U.S republican candidates get ready for vital Ohio and Florida Primaries

U.S. Republican candidates are revving up for contests in key battleground states Florida and Ohio, which are only a week away and are make-or-break for some candidates.

Bernie Sanders (left) and Donald Trump were the winners Tuesday in New Hampshire. Getty Images
Bernie Sanders (left) and Donald Trump were the winners Tuesday in New Hampshire. Getty Images

The fight for the Republican nomination has been like no other in recent memory, with front-runner Donald Trump dominating the race by appealing to Americans’ sense of being fed up with Washington elites.

Bernie Sanders (left) and Donald Trump were the winners Tuesday in New Hampshire. Getty Images
Bernie Sanders (left) and Donald Trump were the winners Tuesday in New Hampshire. Getty Images

At a time when the economy remained sluggish and millions remained unemployed for several years after the economy took a nose dive in 2008, Trump’s popularity reflected Americans’ thirst for a leader outside the Washington establishment.

The brash billionaire has been on a roll, racking up wins in multiple states as he heads through the nomination with the momentum of a freight train. And in just a week, key states Ohio and Florida will be up for grabs, and a win in both states would move Trump even further toward clinching the nomination, experts said.

If Trump can win, it will put him in a very good position in terms of how he is perceived and in terms of his number of delegates, Julian Zelizer, professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University, told Xinhua, referring to the system of winning delegates that determines who wins the nomination.

It appears increasingly that Trump has a real shot at winning both these states, experts said.

“These are incredibly important,” Zelizer said.

Winning his home state of Florida is of crucial importance to rival Senator Marco Rubio, who has been in a heated battle of words with Trump in recent weeks, with each candidate trading public insults.

“Without winning Florida, it will be almost impossible for Rubio to continue with his run. The delegate math would not work out,” Zelizer said.

The U.S. primary system is based on a system of delegates, whereby each candidate racks up delegates based on the number of states and votes they win. Each state has a certain number of delegates and some states are winner-take-all. The first to reach the magic number of 1,237 delegates wins their party’s nomination.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Trump had 384, Senator Ted Cruz had 300 and Rubio had 151.

The Brookings Institution’s senior fellow Darrell West told Xinhua that Florida and Ohio are crucial states in the general election.

“Most winning candidates capture these states. If someone cannot do well in these pivotal areas, it is hard to see that individual becoming president,” he said.

Florida and Ohio are important in the nominating contest because they have winner-take-all primaries — whichever candidate gets the greatest number of votes gets all the delegates from that state.

“If Trump wins at least one of those states, it will be very difficult to stop his nomination. He will have a substantial lead in the delegates and it will be hard to derail his rise,” West said.

As for rival Rubio, he will not be able to continue in the nominating process if he cannot win his home state of Florida.

“Right now, Trump is ahead in Florida so everyone is going to be watching whether Trump or Rubio carry Florida,” West said.

“Ohio is more competitive between (Ohio Governor John) Kasich and Trump. Trump could lose Ohio but still become the nominee if he is able to carry Florida,” West said.

Unlike many past election seasons, the 2016 race to the White House has taken on an unusual anti-establishment tone, with voters on both sides fed up with Washington’s elite and a pervading belief that politicians do not have the solutions to the country’s economy woes.

Analysts say that explains the rise of Trump, as well as Democratic candidate Senator Bernie Sanders, a self-proclaimed Democratic socialist who has gained much popularity among millennials, as that voting bloc has felt the brunt of the weakened economy, with many young voters taking jobs far beneath their education level and earning potential.

Voting was also underway on Tuesday in the states of Michigan and Mississippi, two states that could well strengthen Trump’s lead over the rest of the pack. Endi

Source: Xinhua

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