It's Super Saturday, and The Verdict Is In: Cruz Surprised
Kentucky has now been called for Donald Trump. With 73 percent reporting:
Trump (35.3 percent) -- 13 delegates. Cruz (31.3 percent) -- 13 delegates. Rubio (16.8 percent) -- 6 delegates. Kasich (14.8 percent) -- 5 delegates.
Cruz won two states (Kansas and Maine), and Trump won two states (Louisiana and Kentucky). But more importantly, Cruz's large margin of victory in both Kansas and Maine translates to a larger delegate win for the Texas senator. Trump's close wins in Louisiana and Kentucky mean Cruz won almost as many delegates in those states as he did! (The delegate counts herein presented are a baseline -- not all delegates from these states have yet been awarded.)
Cruz winning Kansas isn't surprising -- Cruz winning Kansas by 25 percentage points is
— Micah Cohen (@micahcohen) March 5, 2016
Overall, Cruz won 60 delegates tonight, to Trump's 44 delegates, Rubio's 12, and Kasich's 8.
This is very bad news for Trump. Here's FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver on what this spread could mean:
4 wins — great night for Trump;
3 wins — status quo, in line with expectations;
2 wins — shows vulnerability, although Trump is still the frontrunner;
1 win — Trump may have major problems, although keep in mind these are small, quirky states;
0 wins — no more excuses; this means he somehow lost Louisiana — catastrophe.
Obviously the margins matter too, however. If Trump loses Kansas and Maine big but only narrowly wins Kentucky and Louisiana, that might be closer to the “1 win” than the “2 win” interpretation.
Tonight's results demonstrate that an anti-Trump coalition is possible and could actually stop The Donald from becoming the nominee. They also seem to point toward Ted Cruz as the ultimate challenger for Trump. There may still be some time for Rubio and Kasich, but each of them desperately needs a win to justify the idea that they could also defeat Trump.