Donald Trump joined fellow outsider Sen. Bernie Sanders (D) in rolling to primary victories. Both won the big prize of Michigan, while Trump also won over Republicans of Mississippi on March 8. In Trump’s case, he effectively shrugged off anti-Trump forces within his own party that have failed so far in standing in the way of his triumphs. In Michigan, Sen. Ted Cruz came in second, followed by Sen. Marco Rubio, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
Trump's rhetoric on trade, immigration, and jobs resonated in Michigan, which has lost tens of thousands of jobs in the decades since the early 1990s when numerous auto plants picked up sticks and went to Mexico and overseas. His promise to tax cars and parts shipped in from Mexico were also greeted avidly in the Mitten State. It was in Michigan where the "Reagan Democrats" was coined in reference to largely white working-class voters who left behind the Democrats to put Ronald Reagan in the White House in 1980s, with help from the Moral Majority spawned by Rev. Jerry Falwell. Trump broadened his appeal among them by getting an endorsement from Falwell’s son last year.
Trump won over key demographics in the industrial Midwest and Deep South Mississippi, having now broadened his appeal among evangelical Christians, Republicans, and independents. These groups have expressed disappointment with candidates from the establishment wing of the GOP, such as Jeb Bush, and by holding back support of one of their own – Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas – appear to be looking for a political neophyte to take over the White House this fall.
Speaking at a news conference in Florida after the polls closed, Trump pointed out that he is bringing new voters into the Republican fold. He also called on his GOP rivals to save their money and throw in the towel to focus on defeating the eventual nominee of the Democratic Party. "I hope Republicans will embrace it," Trump said of the campaign. "We have something going that is so good, we should grab each other and unify the party."
Trump said Republican Sen. Marco Rubio's attacks on him had been unsuccessful. “Hostility works for some people; it doesn't work for everyone," Trump said. Cruz came in second in Michigan, but won the GOP primary in Idaho. He is thus positioned as the leading alternative to Trump. Just the same, Trump was dismissive of Cruz’s chances. "Ted is going to have a hard time," Trump said of Cruz. "He rarely beats me."
Of the 1,237 delegates needed for the GOP nomination, Trump now has 458; Cruz: 359; Rubio: 151; Kasich: 54.
The disappointing results for Kasich may weigh heavily upon him on March 15, when voters in his home state of Ohio select their Republican favorites. The same hold true for Rubio in Florida, his home state. Voters in Illinois, Missouri, and North Carolina will also cast ballots that day, affording a rich number of delegates for the winning candidates to take to the Republican National Convention in July.
Mark Meckler, one of the earliest Tea Party movement founders said in response to Trump’s victories that “the Republican establishment is in its death throes.” Those left are 100 percent anti-establishment, Meckler said.
In a telephone interview on the Fox network today, he said that Americans are tired of being a “punching bag” for China and other economic interests. Critics have pointed out that despite having once said he would have a foreign policy in place by last month, he has since admitted that he has yet to name one. However, a Fox News analyst referred to Trump as 'Salesman-in-Chief' for having not only sold the idea of his candidacy to voters but also the notion that his business and negotiating acumen make him fit to convince foreign powers to buy into his plans for American foreign policy.
Here follow the March 8 primary results, state by state:
Republicans Hawaii Idaho Michigan Mississippi Delegates Total
Trump 42% 28% 37% 47% 71 458
Cruz 33% 45% 25% 36% 56 359
Rubio 13% 16% 9% 5% -- 151
Kasich 11% 7% 24% 9% 17 54