Super-Duper Tuesday State of the 2016 Race

“Life is pain, highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.” – The Dread Pirate Roberts, Princess Bride

by Don Rasmussen

It has been a bit since I have offered my perspective on the presidential election. But I practice the dark political arts in Texas, where our elections are effectively over. So I am left to wander the house in my robe and yell at the cat until the 2018 primary starts. I needed to find something to do. Moreover, the cat needed me to find something to do.

Since the TLR editors kindly lend me their space, I thought I would share what I am seeing from the perspective of an agoraphobic, elections-obsessed Republican consultant. So grab your popcorn, pop a Xanax…now pop another one…good, now chase it with a bourbon…and we’re ready to go.

This week, the race turns to Michigan, Hawaii, Idaho, and Mississippi, four states with absolutely nothing in common, save the GOP primary. With 154 delegates at stake, it will be the third biggest day in the election season so far and will set the stage for powerhouses like DC, Guam and Wyoming on Saturday, when 57 more delegates will be selected.



Moreover, this week ends the period of proportional delegate distribution, meaning that starting next Tuesday with Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio and the big prize, The Northern Mariana Islands, delegates will mostly be rewarded on a winner-take-all basis. In maintaining a commitment to the naming convention, this will be referred to as Super-Super-Duper Tuesday. It will also render the graph above moot along with most of the campaign for the last three months.

This system was adopted by the Republican National Committee to assure that establishment-approved candidates wouldn’t have those pesky conservatives and libertarians nipping at their heels until the convention. Like all Republican establishment plans, this is working out swimmingly.

As to what all of this portends? Hell if I know. The states voting this week are a total 7-10 split. Rubio could pick up Guam, DC and Hawaii, Trump should get Mississippi and maybe Michigan, while Cruz could pick up Wyoming and Idaho. Kasich should be competitive in Michigan and DC. More important than the delegates will be the narrative and the momentum going into next week. If Trump only wins 1 or 2 out of 7, the last vestiges of inevitability will be punctured. If Rubio picks up 3 wins (even ridiculous ones like Guam and DC), he will be said to have “the Big Mo” going into Super-Super-Duper Tuesday. The bottom line is that the giant mess is about to get messier…also

If Rubio can bring it home in Florida and Kasich pulls off Ohio, then we are going to the convention. The good news: delegates will flee Trump after the first ballot; most of them don’t want to vote for him anyway. The question then becomes, flee where? If the number two guy (probably Cruz) isn’t pretty close to a majority, the whole thing blows up and the most broadly-acceptable Republican (even if he or she isn’t in the race) becomes the nominee. In Mitt Romney’s mind, this is how we get to him, because apparently he doesn’t read polls and hasn’t realized that most Republicans would back over him with their cars before they would nominate him. More likely, Paul Ryan emerges with Rubio on the ticket and no one is happy. As for me, I will welcome our alien overlords with open arms.

For more on the triumph of mediocrity in politics, please read The Road to Serfdom.

If you are a big ol’ nerd and enjoy this stuff, I keep a regularly updated delegate tracking tool on-line.

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