“You know these politicians, all talk...no action.” That was Donald Trump during his victory speech on Super Tuesday, explaining the difference between him and his competition. Apparently, Trump thinks of himself as a man of action. Which is interesting because he’s mostly famous for big talk and business deals, and for erecting gaudy architecture that other people plan, design, and build. But whatever—Trump’s a man of action. Because he says he is.
This is how it happens now. This election is Internet speed. It has no use for irony. No time for fact-checking. Just say something, clock the response, move on. We’ve escaped reason.
Super Tuesday is traditionally the day in the election season when a clear frontrunner emerges for both parties. For the Democrats, Hillary Clinton trounced her rival Bernie Sanders, winning seven of the 11 states up for grabs. Meanwhile, for the GOP, Donald Trump dominated, taking seven states. As MSNBC’s Chris Hayes pointed out in a tweet: "If Trump were anyone other than Trump it would be over." Meaning if the frontrunner weren't such a divisive wild card, this race would be sewn up.
The big winners attempted to convey that "It’s all over!" in their speeches—but is it? Did Super Tuesday decide it? Are Clinton and Trump now the presumptive nominees? And WTF does that mean for America?
Really, what Super Tuesday made clear is that, after decades of installing strongmen in nations across the globe, America wants a pompous blowhard of its own.
Hillary Clinton came into this contest needing to finally stop Bernie Sanders—to put out the Bern, so to speak. Bernie Sanders needed to regain the momentum lost in his crushing defeat in South Carolina and to do this would have had to win the confidence of southern black voters, one of his weakest poll numbers. He didn’t. Bernie was able to win states with large populations of white people, like Colorado, Minnesota, and his home state of Vermont—in addition to Oklahoma.
Earlier in the race, the first Jewish candidate to win a state’s primary stirred something in the soul of the American people. After nearly tying Hillary in Iowa and beating her in New Hampshire, Sanders took his revolution down south, only to find that black people living down in Dixie don’t go for leftist socialists any more than white southerners do. Stung by defeat, it seems like Bernie now sees his role as the one to push the Democratic Party to the left prior to the general election. During his speech at the end of Super Tuesday he struck a conciliatory tone but swore he’d keep campaigning. He’s a good man for America, willing to engaging in the messy, argumentative realities of democracy. And…he’s (probably) done.
On the other side of the political spectrum, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio needed to stop stepping on their own dicks and figure out a way to land a blow against the Teflon Don. Last we’d heard from him Rubio was insulting the size of Trump’s hands, as a not-so-subtle dog whistle that the Donald has a small penis. This is the state of American politics. Unable to land a devastating blow in the debates, Rubio resorted to junior high bathroom humor. Sadly, his desperate dick-measuring rhetoric resulted in him just taking Minnesota. Meanwhile, Cruz won Alaska, Oklahoma, and his home state of Texas.
Although it failed him, Rubio had tried to get on Trump’s level. After all, no matter how racist, sexist, bigoted, or misogynistic Trump sounds, all the conservative voters seem to hear is that he’s going to bring back jobs to America. He’ll deal smartly with China. He’ll convince Apple to build iPhones in America. And he’ll create that 1,000-mile border fence—no doubt the classiest, most luxurious fence of its kind—to keep illegal aliens from entering the United States.
On Tuesday night, at his headquarters in Palm Beach, Fla., Trump held his victory press conference. While other candidates pretended like second or third place was somehow a desirable thing, Trump acted presidential. The press had questions; he had answers, and so he summarized Super Tuesday for his audience. He set the narrative: He is the undeniable shoo-in for the Republican nomination. True, he almost lost the narrative to the Internet when Chris Christie join him on the stage, and having nothing to do, the governor of New Jersey acted the part of a lobotomy patient. (It was quite convincing.) At certain points of the speech Christie appeared to be suffering from genuine moments of reflection about what’d he done by endorsing Trump, what his actions meant for the future of America, and whether or not he’d sold his soul to the first charlatan who offered him some magic beans. (He’s now become a meme about bricking your life with one bad decision.)
Trump promised that, in the general election, he’d be able to unify the party. For instance, he allayed the fears of party insiders by declaring, "I’m good with the African-Americans." Like a whole group of people could be treated as a singular condition. Things I’m good with: casinos, deals, gold accents in architecture, the African-Americans.
Trump doubled down on his minority love. Despite all indications to the contrary, Trump claimed that, “I’m gonna go do great with the Hispanics." Okay.
Off in another part of Fantasyland, Ted Cruz put on a bright smile and acted like a winner. Despite the fact he looks like a magical talking butter statue of Ronald Reagan, one that’s come to life in a faith-based movie, he was somehow able to convince the voters of three states—Alaska, Texas, and Oklahoma—to get behind him. In his "victory" speech, Cruz sought to unify the GOP. He recommended the party "prayerfully consider coming together." Not even his wife likes to hear talk like that. It’s unlikely a large number of future voters will want to “come together” with Cruz.
And Rubio? Well, it’s not his fault, genetically speaking, that he has all of the charm and charisma of a pep rally speaker for a junior high drug awareness, but it his fault that he has very little to show for Super Tuesday (just Minnesota).
John Kasich’s and Ben Carson’s campaigns, at this point, remind me of the scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, when Eric Idle’s character pushes a cart through a plague-ridden medieval town shouting for the townsfolk to bring out their dead. Where’s Eric Idle when you need him? Someone needs to whack Kasich and Carson on the head, toss ‘em on the cart, and be off with them. Their campaigns are dead. Typewriter repairmen have brighter futures.
Really, what Super Tuesday made clear is that, after decades of installing strongmen in nations across the globe, America wants a pompous blowhard of its own, one who boasts and preens yet has notoriously thin-skin. The sort of man who loves gold and is proud of babies—like the one Ivanka “is going to have any day now.”
In her victory speech, Hillary looked strikingly presidential—maybe enough to sell herself to those Americans looking for direction. She glowed with a renewed vigor, like she’d been cleansed by the influx of new political capital. (She was visibly using her husband's tucked-thumb hand gesture a little extra in her victory speech.) She knows it, the pundits know it, and the American people know it: Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee for the presidency.
Super Tuesday has come and gone, America. And you have spoken: These are the people you want running the country.
Donald Trump versus Hillary Clinton. Let the shitshow commence.