Although he failed to run the table, Donald Trump had a very good Super Tuesday. Consider: (1) he won seven of ten contests (Alaska hasn’t reported yet); (2) he picked up the lion’s share of the delegates (though fewer than Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio combined; (3) Cruz, Rubio, and John Kasich all got enough of a sniff to remain in the race, in all likelihood, and thus continue to divide the anti-Trump vote (Ben Carson didn’t get a sniff but might stay in the race anyway.)
At this stage of the race, a good night for Trump is a bad night for everyone else. Of the also-rans, Cruz had the best night because he won two states and more delegates than anyone other than Trump.
But Cruz’s showing wasn’t very impressive, considering the favorable terrain of Super Tuesday. A reader tells me that, if you exclude Cruz’s home state, Marco Rubio actually won more votes than Cruz in the Southern states that voted tonight — Georgia, Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama, and Arkansas.
Rubio finally won a state, nearly won in Virginia, and outpolled Cruz in Georgia. But his attacks on Trump neither slowed the frontrunner down much nor breathed demonstrable new life into his own campaign. Rubio still must content himself with trying to spin second and third place finishes into successes.
Rubio has two weeks in which to make up a huge deficit (if the polls are accurate) in the make-or-break state of Florida. Does tonight offer him hope of accomplishing this? He did make up some ground in Virginia, so there may be a ray of hope. But no more than that.
Kasich did well in Vermont, but still has no wins. Carson, running in what should be good states for him, reached 10 percent only in Alabama. He still has no wins and no prospects of any.
In sum: (1) unless the dynamic of the race changes radically, Trump will begin to run the table as soon as we get to the winner-take-all primaries; (2) the dynamic of the race probably won’t change radically unless the field is quickly reduced to two candidates; (3) the field is likely to remain at four (or more) for the next two weeks.
On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders picked up a few nice wins — Colorado, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and (of course) Vermont. Wherever white Democrats predominate, he’s competitive at a minimum.
But let’s face it, Clinton is rolling up the delegates at a pace that will easily carry her to the nomination, barring developments on the legal front. She is the presumptive nominee.
When the day started, we already seemed headed to a Clinton-Trump race. At the end of the day, we’re even closer to that unhealthy contest.