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Presidential primaries break records 

By: David Brown, Lion’s Eye Editor, dvb5451@psu.edu

The 2016 Presidential race has been like no other with record turnout for Republicans and an almost too-close-to-call race between the Democratic nominees.

After many primaries and mass media uproars, voting for the next candidate for President of the United States, is complete in multiple states. Both Republicans and Democrats started their campaigns in Iowa, where the rules are a little different when it comes to voting.

Unlike most states, the Iowa caucus takes about an hour. The Republican candidates, or a representative, stumps to convince Iowans to vote for them. After each representative or candidate pleads their case, the voters then privately vote.

The Democrats’ caucus is a bit different; voters break into groups for who they support and whoever has the bigger group wins that state. If a group doesn’t get at least 15% of the voters in that state, those voters must pick between the remaining candidates with at least 15%.

In this year’s Iowa caucus, that scenario was illustrated when Governor Martin O’ Malley wasn’t able to get 15 percent of voters in an acceptable amount of states. His remaining voters were persuaded by Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders supporters to join their groups.

Clinton and Sanders’ races were close from the beginning and it ended with both candidates giving victory speeches.
Controversy swirled after Clinton won Iowa by a narrow margin, because of how the tie breakers were conducted.

In Iowa, and surprisingly some other states, the tie breakers are decided by a coin toss. Yes, a coin toss. Throughout social media, outraged Sanders’ supporters pleaded unfairness and a recount that was never granted.
Although Clinton technically won, overall, Iowa was already predicted to be an easy win for Clinton. Sanders has since gained a great deal of money and support.

Controversy surrounded the Republican Iowa race as well. With Donald Trump leading the polls, he made a political decision that may have cost him the state of Iowa.

“I think some people were disappointed that I didn’t go into the debate,” Trump said, after coming in second to Ted Cruz.

Three days before the voting began, Fox News was hosting the Republican debate where one of the moderators would have been Megyn Kelly. Kelly and Trump have been known adversaries.

“Mr. Trump, one of the things people love about you is you speak your mind and you don’t use a politician’s filter,” Kelly said. “However, that is not without its downsides, in particular, when it comes to women. You’ve called women you don’t like ‘fat pigs,’ ‘dogs,’ ‘slobs’ and ‘disgusting animals.”

Kelly went on to ask, “Does that sound to you like the temperament of a man we should elect as president, and how will you answer the charge from Hillary Clinton, who was likely to be the Democratic nominee, that you are part of the war on women?”

After the debate Trump stated that Kelly and Fox News had treated him unfairly. With that said, Trump refused to participate in a debate if Kelly was one of the moderators.

When Fox didn’t budge, Trump kept his promise and held a fundraiser for veterans instead. Trump then placed second in Iowa, behind Senator Ted Cruz, with Senator Marco Rubio in a very close third. While Trump had a small lead going into Iowa, it is hard to tell if that debate was the reason he dropped in the polls.

At that point in the primaries, Republican candidate Carly Fiorina, and Senator Rand Paul suspended their campaigns. On the Democratic side, Governor Martin O’ Malley also suspended his campaign. Only a week after the Iowa caucus, the New Hampshire polls were opened.

Governor John Kasich, who received less than 2 percent of the voters in Iowa, expected a huge turn around in New Hampshire. Kasich actually skipped the state of Iowa all together; instead he campaigned in New Hampshire for nearly two months while other candidates remained in Iowa.

While Trump won New Hampshire with a huge lead, Kasich placed second with Cruz at third and Rubio a close fourth.
For the Democrats, the race had been decided early. Sanders won big, beating Clinton by nearly 23 percent. However, this win was expected since the Senator’s state, Vermont, is directly next to New Hampshire, giving Sanders home field advantage.

The elections for the Democrats then moved to the state of Nevada. Here, Clinton was favored, but, Sanders still hung in the fight. Clinton ended up winning Nevada with 52 percent of votes compared to Sanders 47 percent.

Most people think the race between Sanders and Clinton is close but, when it comes to delegates, Clinton is winning by a huge margin. Clinton has 502 delegates to Sanders’ 70; this is because of super delegates.

Super delegates are democratic elected or former elected officials who, by supporting a certain candidate, reward them with a delegate. Clinton has been given 451 super delegates compared to the 19 Sanders has been handed.
To win the nomination for the Democrats, a candidate must reach 2,383 delegates. That being said, Sanders still has a chance to win, but the race is not as close as it appears. While the Democrats voted in Nevada, the Republicans held their own in South Carolina.

Trump won big again with 10 percent more than Rubio and Cruz. Rubio came second with Cruz coming in third. The other 20 percent was split between Governor Jeb Bush, Governor John Kasich, and Dr. Ben Carson. Bush decided to suspend his campaign after South Carolina, leaving the Republicans with only five remaining candidates.

Donald Trump leads so far with 67 delegates. Ted Cruz has 11, Marco Rubio has 10, John Kasich has 5, and Dr. Ben Carson has 3. To win the Republican nomination a candidate is required to obtain 1,237 delegates.

Even with Trump’s strong lead, there is still time for the other candidates as well. However, if Carson and Kasich don’t gain votes in the next upcoming states they may be at the end of their campaigns. With Cruz and Rubio on the rise, they need to find a way to take votes away from Trump and gain momentum.

With only a few states decided, the race is far from over, but voters have made it obvious who they support. While record turnouts and first time candidates dominate the field, there is no way to predict who will win each nomination.

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