Cruz still has a fighting chance
Trump Cruzio Cruzio + Carson and Kasich
AL 43% 40% 57%
AK 34% 52% 66%
AR 33% 56% 67%
GA 39% 49% 61%
MA 49% 28% 51%
MN 21% 66% 79%
OK 28% 60% 72%
TN 39% 46% 61%
TX 27% 62% 73%
VT 33% 29% 67%
VA 35% 47% 65%
Delegate totals to date:
316 332 365
Raw vote totals on Tuesday (in millions):
2.59 3.88 (2.33 for Cruz, 1.55 for Rubio)
Of course, Super Tuesday is being played in the media as a yuuuge Trump triumph. The MSM string-pullers need Donald’s smirking mug on the homepage both for their bottom line and to assist Madame Secretary, who wants desperately to run against him.
But look at the numbers. Apart from Alabama, only in Massachusetts and Vermont did Trump do better than Cruz and Rubio combined. The number of Republicans in these two states could fit comfortably into a dozen phone booths, for those who remember what those are. The nominee will have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning either state.
Except in Massachusetts, Republicans voted against Trump by landslide margins, from 57% to 79%, with a 66.8% average.
Are Rubio supporters going to back Trump? Of course not. The two have been trading ugly insults for ten days. They sometimes look as if they’re having fun, but there’s a lot of genuine animosity there. And Rubio supporters don’t care much about illegal immigration (or are unusually credulous), the core issue for Trumpists.
Carson voters value integrity and Kasich voters “experience.” They’re not going to flock to Trump.
The great majority of GOP voters do not want this guy. Yet conservative pundits, including some on this site, are in full panic mode. Sit still, take a deep breath, and count to ten.
Of course, it’s unfortunate that Florida and Ohio happen to be the first winner-take-all primaries. But Rubio and Kasich may see the writing on the wall after March 8, do the right thing, and gracefully withdraw. They’re going to be getting lots of phone calls over the next week – and from people across the spectrum of the party, people who see the magnitude of the disaster that looms in November with Trump at the top of the ticket.
The great irony of the race is that Cruz’s grand strategy was to treat Trump with kid gloves, wait for him to fold, and inherit his supporters. Then he would go mano a mano with the Establishment pick, presumably Jeb!.
Now the leadership and major donors have no choice but to support a guy they loathe. That’s how deep and broad the disaffection with the Establishment is.
When it becomes a two-man race, you can toss all the polls.
In the most recent Gallup survey on the subject, Trump had a net favorable rating among Republicans of +27. Cruz’s was +51; Rubio’s was +46. It’s not exactly as if voters are unfamiliar with the Donald and will warm to him once they get to know him. Nationwide, his supporters amount to something like the percentage he received on Tuesday, about 33%.
Trump fans need to concentrate on three facts:
1. If Donald is the nominee, the campaign will be all about Trump. If it’s anyone else, the spotlight will be on Hillary.
Hill’s baggage reeks to high heaven, but she didn’t found a fake university using a crass bait-and-switch scheme to lure students. She didn’t declare bankruptcy four times. This is another scam, where creditors are forced to become shareholders, collectively owning 51% of the company, and suppliers and contractors get 10%-50% on every dollar owed them. She hasn’t used eminent domain against elderly widows. She hasn’t worked with the mob in Queens and Manhattan. She hasn’t employed illegal immigrants to do jobs Americans won’t do. Above all, she hasn’t said all the over-the-top statements the media will recycle endlessly from September through the election. These may warm the hearts of supporters and, sometimes, conservatives who don’t support him, but they horrify people who pride themselves on being humane, compassionate, and reasonable – the overwhelming majority of voters.
In nominating the author of Romneycare in 2012, the GOP threw away the winning card, as John Ellis pointed out recently. The ace this time is someone with integrity, someone who is not a serial liar. There is only one viable candidate left who fits this description.
2. That candidate happens to be far and away the best debater of the field – the most intelligent, the most articulate, and the quickest.
3. That candidate also happens to be the only genuine conservative left in the race. I’m not going to count the ways Donald is not the real thing. This has been done over and over and over and over on this site alone in the last couple of weeks or so.
Trump supporters also need to ask themselves one question:
1. Exactly what legislation would Trump submit to Congress that will be preferable to what Ted Cruz offers? Let’s try to remember that that’s the job of the president. Not issuing executive orders. What policies has he advocated that are superior to anything Cruz has laid out? A health care system that “takes care of everyone”? Deporting illegal immigrants and then letting “the good ones back in”? Steep tariffs on imports from China and Mexico? A fresh tariff is a tax hike for all consumers. New libel laws so that the C-in-C can better target his enemies?
Whenever Rubio, Kasich, and Carson drop out, it’ll be an uphill fight for Cruz. But the numbers show he still has a decent chance to secure the nomination. The adjective was chosen purposely. Those among the 67% of Republicans not supporting Trump who value decency as well as conservative principles need to back one of the few senators who have stood for these principles unwaveringly, while Trump has been funding Reid, Pelosi, Schumer, and Hillary herself. When was the last time a GOP candidate lavished money and praise on his opponent – particularly one so odious?