A few notes and queries after last night’s primary results, as always in the spirit of inquiry that has animated my occasional reflections on the morning after the debates and primaries of this campaign season.
1. Donald Trump won impressive victories in Michigan and Mississippi. In Michigan, however, Trump won 25 delegates while Ted Cruz and John Kasich split 34. In Mississippi, Trump approached 50 percent of the vote; he took away 24 delegates, while Cruz won 13. Cruz won in Idaho with 45 percent of the vote. He took away 20 delegates to Trump’s 12. Trump also prevailed in Hawaii, with Cruz a close second. Trump took away 10 delegates, Cruz 6. After last night, the delegate totals are: Trump 458, Cruz 359, Rubio 151, and Kasich 54. Once the winner take all primaries kick in next week, I wonder how likely Trump is to secure a majority of delegates before the convention. Will we remain uncertain of the nominee before the convention?
2. Marco Rubio is toast. He won precisely zero delegates yesterday. If the rumor that he is dropping out wasn’t true, it probably should have been. Isn’t Rubio likely to be humiliated by Trump in the Florida primary next Tuesday? Cruz apparently has some doubt about that as he competes for the anti-Trump vote in Florida. He seeks to make sure that it happens. A Cruz-Rubio alliance seems highly unlikely, does it not? Stranger things have happened, but it doesn’t seem to be in the cards.
3. Bernie Sanders secured an extremely close but extremely stunning victory over Hillary Clinton in Michigan. She seemed to think she had Michigan in the bag. How delightful to see her fail and have to continue her death march while looking over her shoulder. Is it wrong to root for Sanders against Clinton? She is both evil and corrupt. Sanders is only evil. I felt the same way in 2008, however, and it hasn’t worked out too well. At least Clinton can be bought and at least Sanders doesn’t lie incessantly. I may have to ask Professor Hayward to lay out the correct answer to this question. It is a sorry season when we have to take our comfort from the disappointments of Hillary Clinton, but it is in fact a sorry season.
4. It doesn’t much matter what we want anyway. Jeff Zeleny et al. do the Democratic math: “Clinton actually won more delegates than Sanders on Tuesday, according to a CNN estimate, picking up 84 to Sanders’ 67. She now has 1,234 of the 2,383 delegates needed to win the nomination. That figures includes super delegates, party officials and office holders who have said they will back her. Sanders has 567 delegates overall.”
5. Trump made a statement and took questions to claim victory last night. Let it be noted that the event was staged at the Trump International Golf Club in Jupiter, Florida. Dylan Byers comments (through “political strategists”) that the event is “part of Trump’s strategic effort to pivot toward the general election and appear presidential.” “Presidential” is in the eye of the beholder. Maybe President of Trump University. What is to be made of Trump’s statement/press conference last night? I am a confessed member of the establishment (whatever that is) and an irredeemable elitist, but I found his performance to be utterly bizarre (video below) — bizarre beyond my poor power to add or detract.
UPDATE: My daughter Eliana and her NR colleague Alexis Levinson take a look at last night’s results in “A no-good, very bad night for the stop-Trump forces.”
ONE MORE: Charles Lipson deciphers “Three clear messages from Tuesday’s primaries.”