This morning it looked like Donald Trump might maintain his slim lead in the delegate count, and although he does remain the prohibitive frontrunner, Non-Trump now leads Trump 365-316. 1,237 are needed to secure the nomination in Cleveland.
The current thinking is that there is still a way to stop Trump, who has yet to score better than a large plurality in any statewide poll. With Ted Cruz in a solid second place, the remaining contenders — Marco Rubio, John Kasich, and Ben Carson — would have to drop out and pledge their support (and their delegates) to Cruz. The GOPe could grit its teeth and accept a hated Cruz before a detested Trump.
Florida might be the place to stop Trump, just two weeks from now.
The Sunshine State holds 99 delegates and they are winner-take-all. This isn’t first place gets a Cadillac and second place gets a set of steak knives. This is first place gets the Cadillac, the steak knives, and a date with your mom. RCP’s poll averaging gives Trump a nearly 20-point lead, but with only about 40% of the vote. In theory then, Cruz could beat Trump and snare Florida’s 99 delegates — if everybody else drops out and works their bottoms off for Cruz, while also continuing to lay down the heavy fire on Trump’s weaker positions. Making things easier is that Cruz has outperformed the polls in closed primaries like Florida’s, winning three out of four.
There is one teensy little fly in the ointment, however.
Florida is Rubio’s home state, and it’s the one big state where he comfortably out-polls Cruz. Rubio could make the case that he’s the stronger candidate against Clinton, and that he also has a better chance of overcoming Trump in Florida than Cruz has. Whether or not Rubio actually would be stronger against Clinton is subject for debate, but it isn’t the kind of debate that’s of much interest to anyone with the ego to run for president at such a young age. That’s doubly true when it all seems to be coming down to Rubio’s home state. And that’s triply true since as the last GOPe candidate left standing, he will have the party’s full strength (or whatever is left of it) encouraging him to stay the course.
And then there’s this, contradicting the poll averages.
Only poll in FL that uses a voter file (closed primary):
Pre-debate/pre-Trump attacks. It’s not a 15-20 pt race.
— Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) March 2, 2016
How does Cruz talk Rubio into folding when it looks like he might already be within striking distance of Trump?
And that poll comes fast on the heels of this story, which you had better believe won’t serve Trump well going forward:
Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like:
“Political Cesspool” host James Edwards thinks that slavery was the greatest thing that ever happened to black people. He also thinks that Donald Trump is the greatest thing that ever happened to the Republican Party.
Edwards attended a Trump rally in Memphis last Saturday, as a fully credentialed member of the press. From the media pen, Edwards hosted a live broadcast of his “unapologetically pro-white” radio show, and snagged a 20-minute interview with our future president’s oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., according to a blog post published Tuesday. Past guests on “Political Cesspool” have included Ku Klux Klan leaders, Holocaust deniers, and Holocaust affirmers (a.k.a. neo-Nazis).
While I haven’t joined ranks with the #NeverTrump crowd and have no intention of doing so, the Trump clan’s penchant this cycle for playing footsie with alt-“right” white nationalists and their ilk doesn’t speak well of their political instincts — or much else. Clearly there’s a massive political realignment going on, but it’s unclear who wins or who loses (other than the GOPe, that is.) At this point I remain firmly convinced that Trump could be the first candidate to lose all 50 states — or to sweep all 50. We’re all witnesses to the Ford Prefect Primary, in which the only way to save your sanity is in letting yourself go mad.
The irony is that Super Tuesday was originally conceived in 1988 as a regional primary important enough (and expensive enough) to drive out all but one or two candidates, winnowing the field to just the potential November winners. But last night’s mixed results have given us a crazy situation. As of today, the prohibitive frontrunner may have lost a little ground, the distant second-place candidate got a second-wind, and Tuesday provided one helluva perverse incentive for the third-place candidate to stick around just long enough to help the frontrunner.
Anyone else want to join me in a bottle of bourbon or three?