First it was Iowa, then it was South Carolina, then it was Super Tuesday. With each primary or caucus, we waited for the fall of Trump, and every time, he came out better than expected. After Super Tuesday, the idea of a Trump nomination started to feel inevitable. But that’s not the truth. Not at all.
While Americans watched in horror as Donald Trump, the man who always looks like he’s in the middle of saying the word “prune,” cleaned up in primaries and caucuses across the nation, [score]Ted Cruz[/score] was racking up delegates as well. Cruz won Iowa, Oklahoma, and Alaska by small margins, and won Texas, Maine, and Kansas by margins of 17.1 percent, 13.3 percent, and 24.9 percent respectively.
Additionally, Cruz came within striking distance of Donald Trump in Kentucky and Louisiana, losing to Trump by less than five percentage points in both states.
FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver tweeted that while early voters in Louisiana favored Trump by an overwhelming 23.8 percent, Cruz more than closed the gap with same-day voters, beating Trump by 0.4 percent.
Perhaps it was the last debate in which [score]Marco Rubio[/score] hurled insults at Trump from one side, leaving Cruz to slash The Donald from a more substantive angle on the other side. Regardless, it’s becoming crystal clear that [score]Ted Cruz[/score] is the only plausible alternative to a Trump nomination.
Rubio’s and Kasich’s total delegate counts are 151 and 37 respectively. Rubio has won only two contests–Minnesota, and Puerto Rico. Kasich has won zero. Moreover, Rubio’s loses on Saturday were substantial:
- Cruz: 48.2%
- Trump: 23.3%
- Rubio: 16.7%
- Cruz: 45.9%
- Trump: 32.6%
- Kasich: 12.2%
- Rubio: 8%
- Trump: 41.4%
- Cruz: 37.8%
- Rubio: 11.2%
- Trump: 35.9%
- Cruz: 31.6%
- Rubio: 16.4%
It’s time for [score]Marco Rubio[/score] to bow out of the race, and endorse [score]Ted Cruz[/score]. Rubio and Cruz are splitting the anti-Trump vote, and if they continue moving forward as is, Trump will continue to gain large delegate shares. This vote-splitting will trigger a brokered convention at which the party leaders will choose their preferred candidate without the input of the American people, essentially making every single primary vote worthless.
I can’t imagine a brokered convention resulting in anything less than a voter revolt in the Republican Party.
Not only does [score]Ted Cruz[/score] have a substantial delegate lead over [score]Marco Rubio[/score], he has the momentum, the money, the grassroots support, and the infrastructure necessary to take Trump to the mat.
Rubio likely wants to stay in the race until his home state of Florida, where he believes he can win. However, according to the most recent polls, Rubio is down roughly 15 percent in the state. Additionally, FiveThirtyEight’s polls-plus forecast has Trump’s chances of winning Florida at 68 percent.
Granted, all of these polls were taken before Super Tuesday, the debate, and the Saturday primaries, but if those primaries were any indication of the trajectory of the Florida vote, it’s not looking good for Rubio. Even if he were to lose by just a slim margin, it would mean the death of his campaign, and Trump gaining 99 more delegates, as Florida is a winner-take-all state.
As we approach the winner-take-all states, it becomes that much more urgent that Cruz and Rubio stop splitting the anti-Trump vote.
To a much lesser extent, Kasich is sucking up some oxygen as well. Though he hasn’t won a single state, and his delegate count is pathetic, he’s made an impression, coming in second in Vermont. He’s also polling in second place in his home state of Ohio–a winner-take-all state with a delegate count of 66.
However, despite Kasich’s sky-high popularity in his home state, Cruz is just five points behind the governor in the latest poll.
We’re at a juncture at which every day matters exponentially more than the last. If Rubio and Kasich don’t let go of their ambition, and realize their chances of defeating Trump are nil so long as the votes are split, we will lose the nomination to the Orange Crush, a man who will utterly tarnish the Republican Party for a generation. [score]Ted Cruz[/score] is the last best chance we have at eliminating Trump–but he has to be unencumbered.
Marco Rubio and John Kasich, if you love your country, and your party, it’s time to let go.