Marco Rubio bowed the the inevitable and accepted that the voters really don’t like him that much, withdrawing from the Republican primary race after finishing a distant second to Donald Trump in his home state of Florida and coming in dead last in the other four states of Ohio, Illinois, North Carolina, and Missouri, getting less than 10% in each of those contests.
I am not sorry to see Rubio drop out, given that he is an climate change denier, anti-LGBT, anti-women, and a religious extremist. Since his senate term expires at the end of this year, starting January 1, he will not be holding any elected office. This means that he can either join the conservative welfare system that richly rewards losing rightwing extremists by offering them lucrative jobs as a TV personality, lobbyist, or in some ‘think tank’, or he can start the painful process of beginning a new campaign for president based on some real achievements rather than glib talking points. This could involve him running for governor of Florida in 2018 and, if he wins two terms, running in 2028 for president on his record as governor. He will then be 57 years old. But I doubt him taking this route. It involves too much work and there is something Palinesque in him, the desire to seek high office being greater than actually doing the work involved in getting there as can be seen by the fact that he has the worst attendance record in the US senate and has hardly any achievements there to his name.
Donald Trump won three states yesterday, lost to John Kasich in the latter’s home state of Ohio, and is still locked in a tight race with Ted Cruz in Missouri where they are separated by only 0.2%. Hillary Clinton won easily in Florida, North Carolina, and Ohio, won by a margin of less than 2% in Illinois, and is still in a tight race with Bernie Sanders in Missouri where they too are separated by just 0.2%.
So what now? Trump currently has about half of the 1,237 delegates he needs to win and there are still over 1,100 left up for grabs. I cannot see Kasich winning anywhere else and that leaves the race between Trump and Cruz. Despite Kasich’s win in Ohio, and Cruz’s claims that he is the only one who can stop Trump, it seems clear that Trump will go to the convention with either a majority of delegates and win on the first ballot or with such a large plurality that denying him the nomination would lead to chaos and anger on a scale that we have not seen in a political convention since the Democratic convention of 1968.
Trump himself fired a warning shot at those who would deny him the nomination..
“I think we will win before getting to the convention,” he continued. “But I can tell you, if we didn’t and if we’re 20 votes short or if we’re 100 short and we’re at 1,100 and somebody else is at 500 or 400 because we’re way ahead of everybody, I don’t think you can say that we don’t get it automatically, I think you would have riots. I think you would have riots.”
Despite all the tough talk by the vehemently anti-Trump factions and their vows to still find ways to defeat him, I expect that most of these people will slowly fold and come around to accepting Trump even if grudgingly. They will have to eat a lot of their past words but these people are highly practiced when it comes to reversing positions, have no shame, and can pivot completely around if they feel the need. What the Republican party will seek to do is try to limit the damage to their candidates in congressional and gubernatorial races by getting Trump to tone down his inflammatory rhetoric for the general election. Good luck with that.
On the Democratic side, since none of their primaries are winner-take-all, Clinton has increased her total of elected delegates to 1,074 while Sanders has 762 of the 4,051 elected delegates. But the so-called ‘superdelegate’ system that the Democratic party has that gives the party establishment extra influence tilts the scale very much in favor of Clinton by a margin of 467 to 26 of the total of 712. The superdelegates represent 15% of the total. The Sanders campaign thinks that the states coming up are more favorable to them but they still have a very difficult challenge ahead of them to overtake Clinton.