The presidential race will go on for months, but both parties' front-runners leaped closer Tuesday to becoming nominees. Neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton won every state up for grabs, but they won most of them, and in doing so extended advantages they already had in delegates and momentum.
Trump was projected to win at least seven states; his nearest competitor, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, won three. Trump's swath of victories now extends from Nevada across the Deep South and up into New England.
Clinton was projected to win at least seven states, including the biggest; her challenger, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, was projected to win four, one of them his home state. Clinton commands the map from Nevada through Texas and all across the South and up to Massachusetts.
Hillary Clinton returned to New York for a Super Tuesday victory lap, rallying support Wednesday from organized labor that will be key both to preserving her lead in the Democratic nomination fight and powering her in a general election.
“As long as you are fighting for working families in America, I will be in the trenches fighting alongside of you,” she said to more than 5,000 supporters at New York's Javits Convention Center. “Labor will always have a seat at the table when I am in the White House.”
Clinton, a former U.S. senator from New York, called her strong performance Tuesday “one for the history books,” but she stopped short of claiming she had the nomination in hand, even as she looked ahead to a battle with the eventual Republican nominee.
A day after Hillary Clinton built a commanding advantage in the Democratic race on Super Tuesday, some liberal forces that had been more sympathetic to Bernie Sanders appear ready to line up behind Clinton with an eye to the bigger looming challenge: Donald Trump.
Though voters in dozens of states have yet to cast ballots and Sanders has amassed a significant campaign war chest on the strength of his grass-roots appeal, Democrats appear more eager than ever to close ranks at a time when Republican divisions are only deepening.
Hillary Clinton’s sprawling network of operatives and opposition researchers were all set to go with an exhaustively investigated playbook to use in the general election — against Jeb Bush. They also had one for Scott Walker. And Marco Rubio.
But Donald Trump?
Clinton's team had bet they wouldn't need to pull that one from the shelf. Now, putting a Trump playbook together is proving vexing. After Trump and Clinton's sweeping triumphs on Super Tuesday, the prospect of a matchup against the impulsive billionaire prone to angry outbursts, outrageous statements and questionable alliances no longer seems too good to be true.
"Much of the Republican base has taken leave of its senses, a flight blamed alternately on inchoate anger, disgust with inside-the-Beltway candidates and misplaced affection for a plain-speaking cartoon character who often seems to utter whatever nonsense comes into his head," the editorial board writes.
It closes with, "The voters still have time to choose a better standard-bearer."
The overriding reaction among Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill to Donald Trump's near-lock on the GOP presidential nomination is fear, coupled with confusion about how Trump’s ascendancy might scramble party politics at the state and local level.
Even the normally loquacious Sen. John McCain refused to take a side Wednesday in the battle over Trump’s imprint on the party.
“I’m running for reelection,” McCain said. “That’s where I’m coming down.”
Ben Carson all but ended his presidential bid Wednesday, saying he does not see how he can win the GOP nomination and that he'll skip Thursday's debate.
"I do not see a political path forward in light of last evening’s Super Tuesday primary results," Carson said in a statement, adding that he would continue to lead a "grassroots movement on behalf of 'We the People.'"
Carson said he would not attend the GOP debate in Detroit on Thursday but would discuss his future during an appearance Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference outside Washington.