2016 election tightens as candidates gear up for Super Tuesday

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This was a big weekend for the 2016 election. Donald Trump won the South Carolina primary and Jeb Bush suspended his campaign, transforming the GOP election into a three-man battle. In the Democratic race, Hillary Clinton’s Nevada victory proved how essential a large turnout is for Bernie Sanders’ campaign.

The Republican candidates caucus in Nevada Tuesday, Democrats in South Carolina Saturday, and then it’s on to Super Tuesday next week — the day of the year that almost always determines the party candidates.

Trump won South Carolina with 32.4 percent. Marco Rubio barely snagged second with 22.4 percent, and Ted Cruz claimed third with 22.2 percent.

Trump reacted to his victory on Twitter.

And always refusing to keep it classy, he then echoed his claim from the GOP debate that Cruz is a liar and that’s why he’s losing.

Bush trailed behind in fourth with just under 8 percent of the vote, closely followed by John Kasich and Ben Carson. “The people of Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina have spoken, and I really respect their decision,” Bush said in his speech announcing he was dropping out of the race after the results of the primary.

With Bush out, the race narrows to three: Trump, Cruz and Rubio, or as NBC’s First Read put it, the Republican race comes down to “Mr. Change, Mr. Values and Mr. Electability.”

Clinton and Sanders had another close race in Nevada, but this time Clinton came away with a clear victory of 52.2 percent of the vote, compared to Sanders’ 47.8 percent. The turnout in Nevada was decisively smaller (80,000 voters) than in 2008 when 120,000 voters rallied around Barack Obama. These results solidify how important it is for Sanders’ success to have a large, young turnout in the polls.

The Clinton campaign can take a deep breath while Sanders has to figure out how to convince Democrats to turnout and help spark his revolution.

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