Well, if the Republican establishment had its hopes riding on the candidacy of Marco Rubio to stop Donald Trump and bring order back to the GOP universe, then the establishment is reaching for some Alka-Seltzer right about now. Rubio had a lot of 3rd place finishes on Super Tuesday. Realistically, he would have to finish a strong second in a majority of the states holding primaries or caucuses March 1, then use that momentum as a spring-board to win his home state of Florida on March 15, which is one of the first winner-take-all delegate states.
Ted Cruz, on the other hand, had a pretty good night. He held off Trump in his home state of Texas, which he absolutely had to do, and he picked off Oklahoma and Alaska. So ironically, it is Cruz who comes out of Super Tuesday with the more plausible argument for being the “anti-Trump” candidate. But that doesn’t make the Republican establishment happy either, because they don’t like Ted Cruz! There is a reason that not one of his senate colleagues has endorsed him. Senator Cruz is arguably a worse general election candidate than Donald Trump. At least Trump can appeal to a fairly broad base of support, as he is proving in primary after primary.
To all my Republican friends out there, and Democratic friends for that matter: Donald Trump is going to be the nominee. Get used to it. Accept it. Prepare for it.
Super Tuesday pretty much guaranteed that outcome. As the primaries move out of the south, the road for Ted Cruz gets much harder. Marco Rubio just isn’t delivering. At this rate he will likely lose his home state of Florida, then his rationale for running collapses. John Kasich and Ben Carson are auditioning for the next Lethal Weapon movie.
All of this makes it more likely that Trump will win a majority of delegates before the convention. Even if he doesn’t, and the GOP convention opens with Trump short of a majority, are establishment Republicans really going to mount an all-out effort to wrest the nomination from Trump’s hands? Really? They are going to deny the biggest block of Republican voters and delegates their choice for President? That would pretty much guarantee a Hillary Clinton presidency.
Trump is prospering, partly, because he appeals to a wide swath of Republican voters; in fact there is growing evidence that he is bringing in first-time primary voters, similar to the Obama wave of 2008. The voters Trump is speaking to agree on a few things: they are angry; and they are disappointed with the direction of the government, the economy, and immigration policy. The big question is, can he build the kind of voter coalition he will need to win in November. He will have to successfully appeal to independent voters and moderate-to-conservative Democrats to have a chance of winning. And he will have to convince women voters that he is not the devil incarnate. (Planned Parenthood anyone?) A tall order, but not impossible.
One thing to watch: how big will the #NeverTrump movement get? Will it grow into a major force of resistance within the Republican Party? Or will it fade if Trump continues to win and moves toward a convention majority?
If Donald Trump does win the nomination, then Republican who don’t like him will have limited options. They can either sit on the sidelines, or campaign against him, and then watch President Hillary Clinton fill up to three Supreme Court seats over the next four years and institutionalize Obama Care and open borders. Or they can hold their collective noses and support the nominee, and hope he doesn’t go down in flames.
And if he wins the presidency? Then everyone, Republicans, Democrats, and Independents, will have to hope and pray that Donald Trump is as smart as he says he is. God help us!