Trump supreme as pres­i­den­tial race rolls on

Lesotho Times - - International -

WASH­ING­TON — Only five Repub­li­cans were left in the race for the White House Sun­day, and fron­trun­ner Don­ald Trump ham­mered home the idea that he is the only one who could de­feat Demo­crat Hil­lary Clin­ton in Novem­ber.

Trump’s vic­tory lap came af­ter his re­sound­ing win on Satur­day in the South Carolina pri­mary — a con­test that helped whit­tle down the field when for­mer Florida gov­er­nor Jeb Bush called time on his White House bid.

Clin­ton de­feated ri­val Bernie San­ders in the Ne­vada Demo­cratic cau­cuses on Satur­day, but their duel looks set to last, with the for­mer sec­re­tary of state’s cam­paign show­ing some weak­nesses, es­pe­cially among young vot­ers.

“No­body is un­stop­pable,” Trump told CNN, even pay­ing trib­ute to Bush — who he re­peat­edly sav­aged on the cam­paign trail — as “very ca­pa­ble.”

“I have some ad­van­tages but it will be hard,” the 69-year-old bil­lion­aire busi­ness­man told NBC’S “Meet the Press.”

Speak­ing from Palm Beach, Florida, where he owns a re­sort, Trump made the rounds of the Sun­day political talk shows, re­peat­ing that his Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial ri­vals — es­pe­cially Sen­a­tors Ted Cruz and Marco Ru­bio — were for­mi­da­ble foes.

“He’s very tal­ented,” the real es­tate ty­coon told CNN. “And cer­tainly he could beat me, and so could Marco, and so could the oth­ers that are run­ning. You know, cra­zier things hap­pen in the world of pol­i­tics.”

But he in­sisted he did not think the race would come down to a so-called bro­kered Repub­li­can con­ven­tion in July — a sit­u­a­tion in which none of the can­di­dates has an ab­so­lute ma­jor­ity of nom­i­nat­ing del­e­gates.

So far, ac­cord­ing to the New York Times, Trump has 61 del­e­gates, while Cruz has 11 and Ru­bio has 10. A to­tal of 1 237 are needed to win the nom­i­na­tion.

Trump made the case that he could be the con­sen­sus can­di­date.

“I’ll bring over a lot of Democrats, bring over a lot of in­de­pen­dents,” he said on CNN, au­da­ciously pre­dict­ing that he could even win largely Demo­cratic New York state in the Novem­ber 8 gen­eral elec­tion.

“If I win New York, the elec­tion’s over,” he said.

“It is out­ra­geous that th­ese al­le­ga­tions have been brought to the car­di­nal’s at­ten­tion through a me­dia leak.”

Ac­cus­ing el­e­ments in the Vic­to­ria po­lice of try­ing to smear him, Pell called for a pub­lic in­quiry into the leak.

“Th­ese types of un­fair at­tacks di­min­ish the work of those good

“If it’s Hil­lary against me, that’s go­ing to be a tremen­dous turnout. I’m go­ing to win.”

Ru­bio, who is 25 years his ju­nior and a first­term sen­a­tor from Florida, fin­ished in se­cond place in South Carolina on Satur­day, edg­ing out Cruz. He says he in­tends to show vot­ers that Trump is all style and no sub­stance.

“If you’re run­ning to be pres­i­dent of the United States, you can’t just tell peo­ple you’re go­ing to make Amer­ica great again,” Ru­bio told CBS News’s “Face the Na­tion,” cit­ing Trump’s cam­paign slo­gan.

He specif­i­cally cited Trump’s favourable view of Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin as wor­ri­some.

Cruz ques­tioned Trump’s con­ser­va­tive bona fides, not­ing his for­merly pro­gres­sive views on so­cial is­sues such as abor­tion.

The Clin­ton camp was breath­ing a col­lec­tive sigh of re­lief Sun­day af­ter her vic­tory in Ne­vada by five per­cent­age points — 52.7 per­cent to 47.2 per­cent for San­ders. It was a needed re­bound af­ter her loss in New Hamp­shire.

So far, ac­cord­ing to The New York Times, she has 502 del­e­gates to 70 for the sen­a­tor from Ver­mont thanks to 451 “su­perdel­e­gates” — Demo­cratic party heavy­weights who vote of­fi­cers of the po­lice who are dili­gently work­ing to bring jus­tice to vic­tims,” it said.

The state­ment said Pell had been ex­on­er­ated by a pre­vi­ous Aus­tralian in­ves­ti­ga­tion into false al­le­ga­tions against him, and in­sisted he would be cleared again.

“The South­well Re­port which ex­on­er­ated Car­di­nal Pell has been in at the con­ven­tion but who are not bound by the re­sults of any pri­mary.

Black vot­ers helped Clin­ton win in Ne­vada, and she will need their sup­port again in South Carolina, which holds its Demo­cratic pri­mary on Fe­bru­ary 27 and which in 2008 had a Demo­cratic elec­torate that was 55 per­cent African Amer­i­can.

“I want to knock down all the bar­ri­ers hold­ing peo­ple back,” the 68-year-old Clin­ton told CNN in an in­ter­view aired Sun­day.

That is one of her stock cam­paign mes­sages — she has talked at length on the trail about the need to ad­dress racism and eco­nomic dis­par­i­ties in Amer­i­can so­ci­ety. She says San­ders’s mes­sage is too vague and won’t fix prob­lems. But the 74-year-old self-de­scribed demo­cratic so­cial­ist em­pha­sizes that his pop­u­lar­ity is not lim­ited to any one com­mu­nity and is grounded in young vot­ers — of all races.

“We have a lot of work to do,” he ad­mit­ted Sun­day on CBS, but added: “I think as peo­ple be­come fa­mil­iar with my ideas, we are go­ing to do bet­ter and bet­ter.”

San­ders has his sights set on Su­per Tues­day, March 1, when 18 per­cent of Demo­cratic del­e­gates will be up for grabs in a dozen US states and ter­ri­to­ries. — AFP

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