Archive for category 2016 Presidential race
Donald Trump scored a resounding victory in South Carolina’s Republican primary Saturday, deepening his hold on the GOP presidential field as the race headed into the South. “Let’s put this thing away,” he shouted to cheering supporters.
Out West, Hillary Clinton pulled out a crucial win over Bernie Sanders in Nevada’s Democratic caucuses, easing the rising anxieties of her backers. At a raucous victory rally in Las Vegas, she lavished praise on her supporters and declared, “This one is for you.”
The victories put Clinton and Trump in strong positions as the 2016 presidential election advanced toward the March 1 Super Tuesday contests, a delegate-rich voting bonanza. But South Carolina marked the end for Jeb Bush, the one-time Republican front-runner and member of a prominent political family, who withdrew from the race.
“I firmly believe the American people must entrust this office to someone who understands that whoever holds it is a servant, not the master,” Bush told supporters in an emotional speech.
South Carolina marked Trump’s second straight victory this one by 10 points and strengthened his unexpected claim on the GOP nomination. No Republican in recent times has won New Hampshire and South Carolina and then failed to win the nomination.
“There’s nothing easy about running for president,” Trump said at his victory rally. “It’s tough, it’s nasty, it’s mean, it’s vicious. It’s beautiful when you win it’s beautiful.”
Marco Rubio edged out Ted Cruz for second place, according to complete but unofficial results. Bush and others lagged far behind.
“This has become a three-person race,” Rubio declared.
Cruz harked back to his win in the leadoff Iowa caucuses as a sign he was best positioned to take down Trump. He urged conservatives to rally around his campaign, saying pointedly, “We are the only candidate who has beaten and can beat Donald Trump.”
For both parties, the 2016 election has laid bare voters’ anger with the political establishment. The public mood has upended the usual political order, giving Sanders and Trump openings while leaving more traditional candidates scrambling to find their footing.
Trump’s victory comes after a week in which he threatened to sue one rival, accused former President George W. Bush of lying about the Iraq war and even tussled with Pope Francis on immigration. His victory was another sign that the conventional rules of politics often don’t apply to the brash billionaire.
He was backed by nearly 4 in 10 of those who were angry at the federal government, and a third of those who felt betrayed by politicians in the Republican Party.
For Cruz, despite his confident words, South Carolina must have been something of a disappointment. The state was his first test of whether his expensive, sophisticated get-out-the-vote operation could overtake Trump in a Southern state, where the electorate seemed tailor-made for the Texas senator.
Florida’s Rubio used his top-tier finish to bill himself as the mainstream alternative to Trump and Cruz, candidates many GOP leaders believe are unelectable in November.
South Carolina was the final disappointment for Bush, who campaigned alongside members of his famous family, which remains popular in the state. Though he was once considered the front-runner for the GOP nomination, new fundraising reports out Saturday showed that donations to his super PAC had largely stalled.
Also in the mix was Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who had low expectations in South Carolina and was looking toward more moderate states that vote later in March. Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson vowed to stay in the race, despite a single-digit showing.
The crowded Republican contest was a contrast to the head-to-head face-off among Democrats. Clinton has emerged as a favorite of those seeking an experienced political hand, while Sanders is attracting young voters and others drawn to his call of a political and economic revolution.
The Nevada results highlighted Clinton’s strength with black voters, a crucial Democratic electorate in the next contest in South Carolina, as well as several Super Tuesday states. The Hispanic vote was closely divided between Sanders and Clinton.
According to the entrance polls, Clinton was backed by a majority of women, college-educated voters, those with annual incomes over $100,000, moderates, voters aged 45 and older and non-white voters. Sanders did best with men, voters under 45 and those less affluent and educated.
The former secretary of state captured the backing of voters who said electability and experience were important. But in a continuing sign of her vulnerability, Sanders did best with voters looking for a candidate who is caring and honest.
Sanders congratulated Clinton on her victory, but then declared that “the wind is at our backs. We have the momentum.” With a vast network of small donors, Sanders has the financial resources to stay in the race for months.
Clinton’s win means she will pick up at least 19 of Nevada’s 35 delegates. She already holds a sizeable lead in the delegate count based largely on her support from superdelegates, the party leaders who can support the candidate of their choice, no matter the primaries and caucuses.
Trump won a majority of the delegates in South Carolina and he had a chance to win them all. With votes still being tabulated, he was projected to win at least 38 of the 50 at stake.
Democrats and Republicans will swap locations in the coming days. The GOP holds its caucus in Nevada on Tuesday, while Democrats face off in South Carolina on Feb. 27.
After visiting the US-Mexico border, Pope Francis on Thursday responded to a question about Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall between the two countries by saying that “this man is not Christian if he has said things like that.”
Francis added that he would give Trump “the benefit of the doubt,” given that he did not know details of the Republican presidential candidate’s plan to build a border wall. Though the pope was asked specifically about Trump’s plan during his visit to Mexico, the businessman is not the only GOP candidate who has called for a wall to secure the US border. Both Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio have said that they support a similar plan.
Trump quickly responded to Francis’s remarks with his usual bombast, warning of a potential attack on the Vatican.
“If and when the Vatican is attacked by ISIS, which as everyone knows is ISIS’s ultimate trophy, I can promise you that the pope would have only wished and prayed that Donald Trump would have been president because this would not have happened,” Trump said in a statement.
But rather than criticize Pope Francis directly for his remarks, Trump suggested that the pontiff was being misinformed by the Mexican government “because they want to continue to rip off the United States, both on trade and at the border, and they understand I am totally wise to them.”
Trump added, however, that he thought it was “disgraceful” for a religious leader “to question a person’s faith,” noting that he is “proud to be a Christian.”
“No leader, especially a religious leader, should have the right to question another man’s religion or faith. They are using the pope as a pawn and they should be ashamed of themselves for doing so,” he said in apparent reference to the Mexican government, “especially when so many lives are involved and when illegal immigration is so rampant.”
Sen. Marco Rubio, took the real-estate mogul’s side in the spat with the Vatican.
When asked by CNN on “The Lead with Jake Tapper” about the Pope’s remarks, Rubio gave a lengthy defense of the United States as the “most compassionate and open country in the world on legal immigration,” and defended the government’s right to implement and enforce immigration laws as it sees fit.
“I think the Holy Father recognizes or should recognize and I believe he does how generous America is,” Rubio said. “We accept, every year, close to a million or over a million people every year as permanent residents of the United States. No other country even comes close.”
Republican rival, Jeb Bush, a devout Catholic, who came to Trump’s defense.
“I think his Christianity is between he and his creator don’t think we need to discuss that,” Bush told reporters on Thursday in Columbia. The defense of his spiritual life did not extend to his political life, though. “As it relates to his policies related to ISIS, he’s not the right guy to be commander-in-chief,” Bush added.
The blast struck a convoy of military service vehicles but it was still not clear who carried it out, said Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus, confirming the latest toll.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed retaliation against the perpetrators of the attack, which came on the heels of a spate of deadly strikes in Turkey blamed on jihadists but also on Kurdish rebels.
The car bomb detonated when a convoy of military buses carrying dozens of soldiers stopped at traffic lights in central Ankara, creating scenes of panic and chaos.
“This attack has very clearly targeted our esteemed nation as a whole and was carried out in a vile, dishonourable, treacherous and insidious way,” said Kurtulmus.
Plumes of smoke could be seen from all over the city rising from the scene, close to the headquarters of the Turkish military and the parliament.
The powerful blast was heard throughout Ankara, sending alarmed residents rushing to their balconies. The army said the attack took place at 1631 GMT and had targeted “service vehicles carrying army personnel”.
Without specifying what the retaliation could entail, Erdogan warned that “Turkey will not shy away from using its right to self-defence at any time, any place or any occasion.”
“Our determination to respond in kind to attacks taking place inside and outside our borders is getting stronger,” he said.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu cancelled a planned visit to Brussels on Thursday, his office said. Erdogan also shelved a trip to Azerbaijan.
A mini-summit on Europe’s refugee crisis gathering 11 EU countries and Turkey scheduled for Thursday was cancelled due to Davutoglu’s absence, diplomats said.
In Ankara, ambulances and fire engines were sent to the scene and wounded victims were seen being taken away on stretchers.
Images showed fire-fighters trying to overcome a fierce blaze engulfing wrecked service buses that were gutted by the blast.
Turkish police threw a security cordon around the area. A second blast later rocked the area, but officials said this was police detonating a suspicious package.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance strongly condemned the bombing. “NATO Allies stand shoulder to shoulder in the fight against terrorism,” he said.
French President Francois Hollande denounced the attack as “odious”.
“We are with Turkey and its people in these difficult times,” added EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.
Kurtulmus acknowledged that “we don’t have any information yet about who carried out this attack” but vowed the perpetrators “will be revealed as soon as possible.”
The Islamic State group has been blamed for a slew of bombings in the country since the middle of last year but the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has also killed dozens of soldiers in attacks mainly in the southeast of the country.
The capital was already on alert after 103 people were killed on October 10 when two suicide bombers blew themselves up in a crowd of peace activists in Ankara, the bloodiest attack in the country’s modern history.
Eleven people, all German tourists, were also killed on January 16 when a suicide bomber blew himself up in the tourist heart of Istanbul.
Those attacks were blamed on IS jihadists, as were two other deadly bombings in the country’s Kurdish-dominated southeast earlier in the year.
But Turkey is also waging an all-out assault on the outlawed PKK which has repeatedly attacked members of the security forces with roadside bombings on their convoys in the southeast.
The PKK launched an insurgency against the Turkish state in 1984, initially fighting for Kurdish independence although now more for greater autonomy and rights for the country’s largest ethnic minority.
The conflict, which has left tens of thousands of people dead, looked like it could be nearing a resolution until an uneasy truce was shattered in July.
Meanwhile, Turkish artillery in southern Turkey shelled positions of Kurdish fighters in Syria for the fifth day in the row on Wednesday in an escalating standoff, reports said.
Turkey says the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its People’s Protection Units (YPG) are merely the Syrian branch of the PKK and themselves terror groups.
The banned ultra-left Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party–Front (DHKP-C) has also staged a string of usually small-scale attacks in Istanbul over the last few months.
Now it’s his brother’s turn, and for Jeb Bush, the most consequential foreign policy decisions of his brother’s tenure are suddenly front-and-center in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination thanks to Donald Trump.
The 43rd president already had announced plans to campaign for his younger brother Monday in South Carolina, marking his most direct entry into the 2016 race to date, when Trump, the GOP front-runner, used the final debate before the state’s Feb. 20 primary as an opportunity to excoriate George W. Bush’s performance as commander in chief.
The former president, Trump said, ignored “the advice of his CIA” and “destabilized the Middle East” by invading Iraq on dubious claims that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.
“I want to tell you: They lied,” Trump said. “They said there were weapons of mass destruction. … And they knew there were none.”
Trump dismissed Jeb Bush’s suggestion that George W. Bush built a “security apparatus to keep us safe” after the 9/11 attacks.
“The World Trade Center came down during your brother’s reign,” Trump said, adding: “That’s not keeping us safe.”
The onslaught “blood sport” for Trump, Jeb said was the latest example of the billionaire businessman’s penchant for mocking his rival as a weak, privileged instrument of the Republican Party establishment.
But the exchange also highlighted the former Florida governor’s embrace of his family name as he jockeys with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Ohio Gov. John Kasich to emerge from South Carolina as the clear challenger to Trump, who won the New Hampshire primary, and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, the victor in Iowa’s caucuses.
The approach takes away from Bush’s months-long insistence that he’s running as “my own man,” but could be a perfect fit for South Carolina. “The Bush name is golden in my state,” says South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who ended his White House run in December and endorsed Jeb Bush in January.
George W. Bush retains wide appeal among Republicans, from evangelicals and business leaders to military veterans. All are prominent in South Carolina, with Bush campaign aide Brett Doster going so far as to say that George W. Bush is “the most popular Republican alive.”
After the debate, some Republicans again suggested Trump had gone too far. Bush wasn’t alone on stage leaping to his brother’s defense, with Rubio coming back to the moment to say, “I thank God all the time it was George W. Bush in the White House on 9/11 and not Al Gore.”
The attack on George W. Bush carries risk for Trump, given the Bush family’s long social and political ties in South Carolina and the state’s hawkish national security bent, bolstered by more than a half-dozen military installations and a sizable population of veterans who choose to retire in the state.
Bush and his backers certainly hope it’s the case. Right to Rise USA, a super political action committee backing Bush, is airing two television ads blasting Trump and touting Bush for taking him on, and on Friday, a committee spokesman says, a radio ad will launch that compiles multiple audio clips of Trump using profanity in public settings, most recently when he used an uncouth epithet about Cruz.
“The time is now for South Carolina to end the Trump charade,” an announcer says.
Yet Trump has repeatedly defied predictions that his comments might threaten his perch atop the field.
As he jousted Saturday with Trump, Jeb Bush said, “this is not about my family or his family.”
But the Bushes have quite a history in South Carolina. In 2000, George W. Bush beat John McCain in a nasty contest, marred by rumors that McCain had an illegitimate black child. McCain adopted a child from Bangladesh. George H.W. Bush, the 41st president, won twice here, beating Bob Dole in 1988 and demolishing Pat Buchanan in 1992.
One of the elder Bush’s top strategists, Lee Atwater, hailed from South Carolina. Last week, Jeb Bush touted the endorsement of Iris Campbell, the widow of former South Carolina Gov. Carroll Campbell, a national co-chairman of previous Bush presidential campaigns.
Yet even as he defended his brother’s presidency at Saturday’s debate, Jeb Bush found a way to distance himself from George W. Bush’s business affairs and criticized Trump at the same time. The issue: eminent domain.
Before entering politics, George W. Bush was part-owner of the Texas Rangers, and their home city of Arlington, Texas, used eminent domain to take private land and build a stadium for the team. Trump has defended such uses of eminent domain as a way to foster economic development.
Retorted Bush, who argued eminent domain should be reserved for public infrastructure projects, “There is all sorts of intrigue about where I disagree with my brother. There would be one right there.”
Conservative U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has died, setting up a major political showdown between President Barack Obama and the Republican-controlled Senate over who will replace him just months before a presidential election.
Obama called Scalia, who served on the nation’s highest court for nearly 30 years, a “larger-than-life presence” and said he intended to nominate someone to fill the vacant seat before leaving the White House next January.
“I plan to fulfill my constitutional responsibility to appoint a successor in due time and there will be plenty of time for me to do so and for the Senate to give that person a fair hearing and timely vote,” Obama told reporters in California.
Scalia, 79, was found dead at the Cibolo Creek Ranch resort in West Texas on Saturday. He died of natural causes, according to Presidio County Judge Cinderela Guevara, who went to the ranch and saw the body.
Chief Justice John Roberts described his former colleague, who was known for his strident conservative views and theatrical flair in the courtroom, as an “extraordinary individual and jurist.”
Obama ordered flags at the White House and all federal buildings to be flown at half-staff.
A number of leading Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, immediately said they would oppose any attempt by Obama to nominate a new justice.
The political battle lines sharpened later at the Republican presidential debate in South Carolina, where front-runner Donald Trump and several of his rivals said it should be up to Obama’s successor to replace Scalia.
“Delay, delay, delay,” said Trump, who urged McConnell to block any Obama nomination.
Senator Ted Cruz of Texas said Scalia’s death highlighted what was at stake in the election. “We’re not going to give up the U.S. Supreme Court for a generation by allowing Barack Obama to make one more liberal appointee.”
Democrats lined up to push for a speedy appointment, with Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid saying it should happen “right away.”
Obama could tilt the balance of the nation’s highest court, which now consists of four conservatives and four liberals, if he is successful in pushing his nominee through the confirmation process.
Scalia, who grew up in New Jersey and graduated from Harvard Law School, was a leader of the “originalist” ideology that looks at the U.S. Constitution through the lens of its framers’ 18th century intentions.
He was the first Italian-American on the court and a devout Roman Catholic who had nine children. An avid hunter who wrote the court’s 2008 landmark opinion supporting gun rights, Scalia also was a close friend of liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, with whom he shared a love of opera and often traveled.
His replacement would be Obama’s third appointment to the nine-justice court, which is set to decide its first major abortion case in nearly 10 years as well as key cases on voting rights, affirmative action and immigration.
Waiting for the next president to make a nomination would leave Scalia’s seat empty for at least 11 months. Obama’s first two appointments to the court, liberals Sonia Sotomayor in 2009 and Elena Kagan in 2010, both experienced relatively smooth confirmation hearings in the Senate, which was then controlled by Democrats.
With Republicans now in charge of the Senate and keen to exert their influence over the process, Obama is likely to be forced into picking a moderate with little or no history of advocating for liberal causes.
The White House is also likely to consider whether to nominate a woman or a member of a minority group, or someone who fits into both categories.
It has been nearly 50 years since political wrangling between a president and Senate pushed a Supreme Court nomination into the next administration.
In 1968, Chief Justice Earl Warren made clear his intention to resign and Democratic President Lyndon Johnson sought to elevate then-Associate Justice Abe Fortas, who had been a close confidant. Senate Republicans fought the nomination, claiming “cronyism,” and Johnson withdrew it. The appointment fell to his successor, Republican Richard Nixon.
Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders battled for the crucial backing of black and Hispanic voters in Thursday night’s Democratic debate and clashed heatedly over their support for Barack Obama as the presidential race shifted toward states with more minority voters.
Clinton, who has cast herself as the rightful heir to Obama’s legacy, accused Sanders of diminishing the president’s record and short-changing his leadership.
“The kind of criticism I hear from Senator Sanders, I expect from Republicans. I do not expect it from someone seeking the Democratic nomination,” Clinton said in a sharp exchange at the close of the two-hour debate in Milwaukee. Her biting comments followed an interview in which Sanders suggested Obama hadn’t succeeded in closing the gap between Congress and the American people, something Obama himself has acknowledged.
Sanders responded: “Madam Secretary, that is a low blow.” And he noted that Clinton was the only one on the stage who ran against Obama in the 2008 presidential race.
Long viewed as the overwhelming front-runner in the Democratic race, Clinton has been caught off guard by Sanders’ strength, particularly his visceral connection with Americans frustrated by the current political and economic systems. Clinton’s own campaign message has looked muddled compared to his ringing call for a “political revolution,” and her connections to Wall Street have given Sanders an easy way to link her to the systems his supporters want to overhaul.
Seeking to stem Sanders’ momentum, her campaign has argued that his appeal is mostly limited to the white, liberal voters who make up the Democratic electorate in Iowa and New Hampshire. Clinton’s team says that as the race turns now to Nevada, South Carolina and other more diverse states, her support from black and Hispanic voters will help propel her to the nomination.
Attempting Thursday night to boost his own support from minorities, Sanders peppered his typically economic-focused rhetoric with calls to reform a “broken criminal justice system” that incarcerates a disproportionate number of minorities.
“At the end of my first term, we will not have more people in jail than any other country,” he said.
In one of many moments of agreement between the candidates, Clinton concurred on a need to fix the criminal justice system, but cast her proposals for fighting racial inequality as broader than his.
“We also have to talk about jobs, education, housing, and other ways of helping communities,” said Clinton, who was endorsed earlier in the day by the political action committee of the Congressional Black Caucus.
The candidates both vowed to pursue comprehensive immigration reform, using the emotional issue to draw a contrast with Republicans who oppose allowing many of the millions of people in the United States illegally to stay.
“We have got to stand up to the Trumps of the world who are trying to divide us up,” said Sanders, referring to Republican front-runner Donald Trump, who has called for deporting everyone in the country illegally and constructing a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Both Clinton and Sanders also disagreed with raids authorized by President Obama to arrest and deport some people from Central America who recently came to the country illegally.
“We should be deporting criminals, not hardworking immigrant families who do the very best they can,” Clinton said.
Both candidates were restrained through much of their head-to-head contest, a contrast to their campaigns’ increasingly heated rhetoric. Clinton is mindful of a need to not turn off Sanders’ voters, particularly the young people that are supporting him in overwhelming numbers.
Still, the former secretary of state sought to discredit some of the proposals that have drawn young people to Sanders, including his call for free tuition at public colleges and universities and a plan for a government-run, single-payer health care system. Clinton said those proposals come with unrealistic price tags. And she accused Sanders of trying to shade the truth about what she said would be a 40 percent increase in the size of the federal government in order to implement his policies.
Sanders didn’t shy away from the notion that he wants to expand the size of government.
“In my view, the government of a democratic society has a moral responsibility to play a vital role in making sure all our people have a decent standard of living,” Sanders said.
Sanders has focused his campaign almost exclusively on a call to break up big Wall Street banks and overhaul the current campaign finance system that he says gives wealthy Americans undue influence. His campaign contends that his message will be well-received by minority voters, arguing that blacks and Hispanics have been hurt even more by what he calls a “rigged” economy.
Clinton was animated when discussing foreign policy, an area where her campaign believes Sanders is weak. She peppered her comments on the Islamic State and Russia with reminders of her four years serving as Obama’s secretary of state. Sanders challenged her judgment by raising her support for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, a war he voted against.
In the debate’s early moments, Clinton found herself having to explain comments by surrogates, including former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, that suggested women had a responsibility to help elect the first female president.
“I’m not asking people to support me because I’m a woman,” Clinton said. “I’m asking people to support me because I think I’m the most qualified, experienced and ready person to be the president and the commander in chief.”
It was Sanders a democratic socialist who would be the first Jewish president if elected who tried to drape his candidacy in a bit of history.
“I think a Sanders victory would be of some historical accomplishment as well,” he said.
Two more Republicans have ended their White House runs, whittling down the field as the party’s remaining candidates and Democrat Hillary Clinton look to blunt the momentum of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders down south.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina both called time on their presidential bids, one day after finishing sixth and seventh, respectively, in the New Hampshire primary.
Trump and Sanders two political outsiders with vastly different ideologies, but who have a common campaign credo of speaking what they say is truth to power, served notice in the Granite State on Tuesday with their resounding victories.
Sanders almost doubled Clinton’s tally and Trump bested second place Ohio Governor John Kasich by almost 20 percentage points.
Both results shocked the party establishments, virtually guaranteeing bitter and drawn-out races for the Democratic and Republican nominations.
New Hampshire was the second stop in the months-long process to choose the two candidates who will vie to succeed President Barack Obama on Election Day, November 8.
“I leave the race without an ounce of regret,” Christie said in a Facebook post, noting that while his message had been heard by many, it was “just not enough and that’s ok.”
Fiorina, the only woman in the Republican field, said she would “continue to travel this country and fight for those Americans who refuse to settle for the way things are and a status quo that no longer works for them.”
So where do the other candidates go from here? South Carolina and Nevada, where both parties will stage nominating contests before month’s end.
The upcoming votes will be crucial for Clinton, the former secretary of state who admitted in an uneasy concession speech that she had “some work to do, particularly with young people,” to revitalize her campaign.
Clinton is seen as enjoying strong support among black voters and Sanders, realizing the need to boost his standing with African Americans, met Wednesday with prominent civil rights activist Al Sharpton in New York.
“My concern is that in January of next year, for the first time in American history, a black family will be moving out of the White House,” Sharpton said.
“I do not want black concerns to be moved out with them.”
Clinton said she recognized the American electorate’s fury with establishment politics.
“People have every right to be angry,” she said. “But they’re also hungry, they’re hungry for solutions.”
Sanders has signaled he is in the race to win and expects the coming weeks to be even more closely fought. The next battle is in Nevada on February 20, followed by South Carolina.
“They’re throwing everything at me except the kitchen sink, and I have the feeling that kitchen sink is coming pretty soon,” he said in a buoyant victory speech.
Beefing up his ability to take the fight to Clinton for the long term, the Sanders camp announced he raised $5.2 million in the 18 hours following his New Hampshire win.
For now, he reigns supreme with young voters: Clinton received just 16 percent of the vote among people under 29, according to New Hampshire exit polls.
If the Democratic race is poised to take a more confrontational turn, then Republicans are set for all out internecine warfare.
Trump’s visceral assault on American politics brought him his debut victory after a second-place showing in last week’s Iowa caucuses.
It was a must win for Trump, after his embarrassing performance in the Hawkeye State called into question his frontrunner status and brand as a winner.
But similar levels of support for Kasich, Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Marco Rubio and former Florida governor Jeb Bush left the field in turmoil. The last remaining candidate, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, finished farther off the pace.
Now the fight moves to South Carolina, a state with a lingering reputation for bare-knuckle campaign tactics.
Even before the candidates arrived, the state’s airwaves were being flooded with negative attack ads, with each man hoping to emerge as the mainstream answer to Trump.
“They’ve written me off in this campaign, over and over again,” Bush told supporters in Bluffton, South Carolina, arguing that his campaign got a new lease on life even though he finished fourth up north.