Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Dead Blogging Super Tuesday

Trump, trump, trump--the marching feet of the disgruntled white GOPer base.  They gave Trump victories in Alabama, Georgia, Tenn., Ark., Massachusetts, and a close victory in Virginia where he overwhelmed the DC area northern Virginia GOPer elites who fled to Rubio.  Trump even won Vermont in a close contest with Kasich.

How could Trump win Mass. by bigger margins than in Georgia?  There are no black or college educated Republicans in Massachusetts.  

Tail Gunner Ted won his home country of Texas and the neighboring territory of Oklahoma.  Yet it's quite possible that this will also turn out to be his biggest delegate night of the primaries.

As for Rubio, he won only Minnesota late in the evening, and he'll have to wait for final vote totals in several states to see whether he got the 20% of the vote minimum to be awarded any delegates there.

While Hillary was still speaking--repeating chunks of her South Carolina victory speech--Rubio was again vowing that Trump would never be President.  His choice quote: "What's at stake my friends, is not just the future of America, but also the future of the conservative movement."  Great priorities, Marco.  For clearly the future of the conservative movement is more important than the future of America.

Later, in a piece with a title I really envy ("Goodbye, Rubio Tuesday") Jonathan Chiat suggests that it's really all over for Rubio, even if he waits for likely defeat in Florida to disappear.

So: Trump trumped, but arguably this is going to be the highlight of the campaign for him.  His victory in Mass. suggests he can sweep away opposition outside the South but his victories are apt to be closer, and the late-deciding voters seem to still going against him.  Once the events of the past week sink in, plus the increasing virulence of the opposition by other GOPers, might mean defeats.

On his night of triumph, Trump tried to sound conciliatory, though he couldn't suppress a bully taunt directed at Paul Ryan.  He made his statement to the media, not a rally, and answered questions.  While refreshing, this may have had as much to do with his last two events--where violence erupted in one, and silent black protesters were evicted from the next--than a strategic decision.

For the Republican Party, the night could hardly have gone worse. Rubio looks to be barely surviving, and Cruz winning states means he stays in.  Even Kasich can be buoyed by his votes in Vermont.  So no single candidate to trouble Trump.

But a fractured Republican party seems all but inevitable anyway.  Ed Kilgore highlighted a Rubio-Trump exchange that suggests that Rubio will not support Trump if he gets the nomination, and if Trump doesn't get the nomination, he may run anyway.  Though in his answers to the media, Trump said he is a unifier, Cruz in his remarks replicated Rubio in saying a Trump candidacy would be a disaster for America and the conservative movement.

For those with prurient interest in these things, the NY Times live blogging of Chris Christie introducing Trump was probably delicious.  Christie called him Massah Trump, and Trump called him Chris, while dissing New Jersey.  Coincidentally, several New Jersey newspapers called for Christie to resign or face a recall vote.

On the Dem side, Hillary replicated her South Carolina coalition for big victories in all the southern states, including Virginia (where the Beltway Dems supported her as the pro in the race.) Bernie won by acclamation in Vermont, and did take Oklahoma after all.  But things got interesting late, with a close Hillary victory in Mass., and both Colorado and Minnesota caucus going to Sanders.  So not a bad night for Bernie.  He ends up way behind in delegates, but tempts the punditry to see trouble for Hillary down the road.

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