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Republicans in Turmoil; Trump Knocks Rubio Out of Race - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses a press conference following his victory in the Florida state primary on March 15, 2016 in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses a press conference following his victory in the Florida state primary on March 15, 2016 in West Palm Beach, Florida.

As he shows to keep moving forward, the U.S. Republican front-runner Donald Trump won over three states, putting rival Marco Rubio out of the White House race, nevertheless the New York billionaire’s loss in the key state of Ohio created more chaos for a party profoundly fractured by his candidacy.

Democrat Clinton is likely to win over U.S Senator Bernie Sander, as his chances to be able to overtake her for the Democratic Party’s nomination is nearly null after her great victories in each of Florida, Illinois, Ohio and North Carolina, by the time the Republic race remained in turmoil on Tuesday.

Trump is progressively moving forward toward the 1,237 delegates he needs to win the nomination as he won in Florida, Illinois and North Carolina; from the other side those in the party are left in attempt to stop him with dilemma. Republicans do not have many choices, their either throw their weight behind a candidate who doesn’t accept their policy goals, or keep on trying to stop him in the hope that he falls short of the majority required, which in sequence simply helps them to appoint another candidate at the July convention in Cleveland to formally pick their candidate for the 8th of November election.

That, conversely, would risk pushing away the millions of Americans who back the real estate developer and former reality TV show host. Ohio Governor John Kasich’s victory in his home state left him as the last establishment Republican candidate standing after Rubio, a U.S. senator, pulled out of the race. Rubio lost in a Trump landside in Rubio’s home state of Florida.

With all his attempts to set up himself as the anti-Trump alternative, alas, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas was outclassed by Trump everywhere on Tuesday except Missouri, where he narrowly trailed Trump. Early on Wednesday, MSNBC projected Trump and Clinton would win Missouri in very tight races. With 100 percent of the votes counted, Clinton led Sanders by about 1,500 votes and Trump led Cruz by about 1,600 votes.

While many party leaders remain appalled at the billionaire Trump’s incendiary rhetoric and have faith that his policy positions are out of step with core Republican sentiment, for instance his vow to deport 11 million illegal immigrants, temporarily ban Muslims from the United States, build a wall along the border with Mexico and impose protectionist trade policies.

However it’s too late for them to attempt and stop him, as a Republican field that once included Trump and 16 high-profile party figures has dwindled now to only three with Trump, 69, in command ahead of Cruz, 45, and Kasich, 63.

On Unity, by Trump

Republicans, were called on by Trump, while he was speaking at his Mar-a-Lago beachfront resort on Florida’s Atlantic Ocean coast, to unite behind him and made a point of mentioning that he had spoken to the two top elected Republicans in the United States, House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“The fact is we have to bring our party together,” Trump, more restrained than usual, said at an event that was billed as a news conference but where he took no questions. “We have something happening that actually makes the Republican Party the biggest political story anywhere in the world,” he added, referring to what he says are the millions of new voters he has attracted to the Republican Party.

“Democrats are coming in, Independents are coming in, and very, very importantly, people that never voted before. It’s an incredible thing,” Trump said.

What’s left for Trump is not an impossible challenge, for after Tuesday’s victories; Trump needs to win approximately 54 percent of the roughly 1,100 delegates still up for grabs. And this is not considers to be unmanageable, especially when factoring in winner-take-all states, like Arizona’s 58 delegates and New Jersey’s 51 delegates.

Next up for Republicans is a debate in Salt Lake City on Monday, even though Trump stated last week that he might not take part of it. On Tuesday, both parties will have primaries in Arizona and Utah, and Democrats will vote in Idaho.The wins for former Secretary of State Clinton, 68, added to her lead in pledged delegates over Senator Sanders, 74, of Vermont, and gave her an almost insurmountable edge, burying the memory of her stunning loss in Michigan last week.

“With more than half the delegates yet to be chosen and a calendar that favors us in the weeks and months to come, we remain confident that our campaign is on a path to win the nomination,” Sanders said in a statement issued in the early hours on Wednesday. As she had after other primary wins, Clinton was thinking on Tuesday about a possible match-up in the Nov. 8 presidential election with Trump.

“We can’t lose what made America great in the first place, and this isn’t just about Donald Trump,” Clinton told supporters in West Palm Beach, Florida. “We can’t just talk about economic inequality; we have to take on all forms of inequality and discrimination.”

Kasich’s win in Ohio, his first in the nominating fight, makes him the candidate of choice for party leaders worried Trump’s rowdy campaign will lead Republicans to defeat not only in the presidential race, but also in state and U.S. congressional races.Kasich, who has tried to emphasize the positive in a Republican race dominated by the pugnacious Trump, said his campaign was “about holding us together, not pulling us apart.”

“I will not take the low road to the highest office in the land,” Kasich told supporters in Berea, Ohio. “We are going to go all the way to Cleveland and secure the Republican nomination.”

The loss in his home state of Florida was a brutal blow for Rubio, who was once a rising star in the party and had become the choice of the party establishment’s anti-Trump forces until his campaign nosedived.

“People are angry, people are frustrated,” he said, adding it would have been easy to stir up those frustrations and make people more angry. “I chose a different route and I’m proud of it.”Trump’s closest challenger is Cruz, a favorite of the conservative Tea Party, who is second to Trump in delegates but has struggled in states where conservative evangelicals, among Cruz’s biggest supporters, are not dominant.

Trump won all 99 of the state’s delegates by capturing Florida, giving him a huge lift in his drive to the nomination.

Kasich’s chief strategist, John Weaver, argued in a memo released after the Ohio result that no candidate was going to win the necessary delegates before the convention and Kasich would be the best Republican candidate to go up against Clinton.

Asharq Al-Awsat English

Asharq Al-Awsat English

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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