The March 8 Republican 2016 Presidential Primary results are in. Donald Trump had big wins in Mississippi (47.3%), Michigan (36.5%), and Hawaii (42.4%) and continues to lead in the race nationally with 458 delegates. Ted Cruz had a surprise strong win in Idaho where he came in first with 45.4% of the vote, 17 points ahead of Trump who came in at 28.4%. The Texas Senator who finished second in Mississippi, Michigan and Hawaii is clearly solidly in second place with 359 delegates. Florida Senator Marco Rubio had a dismal performance, finishing fourth in Michigan and Mississippi and third in Idaho and Hawaii. Ohio Governor John Kasich, who was working towards at least a second place win in Michigan, narrowly missed his goal, coming in third with 24.3% of the vote, a mere .6 behind Ted Cruz at 24.9%. As of this writing, Rubio has only 151 delegates and Kasich has only 54. While both candidates are determined to remain in the race through March 15 when their respective states Florida and Ohio hold their primaries, many political operatives and pundits are pushing the two candidates to get out of the race for the good of the party and the good of the country.
Rubio is currently banking on winning his home state Florida which promises 99 delegates and he is currently aggressively campaigning in the state. However, according to the most recent Quinnipiac University Poll, in Florida, Trump, has a 2:1 lead over Rubio. In addition, Cruz is actively campaigning in Florida. Even if Rubio pulls off a win in Florida, he would have 250 delegates which still puts him at least 200 delegates behind Trump and 100 delegates behind Cruz. Given that Rubio has only won Minnesota and Puerto Rico and is likely to come in fourth in the critical March 15 winner take all Ohio race and probably third in the other March 15 primaries, Illinois, Missouri and North Carolina, his mathematical chances of winning the nomination are slim to none. Furthermore, despite all of the endorsements which he has racked up from key players in the Republican Party, he has lost his momentum. His recent attempts to hit back at Donald Trump and Ted Cruz didn’t suit his persona. The man who entered the presidential race as the son of a bartender and a maid, the personification of the American dream, was suddenly appearing very small and mean spirited. The bombastic style which is tailored made for Donald Trump, is an oversized ill-fitting overcoat on Marco Rubio.
As for John Kasich, since he campaigned very hard in Michigan, the narrow third place win was a major disappointment. And he is still determined to win Ohio which promises 66 delegates. However, according to the recent Quinnipiac University poll, he is polling at 32% which is six points behind Trump, who is at 38%. Even if Kasich wins Ohio, it will be at best a symbolic victory, a reward for having actively worked his home state. He has publicly stated that if he loses Ohio, he will suspend his campaign. If he wins Ohio, he will stay in a little longer just to see if he can get another victory. But the reality is that he has absolutely no path to the nomination. However, a win in Ohio will secure his legacy for another presidential race. Furthermore, he has conducted himself throughout the campaign with dignity. Kasich may be staying the course for a good report card and a consolation prize. Perhaps, he will be a vice president choice for either Trump or Cruz. Given that heretofore Kasich has stayed away from mean-spirited communications to other candidates, he has future team player options open to him.
At the end of the day, the Republicans need to complete the process and select a candidate who has the capacity to compete against the presumed Democrat front-runner Hillary Clinton in the general election. The Republicans do not have any more time for vanity exercises. It is time to put our country first.
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