PALM BEACH, FL – With 661 delegates at stake – more than half needed for the nomination – scattered over 11 states, Donald Trump padded his dominance over the rest of the Republican field on March 1, winning most of the states and delegates on the table, losing only two – Oklahoma and Texas – to Ted Cruz. Marco Rubio won no states, and remains winless in the primary season. Many pundits speculate that this was Rubio’s last chance, and even though he may stay in the race for another two weeks, when his home state of Florida votes, he is losing there, too, polls indicate, and so it appears his exit is inevitable.
On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton, as widely expected, continued to march toward the Democratic nomination, defeating her lone rival Bernie Sanders everywhere except in his home state, Vermont, predictably, in Colorado, Minnesota, and surprisingly, in Oklahoma. The Oklahoma win is particularly astonishing, considering that is the most conservative state in the entire country – every single county is solidly Republican – and yet they went for Sanders, an avowed socialist, over Clinton, who for most of her career has been closer to the center. But Clinton, clearly a big winner, challenged Trump though not mentioning him by name, saying “we don’t need to make America great again, it never stopped being great. We need to make America whole again.”
Trump won handily in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Vermont, and Virginia. Cruz won in Texas comfortably, as was expected, and surprisingly, in Oklahoma, albeit narrowly. Trump finished second in both of those states. At press time, Alaska and Minnesota had yet to be called.
Trump congratulated Cruz on the Texas win and went after Hillary for wanting to make America whole, quipping “she’s been there so long, why didn’t she do it?”
He wasn’t as kind to Rubio, calling him a “lightweight” and mockingly pointing out that “he spent a lot of money.”
Looking ahead, Trump said “we’re going to be a bigger and more inclusive party, and believe it or not, I am a uniter. Once all of this is done, I’m going to focus on one person: Hillary Clinton.”
Asked about his partial support of Planned Parenthood, Trump said “I am a conservative, but a common sense conservative,” and added: “I’m going to be really good for women.”
RIP, GOP ESTABLISHMENT
Rubio’s inevitable departure from the race – he simply cannot continue to finish third and seriously expect to compete – the Republican Party establishment is effectively finished. Every remaining candidate – Trump, Cruz, and Ben Carson by leaps and bounds, and John Kasich to a considerable extent – is anti-establishment. The GOP hasn’t nominated a bona fide red-meat candidate since Barry Goldwater in 1964, and before that, Theodore Roosevelt in 1904!
The Democrats are a different story: they’ll throw out the George McGovern, Jimmy Carter, Michael Dukakis, and Barack Obama nominee – i.e., the person whose turn it isn’t. But for the Republicans to do such a thing is the biggest revolution the party has seen since Ronald Reagan ran roughshod over the Nixon/Ford/Kissinger detente mindset and ushered in bold, patriotic, populist conservatism.
KASICH AND CARSON?
John Kasich and Ben Carson, at this point, are not dropping out – yet. Perhaps the reason they think there is a chance is because of the nature of Donald Trump’s candidacy. Never in recent memory – perhaps never at all – has a candidate dominated so soundly in the primaries and yet was considered so vulnerable because of the party establishment’s aversion to him.
The notion is that if Cruz and Rubio drop out, Carson or Kasich could emerge as the viable anti-Trump candidate. Carson would have a better chance if the lukewarm wing of the Trump supporters tire of his brashness, but Kasich is also very decent, and also would be the voice of moderation, if not the emissary of the establishment.
GET CHRISTIE LOVE
At Donald Trump’s plush Mar-a-Lago estate in Miami, where he made his victory speech, he was introduced by the opening speaker, who was none other than NJ Governor Chris Christie, who recently endorsed Trump and has been speaking on his behalf on the talk shows and on the campaign trail.
If Trump is auditioning running mates, it looks like Christie is far ahead of the competition – an articulate attack dog who is vital in doubling down angry, but who also has enough support to bring legitimacy to Trump’s candidacy. After all, it was not too long ago that Christie was the GOP darling, and he was endorsed by the influential newspaper the New Hampshire Union Leader.
Most appealing, perhaps, is Christie’s unyielding enthusiasm in terms of “prosecuting Hillary Clinton” incessantly between now and November.
That this is a battle most likely to be won by Trump, with the closest longshot to upset him being Ted Cruz, creates perhaps the most exciting electoral revolution in over a generation.