Super Tuesday Solidifies Clinton, Trump Leads, Harvard Affiliates Say

Several Harvard professors said they believe the Democratic and Republican nominees are likely finalized following Super Tuesday: former Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton and businessman Donald J. Trump.

Clinton won the Democratic primaries in seven states, topping Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’s four states. Among Clinton’s victories was Massachusetts, which exit polls predicted would be hotly contested. On the Republican side, Trump won seven states, including Massachusetts, while losing Alaska, Texas, and Oklahoma to Senator Ted Cruz and Minnesota to Senator Marco Rubio.

Super Tuesday's results are historically a strong indicator of the eventual presidential nominee for both parties. Harvard professors agree this year’s race is unlikely to be any different. {shortcode-6fb4367247e425099e248060f4647c056b094ab2}

“Barring some extraordinary revelation or action on the part of either Clinton or Trump, their road to the nomination is much, much easier,” Harvard Kennedy School professor Thomas E. Patterson said. “This has been a campaign of surprises, so there could be a bombshell tomorrow, but barring such an event, just look at the delegate count.”

Harvard Students for Hillary were “pleasantly surprised” by the results across all the states that voted on Tuesday and optimistic about the campaign, the group’s outreach captain Michael K. Kikukawa ’17 said.


“I think Super Tuesday spells well for the rest of the nomination,” he said. “I don’t want to say it’s in the bag for her yet, because I don’t think it is. It will be a fight for the next few weeks or so for both sides to amass enough delegates to say they are the nominee.”

According to Massachusetts voting results, Clinton did better in the Cambridge area compared to her overall results in the state, which Kikukawa said could be thanks to some of the work Harvard Students for Hillary have put into Clinton’s campaign, such as canvassing and phone-banking.

Still, Harvard Students for Bernie President He Li ’16 is still optimistic about the future of the senator’s campaign.

“[Sanders] definitely held up in the states we thought he had a good shot in. Obviously we wish he would’ve done a little better in the states he lost,” Li said.

Li said the student group will continue to phone-bank in upcoming states and may organize a canvassing trip up to Maine ahead of its caucuses.

Government professor Harvey C. Mansfield Jr. ’53 said Tuesday’s results were in line with his predictions.

“I thought that Hillary Clinton had the best chance, and that the Democrats would put an end to their flirtation with Bernie Sanders,” he said.

On the Republican side, Tuesday was especially successful for Trump, who further solidified his popularity among constituents.

“Super Tuesday showed that his coalition has a deep and broad base of support,” Carlos E. Diaz Rosillo, a government lecturer who teaches Government 1359: “The Road to the White House,” said.

Super Tuesday did not bode well for some undergraduate Republicans who reject Trump. Rubio, a Harvard Republican favorite, won only one state, Minnesota. Nonetheless, Cameron K. Khansarinia ’18, national co-chair of Students for Rubio, said he is optimistic about the results.

“If you look at the polls going in, we outperformed in nearly every single state. I think the only state we didn’t was in Texas, and of course congratulations to Cruz on that win,” Khansarinia said.

In order to challenge Trump’s popularity, Patterson said Cruz or Rubio would have to drop out of the race.

“They really need a two person race to have a shot, but they’re both still standing,” he said.

Overall, many students and professors agreed that Tuesday was primarily a big night for Trump.

“I think Super Tuesday meant looming disaster with the nomination of Trump for the presidency,” Mansfield said. “It gives me the shivers to think of Trump as our president.”

—Staff writer Kabir K. Gandhi can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @KabirKGandhi.

—Staff writer Daniel P. Wood can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @DanWood145.