Donald Trump Scores Solid Win In Nevada

Donald Trump won his third contest in a row in Nevada, putting him one step closer to inevitability.

Donald Trump Victory Nevada

In what was apparently another messy affair, Donald Trump scored a solid win in Nevada’s Republican Caucuses last night, setting him up for a March that could make him the near-prohibitive leader for the Republican nomination:

Donald J. Trump was declared the winner of the Nevada caucuses on Tuesday night, according to The Associated Press, gaining a third consecutive victory in an early-voting state and strengthening his position in the Republican presidential race before the wave of Super Tuesday elections on March 1.

Mr. Trump was seen as a favorite going into the contest, and his victory serves as a setback for his chief competitors, Senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida, who must now try to break Mr. Trump’s winning streak in the larger states that vote in the coming weeks.

Mr. Trump was declared the winner on Tuesday night, and final returns reported by The A.P. put him 22 points over his nearest challenger, Mr. Rubio, with Mr. Cruz trailing in third place. Turnout in Nevada was reported to be high compared with previous caucuses.

For Mr. Trump, the outcome in Nevada is another sign of his campaign’s durability and the breadth of his appeal: He has now handily won primary elections in New England and in the South, and a caucus fight in the far West. He won over independent voters in New Hampshire and evangelicals in South Carolina, and prevailed in Nevada, where Mormon voters and rural activists wield influence.

Mr. Trump said in his victory speech that he expected to consolidate his grip on the Republican Party as more of his competitors left the race. He said he would compete hard in his rivals’ home states, and projected optimism that he could lock down the nomination quickly.

“It’s going to be an amazing two months,” Mr. Trump said. “We might not even need the two months, to be honest.”

This latest triumph may only encourage Mr. Trump in the brash campaign style that has alienated many Republican officials and mainstream voters. In the two days leading up to the Nevada caucuses, Mr. Trump called Mr. Cruz a liar and threatened to deliver vicious attacks on Mr. Rubio as well.

At a rally in Las Vegas on Monday evening, Mr. Trump ridiculed a protester in his audience and told supporters that he would have liked to “punch him in the face.”

His supporters in Nevada were jubilant on Tuesday night. Holding Trump signs and flags and a few Bud Lights, the crowd at the Treasure Island casino in Las Vegas erupted into a minute-long cheer when Mr. Trump was projected the winner on a CNN broadcast, and chanted the candidate’s name. The audience booed any mention of Mr. Cruz from the television networks.

“We’re seeing a backlash in the United States that we’ve never seen before,” said Neville Cramer, 65, a Trump supporter from Las Vegas.

The results are likely to reinforce the sense among national Republican leaders that only direct confrontation can block Mr. Trump from claiming the party’s nomination, because none of the party’s most powerful voting blocs seems likely to thwart him on its own.

Mr. Trump’s success in Nevada is also likely to increase the pressure on his opponents to somehow join forces against a common enemy.

Mr. Cruz and Mr. Rubio have attacked each other angrily in recent days, as each has struggled to establish himself as Mr. Trump’s strongest rival. Mr. Cruz has intensified his hawkish comments on immigration to compete with Mr. Trump, and has argued that only a conservative running well to the right of Mr. Trump can challenge him effectively.

Addressing supporters on Tuesday night, Mr. Cruz reiterated that case. He acknowledged the high stakes for his bid in the Super Tuesday primaries, calling March 1 the “most important night” of the race. Citing his victory in the Iowa caucuses, he said, “The only campaign that can beat Donald Trump is this campaign.”

Mr. Rubio, on the other hand, has sought to unite Republican leaders behind his bid, casting himself as the only candidate capable both of defeating Mr. Trump and winning a difficult general election race. Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor, appeared to open a wider path in the race for Mr. Rubio when he ended his campaign on Saturday after a disappointing finish in the South Carolina primary.

A host of senators and members of Congress and a few governors have backed Mr. Rubio in recent days, bolstering his claim on support from the national party establishment. And Mr. Rubio has criticized Mr. Cruz in increasingly personal terms, calling him a dishonest politician who has routinely lied to voters.

More from The Washington Post:

Donald Trump swept to a convincing victory in the Nevada presidential caucuses here Tuesday evening, the Associated Press projected, building a broad coalition that left his top two rivals trailing far behind and accelerating his march to the Republican nomination.

An angry electorate hungry for a political outsider in the White House catapulted Trump to his third straight win in the GOP primary race as the billionaire mogul used visceral rhetoric to tap into anxieties about the economy, terrorism and illegal immigration.

Early returns showed the breadth of Trump’s support was staggering, with Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Ted Cruz (Tex.) running more than 20 percentage points behind him and competing with each other for second place, despite their aggressive campaigning across Nevada in the closing days. Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who did not mount a serious campaign here, were far behind in single digits.

“If you listen to the pundits, we weren’t expected to win too much — and now we’re winning, winning, winning the country,” a triumphant Trump declared to supporters at his Las Vegas victory party.

Vowing to continue his streak and quickly secure the nomination, Trump added: “It’s going to be an amazing two months. We might not even need the two months, folks.”

Rubio, who jetted out of Nevada Tuesday morning for campaign events in Minnesota and Michigan, made no public comments on the results. His advisers had been hopeful that he might finish strongly here, perhaps even win, considering that he spent part of his childhood in Las Vegas and enjoyed the support of much of the state’s political establishment.

High voter turnout apparently overwhelmed organizers at some caucus locations. There were isolated reports of double voting, dwindling supplies of paper ballots and what a Republican Party official described as “chaos” at a couple of caucus sites here in Clark County, the state’s biggest population center.

Some volunteer caucus officials collecting ballots wore Trump campaign T-shirts and hats, sparking an outcry and allegations of voter intimidation on social media.

The Nevada Republican Party’s caucus rules allow precinct workers to wear campaign paraphernalia. “Volunteers went through extensive training & are doing a great job,” read a statement from the party.

Early entrance polling reported by CNN showed that Trump’s victory here was commanding, across most demographic groups and among voters of every ideology. Nearly six in 10 caucus-goers said they were angry at the federal government, and a similar percentage wanted the next president to be a political outsider.

Trump reveled in the breadth of his winning coalition.

“We won the evangelicals, we won with young, we won with old, we won with highly educated, we won with poorly educated — I love the poorly educated,” Trump said, referencing the network entrance polls. “And you know what I really am happy about, because I’ve been saying it for a long time? Forty-six percent with Hispanics. Number one with Hispanics! I’m really happy about that.”

Trump, who visited caucus sites Tuesday night to motivate his supporters, had led every recent public poll by double digits. Enormous crowds packed his rallies, including one Monday night in Las Vegas that drew an estimated 8,000 people.

Trump’s nationalist call to deport illegal immigrants and wall them off resonated with Nevada’s working-class whites resentful of the booming Latino population.

But a Trump win was not seen as a done deal. The state’s caucuses are peculiar and unpredictable — and Cruz and Rubio labored to spring a surprise.

Cruz worked Nevada harder than any other candidate, flying immediately to the state after South Carolina’s primary Saturday and making nine crowded campaign stops.

Yet a message seemingly tailored to Nevada’s libertarian-leaning Republicans — with a particular focus on the federal control of land in the state — did not appear to resonate as Cruz might have hoped.

(…)

All along, however, Nevada was Trump’s to lose. He focused on big rallies in Las Vegas and the Reno area — the state’s two main population centers — but he had a ground organization, as well.

Trump’s campaign bought limited television advertising time in Las Vegas. In its main spot, which also ran in South Carolina, a man whose son was murdered by an undocumented immigrant said that Trump is “the only one” he trusts to secure the border.

Rubio campaigned across Nevada with a broader message, trying to appeal to a more diverse cross-section of the electorate, and entrance polls suggested he won among voters who decided in the final days.

Many of the state’s top elected officials backed Rubio, including Sen. Dean Heller. Gov. Brian Sandoval, who has angered conservatives over a state tax increase, decided to stay on the sidelines, though he caucused for Rubio on Tuesday night.

The scope of Trump’s victory last night easily outpaced those that he scored in either South Carolina and New Hampshire earlier this month. In those states, the New York real estate developer largely finished as the polls expected him too, if not underperforming just a little bit. In Nevada, thanks in large part to much higher than expected turnout, he scored a much higher than expected win than anyone expected. As the vote count stands right now, Trump ended the night with 45.9% of the vote and more than 34,531 votes. This is nearly double what second place finisher Marco Rubio got with his 17,940 votes and 22.9% of the vote, and easily double what third place finisher Ted Cruz received with 16,079 votes and 21.9% of the vote. Coming in fourth behind Cruz was Ben Carson at 4.8% of the vote, followed by John Kasich at 3.6% of the vote, although it should be noted that neither Carson nor Kasich seriously contested Nevada or made many appearances in the state. To put things in perspective, Trump’s vote total beat what Mitt Romney received when he won the state in either 2008 or in 2012, although Romney’s percentage of the total votes was higher in both years. More importantly for the race going forward, Trump won at least 12 of the 22 delegates that were at stake in Nevada last night giving him 79 delegates so far according to media projections. While this is far from the 1,237 delegates a candidates needs to win the nomination, it nonetheless means that Trump has won some 60% of the delegates that were at stake in the month of February, along with garnering 420,215 popular votes over the course of the four February contests.

Whatever one might think about Trump as a man, his absolute lack of any concrete policy ideas, his simplistic slogans, or his xenophobic, hateful rhetoric and the fact that he seems especially skilled at bringing out the absolute worst in his supporter, from the perspective of someone who has been watching U.S. Presidential elections for some thirty-five year now he has pulled off an impressive set of wins that pretty much nobody believed was possible when he started his campaign in mid-June. Indeed, as things stand right now it is clear that Donald Trump is the front-runner to win the Republican nomination, and that perhaps only the results of the contests over the first three weeks of March stand in his way to being the presumptive winner of that nomination. Currently, Trump is leading in all but a handful of the states that will hold primaries or caucuses next Tuesday, and is even threatening Ted Cruz in the Senator’s home state to the extent that he’s cut Cruz’s lead there down to single digits.

As for the rest of the field, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz once again found themselves in a close battle for second place with Rubio ekeing out enough votes to claim the silver medal, but as a time goes on it’s becoming harder and harder to see how either one of them is going to be able to take out the other in time for them to become a viable challenger to Trump. Of the two, Cruz clearly seems to be in the weaker position since he was unable to follow-up his Iowa win with success anywhere else this month, perhaps proving yet again that, at least for Republicans, the Iowa Caucuses are not nearly as important as they are given credit for. Worse for Cruz, though, is the fact that he once again lost evangelical voter to Trump, something that does not bode well for his fortunes across the swath of southern states that will hold primaries on March 1st and thereafter. Without that bloc of voters strongly in his corner, it’s not at all clear how Cruz keeps a viable campaign together. In Rubio’s case, while the establishment continues to line up behind him, especially in the wake of Jeb Bush leaving the race on Saturday, the young Florida Senator still hasn’t managed to win anything and there are no signs that he has much of a chance to win in any of the Super Tuesday states that will vote on March 1st. The conventional wisdom seems to be that either Cruz or Rubio has to emerge as the single candidate to challenge Trump but, so far, neither one is managing to do so and the results so far are murky enough that there’s no reason for either one of them to drop out at this point. Further down the ballot, John Kasich is pinning all his hopes on solid performances in states like Michigan and Ohio next month, but it’s hard to see how even wins there would be enough to make him a viable challenger to Trump. Finally, Ben Carson’s continued presence in the race is a puzzle to pretty much everyone at this point but he seems intent on sticking around. These are the challengers that Donald Trump has to deal with, and right now none of them seem capable of taking him on one-on-one.

Citing these and other factors, CNN comentator Mel Robbins argues that the Republican race is already over, and that Trump will be the nominee. While I wouldn’t go quite that far just yet, it’s clear that Trump has all of the advantages going forward. Having led in the polls for more than seven months now, there’s no sign that the momentum that has propelled Trump to the point he’s at right now is going to let up, and last night’s results in Nevada showed for the first time that he can exceed polling expectations, which is a strong indication that the theory that further winnowing of the GOP field would end up hurting Trump may not be correct and that many of the people who have been voting for someone other than Donald Trump may just end up jumping on what appears to be the winning horse. Additionally, exit polling in each of the three states that Trump has one has shown that he scores solid wins across the demographic tables, winning all age groups, male and female voters, conservatives, moderate, and “liberal” Republicans, across nearly all levels of education, and most surprising of all perhaps, among evangelical voters who were supposed to be the backbone of Ted Cruz’s campaign but which largely seem to have abandoned him after Iowa. If this continues through Super Tuesday and the early March primaries, then Trump could very well continue rolling over his opposition. At that point, the number of scenarios under which he wouldn’t become the nominee would decline significantly and Republicans will have to face the reality of awarding their Presidential nomination to Donald John Trump when they meet in Cleveland in July.

 

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Mark Ivey says:

    Speaking as a Nevada native, i hope Nevada Trump Republicans all buy Timeshares in the Las Vegas Trump Tower for free Trump University Tshirts..

  2. Grumpy Realist says:

    Oh, if Trump can only beat Cruz in Texas….instant karma.

  3. Mu says:

    The only way Trump is going to lose is if Cruz gets crushed next Tuesday, including losing Texas, and drops out. I can see the rest of the party rallying around Rubio. The other way round wouldn’t help, I don’t see the bulk of the Rubio supporters having a clear “I’d rather have Cruz than Trump” preference so throw the ship around behind Cruz.

  4. If Trump is the nominee, will you or James not vote for him?

  5. Fog says:

    “Let all the poisons lying in the mud hatch out!” -Claudius

  6. Mr. Prosser says:
  7. Lit3Bolt says:

    Reading the comments at Hotair, Redstate, Townhall, and Breitbart on Trump’s Nevada win, my impression is that Republican voters are deeply, deeply confused.

    All the candidates they have been offered have been ideologically a mess for them. Jeb, Rubio, and Cruz are foreign or foreigner-lovers, but almost everyone acknowledges they would have an easier time beating Hillary than Trump. Yet the ones voting for Trump want to “send a message to Washington.” What this message is, it’s not exactly said, and the more far-sighted Republicans are banging their heads against the wall trying to convince Trump supporters just how bad Trump is as a general election candidate. And I’ve read more than one declaration that disavows any support for Trump whatsoever, either based on the suspicion he’s a lie-bral or that his policy platform is disgusting even for a Republican primary voter.

    I think Trump is close to locking up the nomination, because his momentum is building up his polling percentages. I predict he’ll win every Super Tuesday state aside from Texas, and even Texas will be a nail-biter for Cruz who will only win by 3 percentage points.

    Either way, the Republican establishment is screwed at this point. If they screw over Trump by brokering the convention, presumably after the 3rd party deadline has passed for most states, Trump will be locked out of the nomination, but will pitch of the Mother of all Tantrums and likely convince a significant percentage of his voters to stay home on November. The GOP can try to ride the Trump wave, and wave the fascist flag proudly for short-term gain with long-term consequences.

    Either way, the Republicans are going to lose voters in November, because either choice will be seen as a “betrayal” by some element of their base. The only thing they can bank on this point is doubling down the irrational hatred of HRC. And even then, I’ve seen some comments that literally say, “Better the devil we know than the devil we don’t.”

  8. MikeSJ says:

    @Mu:

    I don’t see Cruz and his ego dropping out any time soon. He is still raking in the moolah and getting in good with Conservative Inc.

    He can make a very good living doing talk radio or the like down the road as a result of all of this as well.

  9. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Mr. Prosser: Snakes recognize their own.

  10. J-Dub says:

    Cruz has no chance because he has disdain for the poorly educated people and they know it. And the PEPs saw Rubio’s high-heeled boots and wrote him off immediately. All hail the idiocracy that has become the Republican party!

  11. C. Clavin says:

    You and James must be so proud of your party.

  12. C. Clavin says:

    So have you ever seen pictures of Trumps house?
    It’s all tacky gold and glitter…
    http://www.idesignarch.com/inside-donald-and-melania-trumps-manhattan-apartment-mansion/
    His buildings?
    All tacky and gold….
    https://lasvegasluxuryhomes.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/trump-towers-las-vegas.jpg
    I can’t wait to see what the walking orange comb-over does to the White House.

  13. LaMont says:

    @Lit3Bolt:

    If they screw over Trump by brokering the convention, presumably after the 3rd party deadline has passed for most states, Trump will be locked out of the nomination, but will pitch of the Mother of all Tantrums and likely convince a significant percentage of his voters to stay home on November.

    Interesting! Allow me to play on this. It just might be a GOP game plan. Especially if they can convince their extreme base to show up at the ballots by conjuring up excitement around the Supreme Court Nomination – thus, the Senate GOP leader’s doubling down on their hard stance not to have a hearing.

    Am I on to something here? Or am I just trying to make sense of the incompetency and sad state of affairs regarding the Republican party?

  14. KM says:

    @Lit3Bolt :

    Either way, the Republicans are going to lose voters in November, because either choice will be seen as a “betrayal” by some element of their base.

    They’re going to lose **gasp** money, that greatest of sins. See, those big donors, the million/billionares? Many of them know Donald personally. They know him for the spiteful asshat he frequently is and can easily picture themselves getting screwed because he took something waaaayyyyy too personally. Donald is in it for Donald – he cannot be counted on to give them what they want, despite being nominally amongst their ranks. They’ll have no way of controlling him if he won’t toe the line. They turn and they see Hillary, by far the most viable business-friendly alternative they have left. I’ve often felt she would have been a Republican if they weren’t so crazy on the so-con soapbox. Hillary will work with Wall Street; she’ll tighten the reins but won’t muzzle them, castrate them on a whim. Better the light lash then the flogging.

    We’re going to see long-time R donors jump ship if Donald takes the nomination. Once that well starts drying up, watch the tone change. They’ll protect the money vote over the populist any date of the week.

  15. C. Clavin says:

    Donald Trump won his third contest in a row in Nevada, putting him one step closer to inevitability

    I think the math says, barring some kind of miracle, that he is in fact inevitable.
    And if both Cruz and Rubio go into Super Tuesday…Trump is simply more inevitable than he is now.
    If I were a member of the Party of Stupid Establishment…I’d be giving the farm to Cruz, and anyone else not named Rubio, to get them out of this race.
    No matter…I really don’t think either Trump or Rubio can win the General.

  16. Tillman says:

    I recommend Jeb Lund’s postmortem (short)…

    There’s a great temptation to fume at the emptiness and banality of Trump’s statements and at the absence of traditional policy plans; it’s almost irresistible to seek some grander explanation for his success than that people like him. …

    When you are abused and bullied enough, anyone willing to beat up or burn down whomever put you in that position is your friend. Even a bully can be a hero if he targets others bullies – and that is, more or less, what Trump has done since day one.

    …and Matt Taibbi’s read on Trump and the populist dynamic (long):

    This is part of a gigantic subplot to the Trump story, which is that many of his critiques of the process are the same ones being made by Bernie Sanders. The two men, of course, are polar opposites in just about every way – Sanders worries about the poor, while Trump would eat a child in a lifeboat – but both are laser-focused on the corrupting role of money in politics. …

    Trump will surely argue that the Clintons are the other half of the dissolute-conspiracy story he’s been selling, representing a workers’ party that abandoned workers and turned the presidency into a vast cash-for-access enterprise, avoiding scrutiny by making Washington into Hollywood East and turning labor leaders and journalists alike into starstruck courtiers.

  17. Tillman says:

    @Richard Mayhew: I believe both have made statements to that effect. Mr. Mataconis is fine voting for neither party, and Dr. Joyner has made his choices apparent.

  18. CSK says:

    @C. Clavin:

    I suspect he’ll turn the East Room into a casino and put a hot tub and a wet bar in the Lincoln Bedroom. Atop the structure itself will be a blinking neon sign that reads “Trump White House and Resort.” Class, you know.

  19. Lit3Bolt says:

    @Tillman:

    Those were interesting reads, thank you.

    Here’s a great rundown on the tactics of the Republican primary campaign have hampered the party’s strategic goals.

    The tl;dr is that Cruz and Rubio are young and may be thinking to finish a strong second after Trump’s assumed inevitable demise.

  20. Stan says:

    Here’s a quote from the NYTimes article on a survey taken after Trump’s victory in South Carolina, showing that Rubio attracts more moderate voters:

    “Nearly 20 percent of Mr. Trump’s voters disagreed with the freeing of slaves in Southern states after the Civil War. Only 5 percent of Mr. Rubio’s voters share this view.”

    Only 20% of Trump’s supporters support slavery, and only 5% of Rubio’s. Boy, that’s reassuring. It makes me proud to be an American.

  21. Gustopher says:

    @Stan: I’m just going to assume you made that up, because it is too funny to be true.

  22. Gustopher says:

    @Gustopher: oh, God, it’s true. So very wonderful/horrible.

  23. Scott says:

    @Stan: I highly doubt they support slavery; however, they do relish being douchebags and will say anything that highlights their douchebaggery.

  24. Pch101 says:

    @Lit3Bolt:

    I would expect that many in the GOP establishment would rather lose the election than have Trump take over the party.

  25. David M says:

    It’s worth noting that Trump got more votes that a hypothetical Rubia/Cruz combined ticket. If one dropped out and the other picked up all their voters (which won’t happen), Trump still would have won.

  26. grumpy realist says:

    @Pch101: There’s an article over at TAC going for an even more interesting “what if”: Trump as “Republican candidate”, the social conservatives break off and go third party.

    We’ve already got Eric the Eric fulminating about how he’ll NEVER vote for Trump as the candidate and will go third-party.

    This is the year we may see a surge for the Constitutional Party (or whatever they call themselves.)

  27. Stan says:

    @Gustopher: It’s a direct quote from the Times article. Yes, 20% of Trump’s supporters apparently support slavery. Or maybe they don’t think it’s a good idea now, but it was back in the day. And one out of twenty of Rubio’s supporters, the moderate in this race, answered the question the same way. Makes you think, doesn’t it?

  28. Tony W says:

    Trump supporters think this is some kind of game. I hope the adults in the room can contain him in the General. Trump’s inevitability may be just enough for me to swing over to Hillary Clinton instead of Sanders.

  29. grumpy realist says:

    @grumpy realist: Whoops, not TAC, but The Atlantic

  30. Tillman says:

    @Stan: To be fair, freeing the slaves, as long as we’re disregarding any sense of moral law (as historical law subverts it at every turn as the indefatigable Judge Holden reminds us), was just a tremendous waste of capital. All that value disappeared solely because some people had an issue with owning human beings!

  31. Tyrell says:

    @Stan: Who does a survey like that ? And I thought I was living in the past.

  32. Pch101 says:

    @grumpy realist:

    It wouldn’t surprise me if we ended up with a brokered convention that produced a Rubio-Trump ticket. The establishment doesn’t like either one of them, but it can probably live with Rubio if he’s in the lead position, and Trump can play the role of Palin. The establishment won’t want Cruz or Trump in the driver’s seat.

  33. C. Clavin says:

    @Pch101:
    Really? You can imagine Donald Trump willingly playing second fiddle to someone? I doubt it. Even if he tried…he would by his very nature make Rubio look like a weakling. Which he is, of course.

  34. Tony W says:

    @Tyrell: The YouGov survey appears to be measuring people’s tolerance for governance by executive order vs. Act of Congress.

  35. C. Clavin says:

    @grumpy realist:
    Thank you…good article.
    Loved this:

    Conservatives would be left in the wilderness, roughly where Trump’s white working-class base has been for the past few decades.

    Trump is, of course, the personification of the emotions that Republican Establishment has stoked in the white working-class base for years but never actually bothered to satisfy; racism and the fear of losing their white entitlement, misogyny and control over women, nationalism, single cells as adorable babies, the individual hero armed to the teeth against hordes of imagined invaders. His supporters are Republicans that the party forgot, full of un-requited fear and resentment, and they will destroy the Party by November.

  36. Pch101 says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Trump’s ego could be a problem, or it could be the motivating factor for taking a VP slot.

    If Trump runs as a third-party candidate, then he will lose. And that would be an even bigger blow to his ego: he would join Ross Perot, George Wallace, etc. as just another third-party populist loser.

    If he joins as a VP, there is a chance that the GOP takes the White House. And you can bet that he’ll take the credit.

  37. Pch101 says:

    @Pch101:

    To append to the above, Trump as VP is a win-win for Trump.

    If Rubio loses, then Trump will blame Rubio and the party and tell tall tales of how wonderful things could have been with Trump as presidential nominee.

    If Rubio wins, then it will have been because of Trump.

    Either way, Trump wins.

  38. grumpy realist says:

    What I keep scratching my head about is the continued adoration of Rubio by a) the mainstream Republican Party b) the MSM, and c) all those pundits who keep telling us what a “promising candidate” he is.

    Yes, you can tick off all the boxes when you look at him, but if he were going to be a winning candidate you’d think he’d have caught fire by now. But he hasn’t. He’s the candidate you drift to after you get rid of all the “offensive” candidates.

    And I really, really think that if the Establishment decides to try to push him on the Base as opposed to Trump they will be blowing up the Republican Party completely.

  39. Pch101 says:

    @grumpy realist:

    The establishment would have preferred Jeb, but they’ll settle for Rubio.

    Cruz is a PITA because he wants to shove the establishment aside and take over. So nobody at the top wants him.

    Trump is an outsider who is off-message. So he isn’t desirable, either (although in some respects, Cruz is worse.)

    That leaves Rubio, who at least is from Florida, which provides 29 good reasons to support him. If you take the 2012 Obama map of 332 electoral votes and move FL to the GOP column, that gets the Dems down to 303. Not a sure win for the Republicans, but a big help to them.

  40. charon says:

    @David M:

    If Cruz drops out, this poll says Trump picks up more Cruz voters than Rubio.

    http://www.elon.edu/images/e-web/elonpoll/022216_ElonPoll_ExecSummary.pdf

    Trump picks up some of Rubio’s voters if Rubio drops out, too.

  41. JKB says:

    @Tyrell:

    It’s a question they don’t dare ask the Democratic Party voters, especially in the Plantation belt of the South.

  42. Jeremy R says:

    @Tillman:

    Taibbi is giving Trump far too much credit on the topic of campaign finance. While both democratic candidates support having an anti-money-in-politics litmus test for SCOTUS noms, support the restoration of mccain-feingold-style campaign finance limits and support (to varying degrees) public financing of elections, Trump has proposed nothing to deal with the corrupting influence of money in politics. The only thing I can think of that’s at all related is he’s committed to nominating someone like Clarence Thomas to the supreme court (who was in favor of the campaign finance unraveling of Citizens United and McCutcheon).

    http://bigstory.ap.org/article/aae7714847d24cd780271a686a1a062f/trump-roberts-disgraceful-high-court-thomas-favorite

    [Trump] praised Thomas and rebuked Roberts when […] asked what kind of federal judges he would appoint, but did not specifically address Wilson’s question about how a President Trump would vet and interview prospective nominees. “We want smart, conservative and we want people that are truly in love with the Constitution,” he said.

    Thomas, arguably one of the court’s most conservative members, is “very strong and consistent,” Trump said.

    His rhetoric on money in politics is entirely tactical — he shut down his SuperPAC because it was under-performing in the Primary, and he was far better off with the talking point of not having one. If he’s the nominee, with outside money suddenly easily available, he’ll be making use of it to his fullest advantage.

  43. grumpy realist says:

    @Pch101: Given how Florida seems to feel about Rubio I wonder if he’d actually win his own state….

  44. James Pearce says:

    @grumpy realist:

    What I keep scratching my head about is the continued adoration of Rubio by a) the mainstream Republican Party b) the MSM, and c) all those pundits who keep telling us what a “promising candidate” he is.

    This.

    Rubio has yet to win a single state. He has 13 more delegates than Ben Carson, and 64 fewer than Trump. An unimpressive candidate underperforming…

  45. grumpy realist says:

    @Pch101: Trump is NOT going to accept a VP position unless he gets clobbered in the primaries from here on in. If he gets the majority of votes, he’s going to ask: “why shouldn’t I be the nominee?”

    Do you really think he’s going to listen to anyone who tells him that he can’t get elected POTUS? He’s going to love attacking Hillary. He’s also going to love saying rude things about the Establishment Republicans. After all, all these months they’ve kept saying that Trump’s support will crater….and it hasn’t. So why should he listen to any other of their predictions?

  46. Hal_10000 says:

    I wrote a long post on my own site about this but this is just crazy. Trump could be the first candidate to win his party’s nomination despite being despised by two-thirds of it. Running on a platform of maintaining Obamacare, starting a trade war, stealing oil, seizing wealth and raising taxes. Unbelievable.

  47. grumpy realist says:

    @Tillman: Any writer who can use the term “gallimaufry” in an article on politics and have it make perfect sense (if you know what it is) gets my applause.

    God I love the Brits….

  48. Jeremy R says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Running on a platform of maintaining Obamacare, starting a trade war, stealing oil, seizing wealth and raising taxes.

    While it’s often hard to pin down exactly where he stands as he says a lot of things, I think you’ve got his positions backwards on the ACA and taxes.

    In his interview on MTP, last Sunday, he again committed to repealing the ACA and replacing it with some sort of voluntary private health insurance scheme. He said that somehow he’d lower prices but the only details he gave was mentioning a couple standard GOP healthcare talking points like allowing purchasing insurance across state lines and maybe supporting health savings accounts. Here’s the transcript from that interview:

    http://www.nbcnews.com/meet-the-press/meet-press-february-21-2016-n523036

    On taxes his plan involves a staggering loss of federal government revenue through huge tax cuts:

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/analysis-of-trumps-tax-plan-shows-big-cuts-in-taxes-federal-revenue-1450807194

    Donald Trump’s tax plan would […] boost the after-tax incomes of the wealthiest households by an average of more than $1.3 million a year, according to an analysis released Tuesday.

    Mr. Trump’s plan, first released in September, would eliminate 22% of federal revenue over 10 years, radically shrinking the government, according to the Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan project of the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute.

    “The revenue losses from this plan are really enormous,” said Leonard Burman, the Tax Policy Center’s director. A bipartisan panel reviewed the report before its release.

    Mr. Trump’s plan would compress today’s seven individual income-tax brackets into three and set a top rate of 25%, down from 39.6%. It would exempt each person’s first $25,000, or each married couple’s first $50,000, from income taxation. The plan would cut rates on business income to 15%, eliminate the estate tax and curb some deductions.

    He’s also committed to large increases in military and security spending so I guess non-defense discretionary spending would have be on the chopping block.

  49. Jeremy R says:

    @Jeremy R:

    http://www.npr.org/2015/12/22/460743371/analysis-trump-tax-plan-boosts-the-rich-could-be-a-drag-on-the-economy

    [T]he U.S. debt held by the public is currently projected to hit 100 percent of GDP sometime around 2040, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Under Trump’s plan, that debt-to-GDP ratio would hit 180 percent around 2036, TPC calculates.

    This isn’t the only analysis to find that Trump’s plan would be hugely expensive; the right-leaning Tax Foundation said it would cost nearly $12 trillion in revenues over 10 years. The left-leaning Citizens for Tax Justice likewise put a $12 trillion price tag on it.

  50. Pch101 says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Trump is smarter than you think. He may be in a bubble and allow his ego to work against him, but he’ll have to consider his next move if he only wins a plurality of delegates going into the convention.

  51. CSK says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Hal, it’s the wall Trump claims he’s going to build–and have Mexico subsidize–and his promise to evict Mexicans and ban Muslims. Plus, and this is a big plus, the fact that he’s a loudmouthed misogynistic oaf. They really, really love the man’s boorishness; it’s “proof” that he “tells it like it is.” The man has appealed very successfully to the darkest impulses in some Americans.

  52. Grewgills says:

    @Tyrell:

    And I thought I was living in the past.

    Don’t worry you are, it’s just a less distant, less hateful past; more Andy Griffith than Birth of a Nation.

  53. Grewgills says:

    @Pch101:
    His next move will not under any circumstances to accept a VP slot. That would be a bigger blow than his ego can sustain and it would diminish his brand. It isn’t good business, good politics, or most importantly good self promotion.
    He will either be at the top of the ticket, be defeated soundly and limp back to reality TV while trying to sabotage the GOP candidate, or be shut out in a brokered convention and try to burn the motherf*cker down. If he is anything other than the top of the ticket his priority will be to build the opinion that if only he had been the nominee the GOP would have sailed to victory. His nightmare is another republican winning the presidency.

  54. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @LaMont: I’ll go with “B.”

  55. Pch101 says:

    @Grewgills:

    If Trump doesn’t win a majority, then he can either quit or broker. There is no alternative at that juncture.

    Nominees need to win majorities of delegates. Winning a plurality of the popular vote will not be enough.

  56. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Tyrell: You are, just not as far back in the past as 20% of Trump’s and 5% of Rubio’s supporters.

  57. Grewgills says:

    If the convention is brokered, it will come down to Cruz or Rubio being VP. I would wager in that Rubio will be in second it will come down to what Cruz can be offered in addition to the VP slot and what Rubio can offer Kasich to back him as well (maybe a cabinet post). I don’t think Rubio or Cruz will come close enough for Kasich to swing the convention and give him the VP slot. The GOP’s best bet in that circumstance would be a Rubio/Kasich ticket, but I don’t see that happening.

  58. Pch101 says:

    @Grewgills:

    The GOP establishment loathes Trump, but it detests Cruz even more.

  59. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Pch101: I would guess that if he doesn’t win he would quit rather than broker. What I’m failing to see is who will be beating him. Ted’s minions supporters are more likely go lean Trump than Mario and the establishment’s share is smaller than Trump + Cruz. Not a good scenario for mainstream-ness.

  60. Grewgills says:

    @Pch101:
    In that circumstance he will broker. Odds are he’d try to swing Rubio or Cruz to him with a VP offer. He will not accept the second slot. As I said, he’d rather burn the motherf*cker down and blather endlessly about how if only he’d been the nominee things would have gone better.
    Taking the VP slot would hurt his brand. That ultimately means it would be a personal, business and political loss for him. There is no way he’ll accept that.

  61. Grewgills says:

    @Grewgills:
    Well that was a mess. It should have read:
    If the convention is brokered, it will probably come down to Cruz or Rubio being offered VP by Trump.
    If they refuse, I would wager that Rubio will be second in delegate count and it will come down to what Cruz can be offered in addition to the VP slot and what Rubio can offer Kasich to back him as well (maybe a cabinet post). If that gambit fails for Rubio all bets are off. I don’t see Cruz at the top of the ticket in any brokered convention situation as too many people hate the smarmy bastard.
    The GOP’s best bet would be a Rubio/Kasich ticket. I don’t think Rubio or Cruz will come close enough for Kasich to swing the convention and give him the VP slot, so I don’t see that happening.

  62. Pch101 says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker:

    Again, I am presuming — perhaps wrongly — that Trump will go into the convention with a plurality, but not a majority.

    If Trump goes into the convention with a majority, then it’s a whole other ballgame. And I’m not discounting that possibility entirely — unlike the Democratic race that has math that makes Clinton virtually inevitable, the GOP is still up for grabs. However, the early primary states are often not representative of the norm, so you can’t just look at the primaries to date in order to gauge the outcome.

  63. An Interested Party says:

    It’s a question they don’t dare ask the Democratic Party voters, especially in the Plantation belt of the South.

    Well, considering that a huge number of southern Democratic voters are black, it stands to reason that more southern Republicans would feel positive about slavery…

    Meanwhile, on that same topic, let’s look at some of Donald Trump’s supporters, shall we

  64. gVOR08 says:

    @Lit3Bolt:

    The GOP can try to ride the Trump wave, and wave the fascist flag proudly for short-term gain with long-term consequences.

    Which is, of course, what they will do, what they’ve always done. Short term gain, consequences be damned, is how they created this situation. And I see no evidence that any of them see fascism as in any way a bad thing. They’re kiss up – kick down people. If Trump continues to win they’ll be only to happy to kiss his quite large arse ring.