, FAIRFAX, United States, Mar 1 – White House hopefuls Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are poised to pass a point of no return on Super Tuesday, if as expected they outrun their rivals on the biggest voting day of the primary season.
The Republican and Democratic frontrunners fended off rivals and appealed to supporters in a dozen states, hours before polls opened.
If they win big as the presidential nomination race broadens following a string of statewide votes, it could spell doom for their challengers.
- Clinton was riding high after thrashing rival Bernie Sanders in South Carolina over the weekend, securing an astronomical 86 percent of the African-American vote.
- But she was leaving nothing to chance, traveling to multiple states to urge a strong turnout.
Clinton was riding high after thrashing rival Bernie Sanders in South Carolina over the weekend, securing an astronomical 86 percent of the African-American vote.
But she was leaving nothing to chance, traveling to multiple states to urge a strong turnout.
“I need your help to go and vote tomorrow, to bring people to vote with you,” she implored a crowd in Springfield, Massachusetts on Monday.
She also took aim at the increasingly hostile campaign rhetoric on the Republican side led by the brash real estate mogul Trump.
– Scapegoating, fingerpointing, blaming –
“I really regret the language being used by Republicans. Scapegoating people, fingerpointing, blaming. That is not how we should behave toward one another,” she told several hundred people at a university in Fairfax, Virginia.
“We’re going to demonstrate starting tomorrow on Super Tuesday, there’s a different path that Americans ought to take.”
Trump, whose incendiary campaign has turned US politics on its head, has a political target on his back, with mainstream favorite Marco Rubio intensifying his personal attacks and stressing Trump would have serious weaknesses in a general election.
The Florida senator warned supporters in Tennessee that US media and critics will jump on Trump “like the hounds of hell” if he wins the nomination.
“They’ll shred him to pieces and then get Hillary Clinton elected,” Rubio said, insisting that he is better positioned to defeat Clinton.
But Trump is clearly in the driver’s seat. He is leading in polling in at least eight of the 11 Super Tuesday states.
And a new CNN/ORC poll shows the billionaire expanding his lead nationally, earning a stunning 49 percent support compared to second place Rubio at 16 percent.
Fellow first-term Senator Ted Cruz of Texas is third, at 15 percent, followed by retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson at 10 percent and Ohio Governor John Kasich at six percent.
Trump hit back hard against Rubio, calling him “Little Marco,” mocking him for sweating on the campaign trail and warning Rubio could not stand up to strong men like Russian President Vladimir Putin.