March 2, 2016

Cornell Professors Weigh in On Super Tuesday Results

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After Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump emerged as victors from Super Tuesday, Prof. William Jacobson, law, and Prof. M. Elizabeth Sanders, government, shared their beliefs about what the results imply for the 2016 presidential election.

Clinton and Trump were both declared victors in seven primaries. Bernie Sanders won the remaining four states in the Democratic primaries, while Republicans Ted Cruz was victorious in two states and Marco Rubio in one.

Prof. Sanders said that she believes these election results demonstrate the contention and controversy that have characterized this election cycle, calling the victories the product of “remarkable times.”­­

“Trump and Clinton just swept the primaries. Rubio has failed the Republican establishment by winning only one state,” she said. “Cruz, on the basis of winning three states — two tonight, plus Iowa — is now positioning himself to the right of Trump, claiming he is the only true conservative.”

Prof. Sanders said she believes that because Clinton is a political candidate, whose principles, like Trump’s, have shown “great flexibility,” she is curious if her more leftist leaning stances would change in the general election.

“An important question is whether Clinton, who in her speech Tuesday night clearly channeled Bernie Sanders, would retain her new Sanders-like commitments in the general election and the presidency,” Sanders said. “She is a politician whose principles and policy commitments have, like Trump’s, shown great flexibility.”

The results of Super Tuesday make Trump the likely Republican nominee, absent the narrowing the field of candidates to a single contender, a strategy which could result in a more united force of opposition countering Trump, according to Jacobson.

“After tonight, unless the Republican field narrows to a single main challenger, Donald Trump will be the nominee even though in most states he’s not breaking the 40 percent barrier,” he said.

Jacobson also shared his speculations about which Republican candidate could face-off against Trump as a single challenger.

“Cruz would seem the logical challenger since he has won three states, but the GOP establishment hates Cruz even more than it hates Trump,” Jacobson said.

“Rubio could be an establishment alternative, but he seems to hold more promise than performance.”

Although Jacobson said he believes the only way to prevent Trump from gaining the nomination would be to narrow the Republican candidates to a single challenger, he said he believes this option is growing increasingly unlikely.

“In the present posture … it seems likely [that] both Cruz and Rubio will stay in at least through the mid-March, winner-take-all primaries, and that benefits Trump who may pick up boatloads of delegates without ever winning a majority of the popular vote,” he said.

Unlike Jacobson, Sanders said she believes that the Super Tuesday results reveal that fight for the Republican nomination has narrowed to Cruz and Trump.

“So, while Trump may have hoped to keep Cruz in the race to block Rubio, the stage is now set for a very hostile fight to the finish between Cruz and Trump, one of which will it seems safe to say — carry the Republican flag against Hillary Clinton.”

Cruz and Trump’s primary victories reveal the disenchantment many Americans feel from the Republican elite, according to Sanders.

“Much is at stake here,” Sanders said. “Trump and Cruz are both unpredictable candidates outside the center of their party. Their strength tells us that there is great unhappiness with the Republican elite, and the solutions they offer their voters could lead to great domestic conflict.”

Sanders said she believes a Trump-Clinton race could converge on key issues.

“A Trump-Clinton election contest would be extremely negative, but they may not be very far apart on major economic or foreign policy issues,” Sanders said. “Clinton may even be the more conservative of the two.”

  • chichina

    Would love to see a Clinton-Sanders ticket. Any chance of that happening?

  • Cynthia Loring MacBain, class of ’60

    I’d love to see a Hillary Clinton-Elizabeth Warren ticket — but if we could get a Democratic majority in the Senate and have Elizabeth Warren as Senate Majority Leader, then women really would change America for the better. Wouldn’t Emma Sheffield Eastman (the first woman to attend Cornell) and May Preston (the first woman to get her PhD from Cornell) be cheering wherever they are!

  • David Wallace

    Trump-Susana Martinez ticket sounds good to me.

  • Dan Smyth

    This piece is hardly objective. Yes, Trump will most likely be the candidate for the Republican Party as he is crushing every other republican contender. Clinton on the other hand is not the heir to the democratic throne as all major news outlets and apparently this periodical predict. Bernie Sanders won 4 states on Super Tuesday, taking his home state so handily that Clinton was considered non-viable and he took every single delegate. In Massachusetts, the vote was so close that the delegates were basically split as in Iowa. He kept it close in Nevada and was crushed in South Carolina. The states that Clinton won on Super Tuesday were all southern republican states that will not go to the Democrats in November. Bernie took swing democratic states and by a considerable margin when polls were predicting that it would be close or a slight favor to Clinton.

    Clinton was on the ground in many states months before Bernie was. She has instant name recognition among every American and she is overwhelming endorsed by the majority of the democratic establishment. She has the backing of SuperPacs and is running a negative campaign against Sanders universal healthcare plan (One she once supported and believed inevitable) and his free public university plan (Clinton believes that rich kids shouldn’t get to go to public college for free).

    Bernie raised $10M more than Clinton in February from individual contributions averaging around $30. He is heading into more favorable territory in the coming weeks and months. The more time he is in the race and more that his message is spread, (even with an almost complete media blackout) the more people will vote for him.

    There is no doubt that Hillary Clinton is the front runner, but to call this primary election and completely ignore the fact that Bernie Sanders is currently giving Hillary Clinton a run for her money is shameful. If you look at Bernie Sanders delegate count he is not far off from Obama (the other candidate that couldn’t win) in 2008. He has already surpassed Obama in fundraising. All I ask, is that you give him his due.

  • Many Republicans are–belatedly–fighting back against Trump, and if he his the nominee will vote for Clinton or possibly even Sanders. See RINOcracy.com, “Stupor Tuesday.”

    Doug Parker “56, LL.B. ’58