February 22, 2016 by Thomas Hauber
It was no surprise, feeling as I know the Conservative Southern voter, that Donald Trump was the most popular candidate in South Carolina. But when two-thirds of South Carolinians voted for someone else, can we say South Carolina has lived up to its reputation as “the decider?”
We know three things. The establishment wing of the GOP is dead, Boehner’s demise foretold it, Jeb’s demise confirms it, once and for all. We get it. Next, nobody took the potential radicalness of the electorate seriously, nobody understood just how fed-up voters in both parties are with their government. Lastly, Nobody ever took Donald Trump seriously, now it is too late.
Making a few reasonable assumptions going forward, we have to admit Donald Trump has the numbers on his side and is on his way to the nomination. First, The March 1st Super Tuesday primary states are similar to South Carolina. All future scenarios are beneficial to Trump, both on Super Tuesday and especially in winner take all primaries later in March.
There are actually four candidates going the distance, Kasich is a possible spoiler. The Kasich candidacy, if it picks up any establishment votes, Bush or otherwise, deprives Cruz and Rubio any significant advance. Trump wins.
Trump’s 30-35% support is/has been solid, no defectors, he only gains votes from the drop-outs, converts and the “band-wagon” effect. Despite exit polls to the contrary, Trump is NOT a low percentage “second choice.” Even if he picks up a few establishment voters, this puts him as high as 38-39%. Trump wins.
Left ideologically divided by thinking each can win, Cruz Tea Partiers and Rubio moderates will not take votes from each other. They languish in the 20s. It won’t even matter whether Marco or Ted falls first. Trump wins.
Trump has taken over the hard-core, blue-collar Reagan wing. Neither Cruz or Rubio will take off because they have little support there. Trump wins.
Finally and most importantly, the perception will grow that Donald Trump could actually beat Hillary Clinton. Because of that, Trump eventually takes votes from all other Republican segments and takes the nomination.
By the way, like it or not, the Sanders effect is waning. It has been good for Hillary, taking her a bit left and honing her positions and debating strategies. I think Bernie goes all the way to the convention and Bernie keeps her honest.
Look out Democrats. The American electorate is in for the battle of the century.