Anxiety grows about how high the stakes are in Nevada and South Carolina.
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Marco Rubio
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Anxiety grows about how high the stakes are in Nevada and South Carolina.

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21 February 2016 (USA)  »

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The Circus: Fear and Loathing
20 March 2016 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Nevada and South Carolina are up for grabs for both the Republican and Democratic parties, while the likes of Mark Halperin and John Heilemann chronicle the races and debate with their political counterparts (Halperin following the Republican while Heilmann follows the Democratic primary process) on who is successful (or not), how, and why. This episode has the infamous Trump rally where, after a protester is carried out, says to the audience that in the old days someone like that guy would be "carried out on the stretcher" and that he'd like to punch him in the face! The way the crowd cheers in unison will be viewed by some (like me) as unsettling while his supporters consider his remarks as appropriate considering the nature of protest (it can be annoying to the candidates speaking). Hillary is pretty much mum during one rally while the African-American mothers of murdered sons speak out about why she is the candidate to support due to her being there to listen to their pain during one of the worst times of their lives (although, I'm of the opinion it was for political reasons). It is hard not to be moved by the mothers and how they articulate their feelings, while Hillary reaps the rewards of their dutiful advocating for her election. Meanwhile, poor Bernie endures hardships and setbacks by the successful campaign Hillary achieves, debating with one of Heilemann's brilliant assistants about his closing the gap (perhaps in denial but not giving up which in and of itself is admirable). He even has the wherewithal to attend a crawfish gathering despite the fact he had little chance it seems of winning the African-American vote Hillary had benefited from. Cruz's campaign takes a hit when he comes in third in Nevada relying on his home state of Texas as a bounce-back (although it is recognized that this set back is significant considering the desperation to win the home state when other states are being lost appears to show an emerging state of constant defeat), while it is pointed out that few are truly going after Trump to define weaknesses in his message and strategy. This episode shows the notorious "wet pants" comment by Marco Rubio who mentioned that during breaks at the CNN debate Trump was furious that he was being challenged. This does underlie how bright and intuitive Rubio is and how his attacks on Trump had merit and proved points even though they were too little, too late. Eventually, we see that Trump won both Arizona and South Carolina, as did Hillary Clinton. Hillary's daughter, Chelsea, is proved to be quite an efficient and impressive speaker, during a small, closed-room rally for her mom, while Donald Jr. appeals to a crowd of Arizona voters using his devotion to the second amendment as an avid hunter. While the candidates spend precious little time with those behind the scenes of this series, the capturing of this historical era of a presidential campaign will be looked at in years to come as an important artifact and document of a race for the White House certain to shape the country for years to come.


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