UPDATE III: Votes are still being counted, but I’m encouraged. It has been a good night for Trump but not that good. There’s no reason, I can see, for either Rubio or Cruz to get out at this point (Rubio’s big stand will have to be in FL in two weeks. He must win there).
Sure, Trump still is the front-runner and has the best chance of getting the GOP nomination, but there is a chance that either Rubio and Cruz will keep dogging him and denying him a first-ballot majority, or one of them may yet become the Anti-Trump and roll up more delegates than Trump. We’ll have to see how it comes out.
UPDATE IV: Ok, so the votes are counted.
First and foremost, the Democrat turnout has collapsed against 2008 and the GOP turnout was not just large, it was remarkably large, historic…record setting, I understand in some States. These are numbers which in normal politics would indicate a Republican landslide in November…but with Trump at the top of the heap, we just don’t know…and might not know until the votes are counted on November 8th.
Second, I don’t see any reason for Bernie to drop out on the Democrat side. Hillary did roll up some big wins, but the States that the primaries are heading to are much more Bernie-friendly. In the end I do expect the Democrat leadership to muscle Hillary into the nomination, but if I were Bernie – or one of his supporters – I’d carry on the fight. I’ve talked with a number of these Democrat Bernie supporters…unlike the Obama-bots, they don’t seem to be relentlessly nasty people. They are wrong, but not wrong-headed. I wish them well – I don’t want a Socialist United States, but I admire the sincerity and conviction of these people.
Third – now what, for the GOP? As I said last night, no reason for Cruz or Rubio to back out at this point, though Rubio has to win in Florida on the 15th to remain in any way credible. There is a chance – a small one – that the combination of Cruz and Rubio can deny Trump a first ballot majority at the Convention. This does not mean that Trump isn’t going to be the nominee – the only way to prevent that at this point is for a candidate to roll up more delegates than Trump does, and that is a vanishingly small probability. But if Cruz and Rubio come to Cleveland with enough delegates to prevent Trump from winning on the first ballot, then Trump is going to have to make a deal…and it will be a deal with two candidates who rose out of the TEA Party movement. In other words, if Cruz and Rubio are worth anything, they’ll be able to force Trump to make some moves which would make a Trump candidacy and Presidency far more palatable. Just as one scenario: Rubio gets the VP slot, Cruz gets a SCOTUS promise. That sort of thing would make #NeverTrump into #WTFOkIGuessTrump. We’ll have to see how that plays out (no, I’ll never be a Trump supporter)