1

Conventional wisdom says a Donald Trump nomination should bring presidential election gold for Democrat Hillary Clinton -- but given how the brash billionaire has outperformed expectations at every turn, it might not be so simple.

Analysts and experts who spoke with AFP acknowledged that Trump's strong performance on Super Tuesday, when millions of Democrats and Republican voters in a dozen states chose their nominee, put him in the driver's seat on the road to the GOP nominating convention in July.

From there, it would be a head-to-head battle against the Democratic nominee, most likely Clinton, who dominated rival Bernie Sanders in seven of the 11 states where party voters had their say Tuesday.

At first glance, the experience and temperament of a former secretary of state, senator and first lady would be enough to see her soar against a politically untested, deeply controversial billionaire who has yet to flesh out many of his policies.

"It certainly would be a good thing" for Democrats, Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute said about a Trump nomination.

A recent CNN poll showed Clinton beating Trump 52 per cent to 44 per cent among registered voters in a hypothetical matchup. Other polls have reflected similar results for months.

But a November Clinton victory is "no sure thing," Ornstein cautioned.

"Big divisions in the Republican Party are good for Democrats, but that doesn't mean if Donald Trump is the nominee that there is certainty that he'll lose."

Trump's appeal

Trump has rallied supporters with his politically incorrect talk about immigrants and trade.

But he has ruptured the party with his hostility: he has called some Mexicans rapists, urged a ban on Muslims entering the United States, mocked women and the disabled, prompting outcries from establishment Republicans.

Many experts have assumed that Trump's insults, exaggerations and taunts will hurt him in November.

But the 69-year-old real estate mogul appears to operate in an alternate reality, unrestrained by traditional political rules.

This is an election dominated by the unbridled fury at establishment politics. That bodes well for the ultimate outsider who has spent months jabbing a finger in Washington's eye.

"Trump has broad appeal," Republican strategist Brad Marston of Massachusetts said.

"Yes, he has incredibly high negatives, but both on the left and right, people are tired of their leaders lying to them."

Clinton, meanwhile, is the ultimate establishment candidate, who polls poorly with voters on honesty and trustworthiness.

Marston points out that there was record turnout in the first four primary races, beginning with Iowa and New Hampshire.

"People are being drawn out of the woodwork to vote for Trump," and that can happen too in November, he said.

But the Republican "train wreck" can also energize Democrats in the presidential election, argued Bakari Sellers, a Democratic former lawmaker in South Carolina's state legislature.

"The biggest push for Democratic base voters to come out is Donald Trump," he told CNN. "We haven't had a better motivator for African-American and Hispanic voters to come out and vote Democratic in a long time."

'Clenched fist'

Clinton has already begun shifting her campaign talk toward the general election.

On Tuesday in Minnesota, the 68-year-old assailed Republicans for "running their campaigns based on insults."

"I don't think that's appropriate in a presidential campaign," she said.

Trump signalled Tuesday he is ready to go to war against Clinton and that their showdown will be "pretty tough."

Savouring his victories, he signalled he could moderate his tone as he shifts to the general election, even praising the work of women's health provider Planned Parenthood, which conservatives loathe for its abortion practices.

"Planned Parenthood has done very good work for some, for millions of women," Trump said.

"I'm going to be good for women's health issues. It's very important to me. Maybe that's not a perfect conservative view," he said.

Marston had a message to Democrats: dismiss nominee Trump at your peril.

"There's a good chance he's being underestimated," Marston said. "A lot of people doing the estimating don't like him in the first place."

Some Democrats have gleefully welcomed a Clinton-Trump showdown, but Hillary's team is holding back.

"We've always taken Donald Trump seriously," her campaign chairman John Podesta told CNN.

The New York Times reported that Team Clinton has begun tailoring a strategy to portray Trump as a heartless businessman, a misogynist, and a dangerous blowhard unfit to be president.

David Axelrod, architect of Barack Obama's historic 2008 campaign, warned that Democrats must hit Trump on his business record and opportunism, rather than challenge him on the issues.

After all, it is an anti-establishment year when rage is the constant.

"There are a lot of folks out there who want to deal the system a punch in the face," Axelrod told Vox, "and Donald Trump is the clenched fist."

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UPDATE: MARCO RUBIO PROJECTED TO WIN REPUBLICAN CONTEST IN MINNESOTA - AP

Donald Trump has won at least 139 Super Tuesday delegates, while Ted Cruz has won at least 52.

There are 595 Republican delegates at stake in 11 states.

Marco Rubio has won at least 25 delegates and John Kasich has won at least 13. So far, Ben Carson has picked up two delegates in Virginia.

Overall, Trump leads with 221 delegates. Cruz has 69, Rubio has 41, Kasich has 19 and Carson has seven.

It takes 1,237 delegates to win the Republican nomination for president.

DONALD TRUMP PROJECTED WINNER OF REPUBLICAN PRIMARY IN ARKANSAS - AP

Bernie Sanders wins Oklahoma primary: US networks

Republican Ted Cruz wins Oklahoma primary: US networks

Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton rolled up a series of big primary wins on Tuesday, as the two presidential front-runners looked to take command of their party nominating battles on the 2016 campaign's biggest night of voting.
 
US networks projected Trump won five states and Clinton won six states on Super Tuesday, when 12 states were voting.
 
Trump won Alabama, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee and Virginia, while Clinton won Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

But Ted Cruz, a US senator from Texas, won his home state and neighbouring Oklahoma, stopping Trump's winning streak and giving hope to Republicans looking for a way to stop Trump's potential rise to the nomination.
 
Opinion polls heading into the voting had shown Trump leading in most of the 12 states up for grabs, raising the possibility of a big night that would intensify worries among Republican leaders who fear the billionaire could inflict long-term damage on the party.
 
Exit polls and early results showed Arkansas and Vermont were too close to call for Republicans, networks said. For Democrats, Massachusetts and Oklahoma were too close to call.
 
Clinton, the former secretary of state, hoped to win enough states to take a big step toward wrapping up her nomination fight with rival Bernie Sanders, a democratic socialist US senator from Vermont.
 
"The stakes in this election have never been higher and the rhetoric we're hearing on the other side has never been lower," Clinton, 68, told supporters in Miami. "Trying to divide America between us and them is wrong, and we're not going to let it work."
 
Sanders won his home state of Vermont, one of five states he was targeting for victory on Tuesday. He thanked cheering supporters in his hometown of Burlington, Vermont, and assailed the Republican front-runner.
 
"We are not going to let the Donald Trumps of the world divide us," Sanders said, adding that he expected to pile up "hundreds" of convention delegates in voting on Tuesday.
 
Super Tuesday is the biggest single day of state-by-state contests to select party nominees for the Nov. 8 election to succeed Democratic President Barack Obama. Voting stretches from eastern states to Texas and Minnesota.
 
Trump, 69, has worried many in the Republican establishment with proposals such as building a wall along the US southern border with Mexico, deporting 11 million illegal immigrants and slapping a temporary ban on Muslims entering the country.
 
But while his campaign has confounded many Republican leaders, the New York real estate developer cites his high poll numbers as proof he is not dividing the party but expanding its ranks. He preached unity as he looked beyond the day's voting to campaign in Ohio, which votes on March 15.

Trump looks to expand lead
 
With a string of victories on Tuesday, Trump would expand his strong lead over Cruz, US Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, Ohio Governor John Kasich and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson.
 
Voting with his wife in Houston, Cruz, 45, said he hoped Republicans would see a narrower field emerge on Wednesday.
 
"For any candidate that wakes up tomorrow morning who hasn't won any states ... I think it's time to start thinking about coming together and unifying and presenting a clear choice,"  said Cruz, the only Republican to win a state contest besides Trump to date.
 
Even as Trump advances, many Republican Party leaders do not support him and worry that he would be easily defeated in November if Clinton became the Democratic nominee.
 
The crossfire between Trump and establishment Republicans threatened to rip the party apart at a time when it will need to generate momentum behind a prospective nominee. That worries some Republican strategists looking ahead to the nominating convention in July.
 
"If Trump continues winning, disappointed party elites will need to reconcile with supporting the party nominee," said Tim Albrecht, a Republican strategist in Iowa.
 
On the Democratic side, Clinton took advantage of her strong performance with black voters to cruise to big wins in several Southern states, where blacks make up a big bloc of the Democratic electorate.
 
In addition to his home state of Vermont, Sanders had been aiming for wins in four other states on Tuesday - neighbouring Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Minnesota and Colorado.

While some Democrats have begun to question whether Sanders should continue his challenge to Clinton, he made it clear that he had no intention of dropping out anytime soon.
 
"At the end of tonight, 15 states will have voted, 35 states remain," Sanders said in Vermont.
 
"And let me assure you that we are going to take our fight for economic justice, for social justice, for environmental sanity, for a world of peace to every one of those states."

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