I don’t think this is what the GOP had in mind when they made the calendar and rules that would govern the primaries. The party clearly wanted to make it easier for a candidate to consolidate support and win enough delegates so they could then turn their attention to fundraising and the general election. This enabled Trump to win 44 delegates with only 33% of the vote. Nice job.
In the words of Rick Perry, “Oops.”
In the further words of Howard Dean, “AAAAHHHH.”
South Carolina has to be the loudest wake-up call ever recorded in a modern presidential race and the Republican Party elders clearly have no strategy to stop the bleeding. Trump won a fairly convincing victory and rendered the race for second as the only one worth watching. Now that Jeb! has left the race I imagine that phones will be ringing in the Carson and Kasich campaign offices and the person on the other end will not be shy about telling those candidates that their time is gone and that they should rally their supporters around Marco Rubio as the only person who can save the party from its angry candidates. Unless they want to rally around Ted Cruz, but I can’t see that happening.
Meanwhile, on the left side of the docket, Hillary Clinton all but shut the door on Bernie Sanders in Nevada, winning a solid victory in a state that the Democrats will need in the fall. Word is that Harry Reid made some phone calls to union officials saying that it was fine for them not to endorse a candidate, but could the officials at least urge their members to vote for Clinton. That seems to have worked. Now it’s on the South Carolina on Saturday where Hillary has a commanding lead. A win there and on Super Tuesday on March 1 will probably close out Sanders as a serious contender, though I would not be surprised if he continue his campaign until the end.
The upshot is that the Democrats will probably achieve what the GOP had hoped for; a well-funded nominee who has time to unify the party, make nice-nice with their opponent, and start moving to attract the moderate voters who will likely be the keys to their election.
I know that I’m bucking the conventional wisdom at the moment, but I still don’t see Donald Trump being the GOP nominee. I think the GOP will find a way, or at least die trying, to rally around a candidate that they can control and win. After all, 65% of the party’s voters aren’t voting for Trump. Someone has to be able to harness that between now and June. If I’m wrong, then the GOP is in big time trouble.
But time is running out. Beware the Ides of March.