It's another big night for the presidential candidates: a couple hundred delegates are up for grabs in four states for Republicans, and two states for Democrats. It's not quite as important as Super Tuesday, but after Florida & friends vote next week there won't be another huge voting night until California lumbers into the race. (Whoops, got my states mixed up in the first draft of this description, corrected now.)
I'll be keeping an eye on results as they trickle in, filtering out the garbage and noise (which is most of that the campaigns will be generating tonight) and updating this post with the important/funny details.
5:20 With zero percent of the precincts reporting in, the NY Times has already called Mississippi for Clinton. Bernie never really had a chance of winning that state. But remember, the winner doesn't matter as much as their margin of victory, since that's what determines how many delegates they get.
5:25 Kind of a snide remark from Hillary today: "The sooner I could become your nominee, the more I could begin to turn attention to the Republicans." Has a whiff of inevitability that suggests Bernie's wasting time and resources that could be better spent attacking the Republicans.
5:30 Apparently Donald Trump is displaying some of his name-branded merchandise at a rally tonight — steaks, water, wine. The wine, I've read, is from Virginia, making it one of his only American-produced products.
5:40 Looks like another nice night for Trump — early returns show him ahead in Michigan and Mississippi. Exit polls show him doing particularly well with voters who say that they are "angry." Yoda would not approve.
5:45 There was a ballot shortage today in Michigan, with voters turned away.
5:55 Different outlets are reporting different Democratic leaders in Michigan: some say Hillary, others say Hillary. It's likely to be a close outcome, which means an even split among the delegates. Hillary's probably going to get way more in Mississippi, so overall tonight should expand her lead over Bernie.
6:05 Nice pep talk from Bernie in Miami to his superfans. The Florida primary is next week. Hillary's currently polling there at around 60% to Bernie's 30-ish.
Bernie Sanders crowd knows his speech by heart. "Does anybody here know what the average contribution is?"
— Chris Megerian (@ChrisMegerian) March 9, 2016
6:15 Mississippi's been called for Trump, with a pretty strong lead. He's got 51% right now, with Cruz trailing behind at 35%.
6:20 Bernie's suing Ohio to try to let 17 year-olds vote. The Secretary of State there is engaged in some shady reading of the rules that would allow 17-year-olds to vote in some elections but not in primaries. The Secretary of State (a Republican, surprise!) says that they can only vote in "nominating contests," not elections. What's the difference? Well, we have a week to sort that out before the Ohio primary. Personally I'm not sure why we have any age limits at all on voting — even if preschoolers were voting we wouldn't be getting any candidates worse than the Republican frontrunner.
6:25 Michigan's been called for Trump, again with a strong lead over Cruz. We don't have any substantive results from any of the elections, though — it's too early to tell how many delegates anyone's getting. Hawaii's polls don't close until 10pm our time, though residents of that state get so few delegates their votes don't count as much as the other states up for grabs tonight. Anyway, we probably won't have definitive numbers until tomorrow morning.
6:40 In Michigan, 12% of Republicans say that if it was only Cruz and Trump on the ballot tonight, they woulnd't have voted.
7:00 Hillary just had a little victory speech in Cleveland. (Ohio votes next week.) Trump was already giving a speech from Florida, though, and apparently none of the cable networks cut away from him to her. That's a shame, because I'd really like to see how Trump reacts to being cut off by a powerful woman. Graciously, I bet. (Happy International Women's Day!)
7:05 Trump's speech, it should be pointed out, was largely a sales pitch for his products — the steaks, his wines, even his not-a-real-university.
FINALLY, someone on CNN says something candid: calls Trump's speech "a freak-show infomercial."
— emily nussbaum (@emilynussbaum) March 9, 2016
7:30 Clinton speech highlights: economic plan; penalizing companies that move headquarters overseas; affordable college; incentives for companies to share profits with employees. It really is galling that the news networks stuck with Trump's infomercial over her ... but then again, if you had a choice of watching a crazy man sell steaks or a sensible leader talk about tax policy, which one do you think you'd be more likely to stick with?
8:45 Bernie squeaked through in Michigan! It's a very close margin, but that certainly defies the polling the showed Hillary as the likely winner. They'll walk away with approximately the same number of delegates, so it's more of a victory over polling data than over Hillary. Still, a big boost for his campaign. He also just barely won any delegates at all in Mississippi — right now he's running at about 16%. The cutoff for being denied any delegates is 15%.
9:00 Looks like a handy Cruz win in Idaho. We won't have Hawaii numbers for another couple of hours.
9:10 Tentative delegate counts for the Democrats: 81 for Hillary, 64 for Bernie. How come Bernie did so much better than the data indicated he would? It looks like African-American voters, who in past votes gave overwhelming support to Hillary, are warming to Bernie.
9:30 The conventional wisdom on how Bernie defied expectations tonight is that there is no conventional wisdom. Yet. He did much better among several groups than he had in the past, and while there are a lot of theories about how he did that, it basically boils down to "oh he's actually a really good candidate when people get to hear him talk." This makes next week's big vote a lot more volatile. See you then! Goodnight.