Last Tuesday the candidates had a Western showdown. The people of Arizona, Utah, and Idaho voted both on the Republican and the Democratic side.
Trump: 739 delegates
Cruz: 465 delegates
Kasich: 143 delegates
These delegates will go to the Republican Convention in Cleveland and vote for the candidate they were pledged to. The amount needed to automatically win is 1,237, but it's likely no one will get this number.
Trump won all of Arizona's 58 delegates in Arizona's winner-take-all primary voting (the person who won the majority of the vote got all of the delegates rather than just the percentage of them). However, Cruz won all 40 of Utah's delegates. This brings Trump one step closer to possibly "clinching" the nomination, or winning the majority of delegates automatically making him the nominee. For Cruz, his Utah victory just supports his argument that he is the candidate to beat Donald Trump, and puts more pressure on John Kasich to drop out. In early voting in Arizona, John Kasich was losing to Marco Rubio, who isn't even in the race anymore.
Clinton: 1,234 delegates
Sanders: 956 delegates
(At the Democratic state convention in Philadelphia these delegates will vote for the people who they are pledged to. My count doesn't factor in superdelegates, who can change their mind on who to vote for at any time.)
On Tuesday, voting shifted to Western states, where Sanders tends to do better. In Arizona, Clinton still won by 19%. However, Bernie accomplished the badly needed wins in Idaho and Utah where he beat Hillary by 55 and 63 percent. This mean that for one of the first times, he actually walked away with the majority of delegates. This gives him momentum and excites his supporters (who will later be hopeful enough to vote for him in upcoming states), but it barely cuts in to Hillary's lead and he'll have to continue winning, and by larger margins, to win the nomination.
Candidates React to the Brussels Bombings
Last Tuesday, there were two suicide bombings in an airport and one in a metro station in Brussels, Belgium. At least 31 people were killed and more than 200 were wounded. ISIS later claimed responsibility for the attacks. In terms of the 2016 race, the attacks refocus the race on issues of terrorism and national security, which have become less important as the response to the Paris attacks in November have faded. The anti-Trump forces say that now Republican voters will look to a presidential candidate who is more experienced in international issues and is more serious. However, they also said that after the Paris attacks and that didn't happen.
- use of waterboarding (torture method that simulates drowning) on terrorist suspects
- changing torture laws so we can use even worse methods of torture
- reiterated calls for surveillance and shutdown on mosques, stopping Syrian refugees from entering the country, and temporary ban on Muslims entering the US
- said Brussels was a mess even before the attacks
- said Muslims aren't reporting terrorism supects and that they're protecting eachother
- criticized President Obama for being weak on terrorism, being too politically correct, and remaining in Cuba during the attacks
- specifically said "radical Islam" is the problem
- called to stop immigration from countries with ISIS influence
- called to "empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized."
- This drew criticism from even his own supporters
- he defended it by saying that police do the same thing when they patrol neighborhoods with gang violence
- called for strengthening alliances and did not mention or imply Islam is the problem
- called for increased security, like strengthening the visa programs
- said world needs to come together and destroy ISIS
Trump and Cruz Fight on Twitter Over Their Wives
It all started when a pro-Cruz group called Make America Awesome posted a meme of Melania, Trump's wife, posing nude with the writing saying: "Meet Melania Trump, your next first lady. Or, you could vote for Ted Cruz on Tuesday."
The group was targeting socially conservative Mormon voters in Utah who would be turned off by Trump's wife being "indecent." A very low blow, even for primary politics. Ted Cruz did not organize this or work with the group that posted this in any way. Still, Trump saw this as "lying Ted" attacking his wife, and tweeted this:
It shows an unflattering picture of Heidi Cruz on the left along with a photo of Melania on the right. Ted Cruz later responded, trying to cool down the situation:
Later on Twitter, Ted Cruz explained that he didn't put out the ad attacking Trump's wife. Trump tweeted that he didn't believe him and called him "Lyin' Ted." The Twitter fight escalated between the two candidates' supporters. By Friday, Cruz said in an interview in Wisconsin: "You're a sniveling coward. Leave Heidi the hell alone." On Twitter, Trump again incorrectly claimed that Ted started the fight. That Friday, The National Enquirer, a tabloid, released a report saying that Cruz was involved in at least five extramarital affairs. Cruz tweeted a link to his Facebook post calling the story "garbage," and accusing Donald and "his friends at the National Enquirer and his political henchmen" for putting out the report. Usually, attacking each others' wives is off-limits, but in this race nothing seems to be.