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NATIONAL REPORT — Super Tuesday shed a very strong light on what the general election campaign is going to look like, as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump performed well and both solidified their frontrunner status.
More importantly, according to Joe Kefauver of public affairs and creative firm Align Public Strategies and Convenience Store News’ government affairs columnist, the 2016 Super Tuesday results were “essentially a validation of Donald Trump's campaign style and strategy so far.”
As Kefauver further explained, “Whether you are a fan of The Donald or not, it is clear that part of that strategy has been focusing on social issues like immigration, race and other political hot potatoes and pushing issues important to Main Street merchants to the backburner.”
To date, there has not been a whole lot of conversation on the Republican side about job creation, economic growth, tax reform and the increasing pressure on small business.
To be fair, Trump has ranted about illegal immigration, high corporate taxes and forcing domestic companies to keep jobs in the United States, but there’s been relatively little fanfare over reducing oppressive government regulation, cutting government spending, energy policy or other business concerns.
The lack of focus on the economy and business issues by the GOP candidates is particularly noticeable because the Democratic candidates — Clinton and the socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders — have been a blast talking about income inequality, wage stagnation and the shrinking middle class.
“To date, it’s been a very one-sided conversation,” Kefauver told CSNews Online, “often putting a negative light on entry-level employers.”
As a result of Super Tuesday, it looks like operators can expect a lot more of the same going forward: Republicans talking about social issues at the expense of small-business owners and Democrats talking about wage stagnation at the expense of, you guessed it, small-business owners.
“It could be a long year,” Kefauver said.
Trump’s success has been as much a surprise to convenience store retailers as it has been to the media and the Republican Party establishment. Retailers polled in CSNews’ exclusive Retailer Forecast Study, published in the January issue, said they expected a contest between Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Clinton. Retailers gave the nod on the Republican side to Rubio (29.4 percent), slightly ahead of Ben Carson (23.5 percent) and Trump (17.6 percent). It’s beginning to look like those results were wishful thinking.
Politico.com reports that Trump currently leads the GOP race with 319 delegates, followed by Sen. Ted Cruz with 226 delegates, Rubio with 110, Ohio Gov. John Kasich with 25, and heart surgeon Carson with eight. A Republican candidate needs 1,237 delegates to clinch the nomination. There are still 1,777 delegates up for grabs.
On the Democrats’ side, Clinton has 1,052 delegates to Sanders’ 427, with 172 currently “uncommitted.” The Democrat candidate needs 2,883 delegates to clinch, and there are 3,286 remaining.