First, Arizona. The Republican primary is still feeling the continued aftermath of Rubio’s decision not to withdraw before Florida, which was on full display last night with Rubio garnering 16%!
Of Arizona early voters cast ballots for Marco Rubio, according to an MBQF Consulting poll taken last week. Washington Examiner: “As of last Wednesday afternoon, at least a quarter million registered Republicans had already voted in Arizona, taking advantage of the state’s 26-day early voting period. Based on the timeline, this means those 250,000 Arizona Republicans all voted without knowing Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) would no longer be a candidate by election day.” By our math, that’s about 40,000 votes Ted Cruz won’t get.That also gives credence to another thought: John Kasich came in fourth in a three man race! But he's got a shot, don't ya know...NO WAY IN HELL.
Related link: Early votes for Rubio helped skew the system
And though Trump won Arizona last night, there's another component that isn't being discussed in the mainstream media (and they'd like to keep it that way). The Don still didn't clear 50%...Three weeks after Super Tuesday and he still hasn’t cracked 50% once...
RedState: Never before in GOP primary history has a frontrunner gone this long without cracking 50% in a single state. In fact, it’s not even close. We are now three weeks beyond Super Tuesday; by now every other Republican frontrunner since 1976 has run away with the nomination. That’s right, it took the pall of Watergate and the pardon of Nixon to generate a Republican front runner as weak as Donald Trump is right now.We'll get to the necessary coalescence in a moment, but this brings us to Utah...
If, after all this time, and after the media constantly telling us that Trump is inevitable, and after the Establishment lining up to kiss his pinky ring yesterday in DC, Trump is still opposed by over 50% of the Republican electorate in a non-Evangelical state like Arizona, that means that Trump is likely to never get above the 50% mark nationwide, and he will always be seen as the child of a fractured field full of egos who wouldn’t quit when their time was up (looking at you, John Kasich) rather than a nominee with any legitimacy.
In fact, the candidate most likely to break the 50% barrier tonight is not at all Donald Trump, but Ted Cruz. And if Ted Cruz is cracking 50% when Trump is not, then that means that the #NeverTrump phenomenon is NOT a momentary blip, but is here to stay for good.
The Republican electorate is giving every sign that they will not bow to Trump or his supporters. Now it’s just up to the NeverTrump faction to coalesce around an alternative candidate, for good.
Early totals began leaking out on social media that showed Cruz was CRUSHING it in the Salt Lake State, and it turns out they were right on! (This speaks volumes to the previous post of Cruz cracking 50%!)
RedState: Ted Cruz has crushed the competition in Utah. NBC has called it at 2:25 a.m. Eastern, CNN shortly after, and the AP after that. The vote totals are not released but at last count Cruz was over 68%. I will update this post with the official results shortly but it certainly appears that Cruz has exceeded 50%. [update:] Cruz dominated with 69% of the vote.That LANDSLIDE leads to what needs to happen next. If Mitt and Jeb can get behind a Cruz nomination, it's time for those who are vastly more conservative to STEP UP! (i.e., Ben Sasse, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, etc.)
Having exceeded 50% of the vote, all 40 of the state’s delegates will go to Cruz, majorly offsetting Trump’s decisive Arizona win, which was a winner-take-all race.
Tonight was key for the #NeverTrump people, and the folks who are in that group no doubt heaved a sigh of relief. They can relax for a day.
TheResurgent: Last night, Trump took Arizona and Cruz took Utah. Trump got more delegates, but Cruz made it more difficult for Trump to get to 1,237. And Kasich? Kasich got stomped in Arizona by Marco Rubio, a man no longer in the race. It is clear that Trump can be stopped, but some folks need to step up now.We'd much rather you PUT UP than shut up, fellas. NOW is the time.
I’m a big Ben Sasse fan, but I’m at the point where I think his actions need to live up to his rhetoric. He, like Rubio, has gone in all #NeverTrump, and he, like Rubio, is sitting on the sidelines really doing nothing but speechifying.
It’s all well and good to hear him preach on what conservatism is, but Nebraska is coming up, he’s popular, and I haven’t seen an endorsement for Ted Cruz coming from him.
Same with Scott Walker in Wisconsin. The man has ambitions for future campaigns, but won’t stand up now to stop Trump from wrecking the GOP. Already, I’ve got to imagine that Ron Johnson’s future political career is burned toast. No way Ron Johnson gets re-elected with Donald Trump on the ballot. Reince Priebus too could be pulling strings in Wisconsin behind the scenes to stop this insanity. As far as I know all of them are doing jack.
We’ve reached a point where grown ass men think giving a speech is taking action. Actually, taking a stand, being bold, and telling the party faithful it is time to stand with Ted Cruz is doing something.
Hand wringing about never, ever, never voting for Trump, but refusing to endorse the only viable alternative is kids play.
It is time for Ben Sasse, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, and the rest to stand up, be bold, and loudly reject Donald Trump in favor of Ted Cruz. That can actually make a difference. Moving political operations, supporters, and donors behind Cruz can stop Trump. Kasich cannot. Every day moving forward a vote for Kasich is just a vote for Trump.
Get off the fence, Ben. Get off the fence, Scott. Get off the fence, Marco. We can stop Trump if we unite.
Otherwise, we'll have to listen to more threats of violence if he's short the necessary delegates, more threatening the other candidate's wife over unaffiliated PAC ads that the other candidate had nothing to do with, and then of course ponder the big 'what if' of alternatives in the plausible case that Donald Trump kills the Republican Party!?!?
However, we'll likely endure more of the Trumpertantrums to come anyway, because this primary is likely to last until June...
It’s time to settle in for another 2 months of the Republican primary, at least. Barring some miracle, this thing will not be settled until the final primaries on June 7th.That TrumpU trial in May can't come soon enough!
Related links: Delegate chess: How delegates are won in the remaining GOP contests
Accused Of Fraud, Trump Will Take The Witness Stand
ADDENDUM: Here's some positive next steps!
BOOM!! Cruz LEADS in Wisconsin, and NATIONAL poll has him within 3 points of Trump!!Related link: Brokered GOP Conventions Often Produce A Winning President
Scott Walker hints at Ted Cruz endorsement next week, for ‘maximum impact’
Why a Contested Convention Favors Cruz