Donald Trump has won the South Carolina primaries; a big step towards getting the Republican nomination. He won by a decent margin of 10% over Marco Rubio, who came in second. Even though Trump was able to get 32.5% of the votes in South Carolina, many people were surprised that Ted Cruz didn’t do better. There was a 75% evangelical turnout that night, and given that Cruz has put a lot of effort in resonating with evangelical voters, it didn’t seem to work quite as well as he thought.
Another reason why this result may have surprised many is because Trump won despite the fact that 41% of South Carolina voters thought that he ran the most unfair campaign. Also, experts believed that Trump would lose support in South Carolina because of the way he attacked former president Bush during the last Republican debate. He called him a liar and blamed him for lying about how Iraq had WMD and for not keeping America safe. After these comments many thought that Trump had severely hurt his chances of getting enough votes to win, but, as we have seen throughout this race, he proved everyone wrong, again.
So why did he do so well? Well, one important reason is because of the simple fact that he is not a politician. People have expressed that they like the fact that he’s not part of the political establishment and that he is self-funding his campaign. Trump is different to other candidates because he always says what he thinks; he doesn’t have to worry about saying what special interest groups want him to say, something he has criticized his fellow competitors for doing. 6 out of 10 voters in South Carolina that wanted someone not from the establishment were supporting Trump. People all over the country have voiced their concern over the current government and an anti-establishment mood seems to be prominent among voters. Many people feel as though Trump is speaking for them, voicing their concerns, expressing his anger at what politicians have done to the country; and people love that. Another fact, which may be surprising to many, is that 75% of South Carolinian voters agree with Trump’s Muslim ban idea, only 23% said they oppose it. This shows the shift in thinking of the American people and how many are ready for something new, for someone new, for big changes to happen in their country.
Ted Cruz managed to come in third place at 22.3%, extremely close to Rubio’s 22.5%. Throughout the night, the lead for second place kept shifting between these two candidates, but at the end it was Rubio who was able to secure that place. One reason why Rubio might have done better was because South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley endorsed him. After Iowa, many thought that Rubio was done and that he would probably drop out of the race soon. However, not only did he stay in, he performed remarkably in New Hampshire and proved to everyone that he could actually have what it takes to be a strong competitor in this race.
One candidate who didn’t have such a good night, again, was Jeb Bush. Throughout the night his numbers stayed around 8%; he ended up finishing with fourth place, with 7.8%. The Bush team really did try their best in South Carolina, even bringing along former president Bush and their mother. South Carolina has treated the Bush family very favorably over the years; the state was crucial for both the campaigns of Jeb’s brother and father. However, if we look at the numbers, we can see that even in South Carolina, the mood has changed. The people want something new. They are tired of the same type of establishment candidates. Having seen how things were going, Jeb decided to suspend his campaign and to thank all of his supporters for all they’ve done for him.
Despite these results, there is still a long way to go. Hillary Clinton was able to win in Nevada, and Trump won in South Carolina, but much can still change. Candidates like Rubio and Cruz have to up their game and make sure they start winning more primaries, otherwise it will be almost certain that Trump will be the Republican nominee. Whoever gets the nomination, let’s hope they will work hard, deliver on their promises, and most important of all, be able to make America great again.