On Tuesday night Hillary Clinton won sweeping primary victories in Texas and throughout the South, and Donald Trump won primaries from the Deep South to New England. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz won his home state, Oklahoma and Alaska, Bernie Sanders won four states, and Marco Rubio won Minnesota.
Here are some main points to take away from the Super Tuesday contests:
Hillary on the March
If it wasn’t clear after her blowout South Carolina victory Saturday, it is now: Short of a catastrophic collapse, Hillary Clinton will likely be the Democratic presidential nominee in 2016.
The former secretary of state won seven states Tuesday, with commanding margins across the delegate-rich South.
She won 79% of the vote in Alabama, 71% in Georgia and more than 60% in Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee and Virginia. She even won Massachusetts, with an electorate demographically similar to New Hampshire, where Mr. Sanders took his signature victory.
More important, it is clear after Tuesday that Hispanic voters are with Mrs. Clinton. In Texas, Mrs. Clinton won the Hispanic vote by a 2-1 margin, taking 67% of it compared with 33% for Mr. Sanders. Support among Hispanics was in question after Nevada Caucus entrance polls showed Mr. Sanders winning the vote in that state, even as Mrs. Clinton won heavily Hispanic Clark County by 11 points.
Mr. Sanders won in states with relatively small minority populations—Colorado, Minnesota and Oklahoma, along with his home state of Vermont. The two were virtually tied in Massachusetts.
The Vermont senator also turned out to be something of a more rural candidate than expected. In Massachusetts, Mrs. Clinton carried the counties around Boston and Fall River, while Mr. Sanders carried the exurban and rural communities in western Massachusetts and on Cape Cod. In Virginia, Mr. Sanders lost in the urbanized communities in northern Virginia around Washington, D.C.
The results do nothing to slow Mrs. Clinton’s march toward the nomination and don’t reveal a path for Mr. Sanders to be much more than a party spoiler, accumulating delegates to have a say at the convention.
Trump Turns to the General
The Donald Trump who appeared before reporters at his Palm Beach club sounded like a candidate who believes the Republican primary is in his rearview mirror.
Mr. Trump used most of his time to savage Mrs. Clinton as a creature of government.
“She’s been there for so long. If she hasn’t straightened it out by now, she’s not going to figure it out in the next four years,” he said. A triumphant Mr. Trump was even nice to Ted Cruz, whom he congratulated for winning Texas, though he did mock Marco Rubio as less funny than Don Rickles.
If the Republican establishment thought Mr. Trump would become accommodating in victory, they had another thing coming. Asked at his victory news conference—perhaps a first in recent presidential politics—if he was concerned about House Speaker Paul Ryan’s expressions of concern about Mr. Trump’s rhetoric, the New Yorker said he’d do his best to get along with everyone. Or else.
“I’m sure I’m going to get along with him,” Mr. Trump said. “And if I don’t, he’s going to pay a big price.”
Marco Rubio Is on Life Support
Mr. Rubio won only in Minnesota, losing Virginia after a late push there and, perhaps more harmfully, failed to reach the 20% threshold to win at-large delegates in Texas, Alabama and Vermont.
The immediate postmortem for Mr. Rubio was brutal. Ted Cruz used his victory speech in Texas to call for Mr. Rubio to exit the race.
“For the candidates who have not yet won a state,” Mr. Cruz said, “I ask you to prayerfully consider our coming together, uniting. For those who have supported other candidates, we welcome you on our team uniting as one.”
Then in cable TV interviews, Mr. Rubio had to submit to CNN’s Jake Tapper asking him if he was in “denial” about his prospects. On Fox News, Mr. Rubio explained his second-place finish in Virginia by noting that, “If I didn’t have to share the ballot with two or three other people, I would have won.”
The Floridian pointed to his home state’s March 15 primary as his next big target. But he’s behind Mr. Trump in the polls there, too, though he said he has two weeks to mount a comeback.
Mr. Rubio made waves with his debate performance last week in Houston. Thursday’s Fox News debate in Detroit represents another opportunity for him that he can’t miss.
Ted Cruz May Be the GOP Establishment’s Last Hope to Stop Mr. Trump
Don’t just take it from Mr. Cruz’s call for other candidates to drop out, listen to South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who has criticized the Texan in countless speeches and interviews over the past year.
“We may be in a position where we have to rally around Ted Cruz,” Mr. Graham said onCBS television Tuesday night.
This is the sort of push Mr. Cruz will be trumpeting in the coming days. He will continue to press his argument, repeated during his speech Tuesday night, that he’s the only candidate who has beaten Mr. Trump (even though Mr. Rubio was later announced as the Minnesota winner).
Mr. Cruz is poised to be the chief beneficiary of the coming freakout over Mr. Rubio’s performance. At each stop Mr. Rubio will now face a two-front battle, answering not just for his attacks against Mr. Trump but for why he’s better positioned than Mr. Cruz. Meanwhile, Mr. Cruz is poised to focus entirely on Mr. Trump.
What Is John Kasich Still Doing in the Race?
The Ohio governor was the only Republican to bother campaigning in recent days in Vermont and still he lost there to Mr. Trump. Mr. Kasich campaigned hard in Virginia and finished a distant fourth with 9% support. Other than Vermont, he appeared to place second only in Massachusetts, where he was in a dead heat with Mr. Rubio.
Mr. Kasich’s team tried valiantly to spin the results as the opening move in a long game.
“Since our strong finish in New Hampshire, we’ve been playing an away game, but now the race is moving to our home turf,” Mr. Kasich wrote in a fundraising message to supporters Tuesday night.
But as the campaign moves to the Midwest, with contests in Michigan on March 8 and Ohio a week later, Mr. Kasich finds himself still trailing. He’s identified Ohio as do-or-die. For some reason he delivered his Super Tuesday remarks from Mississippi, where his team boasts a strong organization in a state that’s hardly a good demographic fit for his moderate, let’s-get-along message.