A deeply divided America decided on Tuesday which two candidates should face off for the privilege of occupying the nation’s highest office.
Rejecting two far-right, upstart, Cuban-American senators, the Republicans pledged fealty to Donald Trump, who has made no secret of his disdain for women, minorities, non-white foreigners and, as he reiterated in his victory speech last night, “disgusting reporters.” And on the Democratic side, voters returned to a pillar of the party, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whose hawkish foreign policy, Wall Street ties and establishment backing set her apart from the left-wing senator who stirred millions of Americans to challenge her “inevitable” nomination.
Trump’s victory in Florida was a death knell for Marco Rubio, the junior senator who lost every region of the state except his hometown, Miami. In his speech here, in which he announced the suspension of his campaign, he attributed the failure to his optimism and his unwillingness to peddle “hate.”
“The politics of resentment against other people will not just leave us a fractured party,” he said. “They’re gonna leave us a fractured nation. They’re gonna leave us as a nation where people literally hate each other, because they have different political opinions.”
Trump also won in Illinois and North Carolina. As of midnight, the race in Missouri was too close to call between Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. A win for Ohio Gov. John Kasich in his home state buoyed his stubborn campaign, which is hoping to prevent Trump from earning a majority of party’s delegates. That would trigger a brokered convention, during which party leaders would wrangle over their nominee in Cleveland in July.
Meanwhile, Clinton won four states, including Illinois and Ohio, where Sen. Bernie Sanders had campaigned vigorously in recent days. Missouri’s votes were still being tallied, but it didn’t seem to matter. Sanders suffered from a perception — warranted or not — that he wouldn’t be able to rally the support necessary in November to prevent a Trump administration.
To celebrate his success, Trump again summoned reporters to his 118-room estate in Palm Beach, Florida, where his butler refers to him as “the king,” for what was billed as a “press conference.” But a press conference it was not.
The journalists were confined to the rear of the Donald J. Trump Ballroom, separated from the candidate’s podium by a sea of fawning, white-haired socialites. After speaking for several minutes, he gestured to the back of the room and said, “Disgusting reporters. Horrible people.” The donors laughed. “Some are nice. Some are nice. Some really disgusting people back there. And I just want to say: We’re going to go forward, and we’re going to win.” And a few seconds later, the speech was over and Trump took no questions from the horrible people.
Surely, this kind of behavior couldn’t survive a general election. But what’s perhaps most alarming about Trump’s fans is that many of them have well-articulated reasons for supporting him. One of these is Melech Zohan, a 40-year-old consultant in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
“I voted for Trump because a nation cannot have both uncontrolled immigration and a healthy middle class,” Zohan, who is Jewish, told il manifesto global. “I do not believe his demeanor is the pattern for future presidents to follow, but hopefully they won’t need to. Blunt honesty and abandonment of political correctness is exactly what is needed now, today. The lies told by the establishment Republicans and Democrats must come to an end now, and his demeanor is the right tool for the job. It makes people listen because they’ve become accustomed to being lied to.”
Agree or disagree, but a large portion of Trump’s supporters are calm, reasonable people. They are not the mouth-breathers that Trump’s rhetoric would suggest they are. Probably most of them are not racist. And some of them even sound like Democrats at times.
“I am encouraged at the thought of a non-political person (with no monetary ties to special interest groups) a person with a strong business background, having a chance to work toward decreasing our country’s tremendous debt and work towards fair trade instead of free trade,” said Karen Dion, 58, a retired nurse who voted for Trump in Florida.
Sanders echoed that sentiment on Tuesday. “I say to corporate America, you want us to buy your products, start manufacturing those products here in America, not in China,” he said. That was at an event in Arizona, where he was campaigning ahead of the state’s vote next week.
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