While Donald Trump had a good night, Senator Ted Cruz has to be happy with the way the evening played out. Sure Cruz would have liked to have won in Arkansas, Georgia and Minnesota… but he performed well enough in all three states to stay competitive with Donald Trump. Marco Rubio didn’t have such a great night, but he did well enough to probably keep him in the race another week or two.
The first lesson of sales is that nothing really counts until you close the deal. Donald Trump had a good Super Tuesday but didn’t do as well as expected, didn’t close the deal. On the other hand Marco Rubio had an awful night and Ted Cruz positioned himself to be the leading non-trump in march to the GOP nomination. Going into the day the billionaire bloviator was expected to carry ten of eleven contests, but ended up with “only” seven (Cruz won 3 and Rubio 1). The truth is very few of the Super Tuesday states had strong polling going into their contests, so the expectations about Trump were probably overblown. And in the end, by losing four states, Trump got closer to winning the nomination.
Because the contests were not winner take all, the delegate count was not a romp, Trump earned 239 delegates yesterday, followed by Cruz at 190, Rubio 74, Kasich 21, and Ben Carson 4.
Overall, Donald Trump now has 25% of the delegates needed to win the nomination (delegate totals from CNN).
Most pundits will tell you that this has been the strangest election they’ve ever seen, and the take-aways from Super Tuesday only added to the strangeness:
For Marco Rubio to continue he must pick up his home state of Florida’s 99 delegates. That will allow him to survive, but not to generate momentum. Kasich is hanging his hat on winning his home state of Ohio (which Karl Rove still says is trending Romney). But in order to have a realistic chance of winning Rubio and/or Cruz have to win more than just one or two of the 17 states voting during the next two weeks, especially in the winner-take-all states.
There are two debates before the 15th, Fox in two days, and CNN on March 10th. Rubio and/or Cruz will have to win each of those debates. More importantly Trump has to be seen as doing as poorly has he did during last week’s debate.
Open Convention? My friend Hugh Hewitt has been predicting an open convention (no one gets the 1,237 delegates to win the nomination) since the summer –and it is a strong possibility. What I can’t see happening is Donald Trump going into Cleveland with a strong plurality of delegates and being denied the nomination. It will start a political riot. For Rubio and or Cruz to have a chance at getting the nomination at an open convention they have to be pretty close or beating Trump by July.
As mentioned earlier, this has been a very strange election season. Keep reading this site as we watch it get even stranger.
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