Lemme just say this now. Even assuming a 2/2 split today…

…Donald Trump had a bad night tonight and Ted Cruz had a great one.  This was supposed to be a four state sweep for Trump with maybe a squeaker in Kansas. Instead what we got was a hard win for Cruz in Kansas and a legitimately surprising (to people who didn’t notice the polling issues) one for Cruz in Maine. We won’t know for some time whether the night will get any worse for Trump; nobody wants to call Kentucky while its two biggest counties (by far) are out, but observers are dubious that the expected gains for Cruz there will make up the difference. And everybody assumes that Louisiana (which is still voting) will go for Trump because, well, who knows?

But as a proof-of-concept… yeah, I think that if you don’t like negative political attacks then you should probably go live on a pillar for a couple of weeks, because they’re just gonna keep happening. Gonna be a slog. Gonna be a lonnnnng slog.  Rubio (who is having a bad night himself, even if he doesn’t care because Florida*) probably will win Puerto Rico tomorrow, and then there’s Michigan, and then it just goes on and on and on. And yes, there is a strategy there.  Or so I suspect.

[UPDATE: Trump won Kentucky (by only 3) and probably Louisiana (by probably 5 or so), but not in a fun way for him: Louisiana in particular demonstrated the drastic difference between early and same-day voting. They called LA right away because the early voting had Trump ahead by 20, and since then horrified political scientists across the spectrum watched as that lead drained in a way not hitherto seen by mortal eyes. Ted Cruz had a really, really good night tonight.]

Moe Lane

*That’s a post for another time.  Suffice it to say that Florida is gonna be a warzone, and the Rubio campaign already sees the right kind of movement for them.

22 thoughts on “Lemme just say this now. Even assuming a 2/2 split today…”

  1. So is there anyone who Rubio respects enough to listen to, to tell him it’s time to get out? All he’s doing now is helping Trump. A distant fourth in the liberal state of Maine, with no delegates, ought to be the writing on the wall.

      1. And if can manage to win FL, then he’ll have kept 100 delegates out of Trump’s tiny hands which likely prevents Trump from being able to win the nomination outright. And if Kasich can do the same in Ohio, then it’s done. Trump’s been stopped.

        1. Ummm… not quite – it doesn’t finish Trump, it forces him to make deals between June 7 and July 17 or whatever the dates are.
          Let’s not go letting our guard down, ‘kay?

          1. True enough, and I second your call for caution. However, if he’s been bled out that badly, few will want to make deals. These debates and his erratic behavior in them have severely limited his appeal. If he drops FL and/or Ohio, he’ll likely have the stench of death on him and good chunk of his voters from earlier states will be looking to back someone else at a open convention. Hence the importance of beating him up mercilessly.

          2. True, but Trump has been attacking the whole Republican party. And has backtracked on his word multiple times during his run. I am thinking “deals” are going to be real hard to pull off……

          3. The question, for Robert and Aruges, is … Just how good is Trump at … The art of the deal,

  2. Thinking about it, Cruz making a play for Florida may actually be what Rubio needs to win there. Assuming 1) that poll showing Rubio has closed the gap with Trump to 5 points, and 2) Trump is bleeding atmosphere like we think is after the past two debates and three primary election days, Trump is finally vulnerable. Assuming further still that voters bleeding from Trump are more likely to go to Cruz because they’re anti-establishment but conservative, and that Rubio’s support is not likely to bleed to either Cruz or Trump at this late juncture, it might just work.
    That’s a lot of assumptions, but I think it makes sense. And of the three possible outcomes from this gamble, Cruz benefits from at least two of them. He could actually win Florida himself, which is obviously to his benefit. He could hurt Trump enough to hand Rubio a win, which helps him by keeping delegates away from Trump and making his task easier. Or Trump could still win, which isn’t good, but it buries Rubio, which helps give Cruz the one-on-one race he wants with Trump.
    There are obviously a lot of moving parts here, but like I said, I think it makes sense. And Cruz has been willing to gamble like this before if he sees a path to victory.
    “He either fears his fate too much,
    Or his deserts are small,
    That dares not put it to the touch
    To gain or lose it all. “

      1. A lot of them have made a public stand of #NeverTrump. So they’re kind of stuck either supporting Cruz, or looking like flakes. (Granted, I’m not saying that one is necessarily more likely than the other, but they HAVE to have some idea of the amount of ridicule they’d open themselves up to if they welched. Surely they can’t be that oblivious.)

        1. ….. Alabama primary, 10% went to Carson.
          Good man or not, that ain’t votin’ wit’ strategery, eh?
          So …. I do wonder where Rubio fans will go, because if this primary proves nothing else, it clearly shows voters are primarily *emotional*.


          1. Bugger. Trying to come up with a Merlin quote about emotion being stronger than thought, and failing miserably. I can’t even come up with whether it was Steinbeck, Tennyson, or Malory.

    1. Florida is a closed primary which Cruz has done well in, and I hear that Cruz opened up 10 new campaign offices in Florida, so he must see an opportunity there.

    1. *does math* Dammit, fine not all the “victor’s delegates” are awarded yet, so Trump will gain. but it’ll still be about a tie. I’m okay with that.

      1. The general consensus on Twitter seems to be that Cruz won the delegate totals, thanks to his wins being by wider margins than Trump’s.

        1. Yep, from what I’m seeing and hearing when Cruz wins he wins big, when Trump wins he wins small. As Ace put it ” If Trump’s not a winner what is he?” And that will have it’s own knock on effect with his weaker supporters. And as we all know everything with Trump has to be Yuuugge! To quote a line from “The Thirteenth Warrior”; “Today was a very good day!”.
          And don’t forget Bernie is still giving Hillary! fits.

  3. Moe, have you seen Wolf Hall? It’s A Man For All Seasons from Thomas Cromwell’s perspective. It’s…instructive.

  4. Not real shocked Trump took Jefferson County, given the people I saw when I voted this morning. Aside from a lady sporting a Cruz hat, no visible supporters of anyone … except a couple Trumpers with a table of ‘general’ literature–about the dangers of H1-B visas, and with a couple hand-written Trump signs behind them.

    Lots of enthusiasm, but most visibly for the Stubby-Fingered Vulgarian. Regardless of how the Trump campaign ends, the result’s going to be a lot of disillusionment for his supporters.

    On the other hand, I was surprised that he didn’t take Fayette County. I guess his rally here paid off for him.

  5. “Suffice it to say that Florida is gonna be a warzone, and the Rubio campaign already sees the right kind of movement for them.”

    Are they really seeing that, or just saying that?

    The way Rubio went from 20% in early voting to 11% overall should scare the daylights out of any Rubio supporters.

    When do we get some more polling?

    1. Never ask me about the polling. Seriously: state-level polling is driving us all insane in this business. As for early voting: it started yesterday. Absentee ballots have been going on steadily throughout Trump’s recent meltdown, so nobody knows. What we think we know here is that there hasn’t been a dramatic shift from Dem to GOP in registration, so :spreading hands: danged if I know. I do know that after LA’s near-debacle they should be really, really leery of announcing FL from the early/absentee voting.

Comments are closed.