And then there were three


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.

Comments

  1. sonofrojblake says

    getting Trump to tone down his inflammatory rhetoric for the general election. Good luck with that

    I think he WILL tone it down, once he’s secured the nomination, but emphatically not because of anything the Republican party asks him to do. He’s made perfectly clear, over and over again, that he regards the Party establishment as a bunch of barely functional idiots. He’s been behaving as the presumptive nominee for months. When he actually gains the nomination, he will be the one giving the orders.

    Right now, his rhetoric is designed to appeal solely to the Republicans who will give him the delegates he needs. Nobody should be surprised his message right now is extreme.

    In the runup to the election, though, he needs to sway Democrats, and floating voters. If anyone thinks he’s too stupid to change how he comes across when that becomes necessary, they probably haven’t been paying attention.

  2. felicis says

    “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.”

    These numbers are the same as several months ago – has no-one gone back and asked if any have changed their mind?

    It really bugs me that the superdelegate count is being reported as though none of these people could change their minds over the next 90 days (or, indeed, have changed their mind since last being asked who they support…)

  3. brucegee1962 says

    @1 sonofrojblake:

    I agree; in fact, I think that his famous “shoot someone on fifth avenue” statement was actually code for: “If I reverse myself on every single position that’s come out of my mouth, none of my followers will care less. Because this isn’t about all of your fancy ‘positions’ and ‘policies’ and ‘ideas.’ It’s all about ME! ME ME!”

  4. doublereed says

    I think Trump just can emphasize his more leftist positions, like trade policy or healthcare. He doesn’t need to reverse direction, because he’s so wildly inconsistent from day to day that he doesn’t have much of a direction to begin with. I don’t see why he would tone down the inflammatory rhetoric. That’s what is getting voter turnout for him.

  5. raven says

    Yeah, I think Trump will pivot starting now to being more Presidential. He’s even said this.
    Let’s see if he actually can though. He’s pretty erratic but he isn’t stupid.

    He’s right that the GOP can’t deepsix him without “starting riots”. There won’t be any riots though. Old white people don’t riot. There will be a lot of angry people though and that will cost the GOP too many of their voters.

  6. Nick Gotts says

    felices@2,

    Nate Silver argues that while Sanders has a mountain to climb to win a majority of elected delgates, if he does so it will be because “something cataclysmic” has happened:

    Sanders will need to win about 58 percent* of the remaining 2,000 or so elected delegates to tie Clinton. Since the Democrats allot delegates proportionally, that means he’d need to win about 58 percent of the vote in the average remaining state to Clinton’s 42 percent, meaning he’d need to beat Clinton by around 16 points the rest of the way. Sanders would also have to overcome Clinton’s huge lead in superdelegates, although that’s probably the least of his worries. (If Clinton goes from winning the average state by double digits to losing it by the same margin, something cataclysmic will have had to have happened, likely sending her superdelegates scurrying for the exits.)

    *I make it just over 57%.

    As for the Republicans, I agree with Mano that much of the Republican establishment will fall in behind Trump if he gets to the convention with a clear plurality of delegates, but in the immediate future I think they’ll be split four ways: reluctantly-accepting-Trump, anyone-but-Trump (i.e., in practice, supporting Cruz), anyone-but-Trump-or-Cruz (hoping for a contested convention in which somehow they’d be able to dump both the top candidates), and let’s-find-some-mug-to-run-as-an-independent (giving up hope of stopping Trump being nominated, but still unable to stomach him). There’s a meeting of prominent anti-Trump conservatives to consider options other than the first tomorrow. But if they’re going to launch an independent candidate, they’ll need to get on with it. Maybe they’ll start the process off, while hinting that they could abandon it if Trump can be halted.

  7. deepak shetty says

    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.

    Well we have had our differences with Trump – but its clear that the biggest danger facing our Judeo-Christian nation is Hillary Clinton. This Satan worshipping, atheist, friend of muslims is also a woman. She will make abortion mandatory for all women alongside of making contraception mandatory too. She will raise taxes on everything including Viagara.
    Its clear we all have to unite behind Trump.

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