Yesterday, two pictures appeared on the Drudge Report’s lead. The first showed Ted Cruz shaking hands with Donald Trump in what seemed to be Trump’s New York office. The walls were covered with framed copies of Trump’s magazine and so forth.
The second picture was a photoshopped rendering of a foreshortened Marco Rubio.
I meant to respond to this underhanded use of the Media, but I was called into service to take Mom to the toe doctor.
Why were these photos so crucial? First of all, they were posted on an important primary day. Some pundits speculate that they were published to unnerve the candidates. However, common sense indicates they were published to unnerve their voters and cast doubts upon the non-Trump candidate they might have been considering.
The ploy worked. Trump won by 11 points in Hawaii and Mississippi, and by 12 points in Michigan. He lost Idaho to Ted Cruz by 13 points. Trump leads with 458 delegates, Cruz has 359, Rubio has 151, and Kasich, 54. Evidently, by various state primary delegate rules, if a candidate drops out, they’re up in the air – the withdrawing candidate does not get to decide who gets his votes.
Even if he wins Florida, at this point Rubio doesn’t have much chance of winning the primary. Kasich certainly does not. Cruz and his supporters are calling for the two to drop out of the race. He will not gain their delegates, but he feels he can stop Trump from gaining anymore single-handedly.
Trump did not win all of the 16 delegates in the Hawaiian caucuses; he won 10, Cruz took home 6. The others, none. Trump did not win the majority of Michigan’s 59 delegates; he won 25. Cruz and Kasich each won 17. In Mississippi, where Trump won 47.3 percent of the vote to Cruz’s 36.3, again, he did not win all the delegates, although he won a majority of them (24). Cruz was able to win 13, the others, none.
Cruz is exactly 99 delegates behind Trump. Winning Florida would put him even with Trump. Going forward, they will be matched. Whether they’ll be neck and neck down to the convention depends on whether the primaries are open or closed. Here the Republican Party’s strategy of the open tent is revealed in all its stupidity and delusional ravings about winning Democrats, Independents, and most importantly, Hispanics.
It’s not going to happen. In open primaries, Trump generally wins. John McCain won in 2008 thanks to the open primaries. Nineteen states have open primaries. Texas is an open primary state, which Cruz won thanks to his status as a U.S. Senator. Virginia is open primary, although Rubio nearly beat him, losing within the margin of error.
Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Mass., Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Trump has won, so far: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, and Virginia. Rubio won Minnesota, Cruz won Kansas and Oklahoma.
That leaves 358 open primary delegates, all to one candidate:
Illinois March 15 – 69 delegates WTA
Indiana May 3 – 57 delegates WTA
Missouri March 15 – 52 delegates WTA
North Carolina March 15 – 72 delegates prop.
Ohio March 15 – 66 delegates WTA
Wisconsin April 5 – 42 delegates WTA
Kasich may be able to deny Trump the 66 delegates in Ohio. Illinois is an incredibly corrupt state, and Trump, being an incredibly corrupt beyond imagination candidate, will probably take Illinois. He took Michigan, which one would have thought would have gone to Kasich. If Kasich couldn’t take Michigan, he probably won’t be able to take Indiana, either, although that primary is far down the road.
Why Missouri and North Carolina, with their evangelical voters, would ever vote for a man whose wife has, pardon me for being judgmental, has posed for nude magazine photos, is hard to imagine. But their neighbors in South Carolina did, Trump’s echoes from Iowa about Cruz being a “liar” still ringing in their ears. Wisconsin is a notoriously liberal state, despite having a solid, Conservative governor. Cruz may have a chance there.
If Cruz hopes to win any or all of these states, it’s not Florida alone he needs to win (badly), but the debate the night before. Nothing he, or anyone else, says is going to make a shred of difference to the committed Trump supporter. Some who might begin to wonder about Trump would most likely lean towards Kasich, an Establishment Republican who happens to have (sorry, Cruzers) an interesting record.
Probably it is time for Rubio to bow out of the race. The experts, I believe, are right in that he’s hurting himself by staying in the race for Florida. The non-Trump voters are beginning to break for Cruz. If he’s seen losing his own state, he diminishes his chances of running for governor of Florida. It’s really a sacrifice for him – a lose-lose.
Florida is a winner-take-all state. Cruz only needs to win by 51 percent and he’s got all the delegates. However, with the down-and-dirty Trump as an opponent, that 51 percent is not as easy to attain as it seems. That’s why he needs Rubio, at the least, to bow out, gracefully.
The trouble is the debate the night before. Cruz will not win that debate. The debate is not about ideas, as much as we would like it to be; it’s about performance and Trump is the performance artist of all time. He will keep Cruz busy the whole night defending himself against charges of lying and cheating. Trump will not let Cruz up for air either to cite principles and the Constitution. He will mock him, call him names, and interrupt him the entire night, and with a ready audience of cheerleaders triumph in his own arena of slime.
What will the audience and voters do? Just what I described yesterday.
Kasich won the last debate, with Cruz a close second. Cruz, the debate beforehand. The only reason they won those debates and the public perception was because Rubio stepped in and kept Trump off-balance, to Rubio’s own detriment, I might add. It’s a dirty job, but someone had to do it. The only reason these men were able to make clear, insightful arguments for their candidacy was that Rubio took on the schoolyard bully.
For Cruz now to denounce Rubio and order him out of the race is incredibly tactless, graceless and foolhardy. If Rubio withdraws from the race due to Cruz’ pressure, his followers are sure to either stay home in Florida, vote for Rubio anyone as a write-in, or worst-case scenario, vote for Trump out of spite.
Cruz certainly can’t be expected to acknowledge Rubio’s help, of course; that would weaken his image. No one wants that. If it hadn’t been for Blabbermouth Mitt, no one, particularly Trump, would have been the wiser for it. Rubio probably could have withdrawn from the Florida race on his own with dignity, if he wanted to.
Now both men are in a terrible, confrontational position. Cruz must denounce an unacknowledged ally while Rubio must remain in a race he knows he’s likely to lose. The only ones who win are the truly despicable Trump or the candidate with no path, Kasich, the Establishment Candidate.
Must one actually have to stoop to such imperatives as: Shut Up!!!?
Post reading level: Grade 8.4. Shut up, indeed.