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:
- Winning by losing: By losing 4 states Donald Trump gave Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio reason to stay in the race. In other words, the GOP vote stays divided which is good for Trump.
- Trump goes presidential: Trump’s victory speech on Super Tuesday actually looked presidential . A press conference in Florida instead of a victory rally in one of the Super Tuesday States was a very smart move, and so was his manner. He was calm and didn’t rip the other candidates, acknowledged that they were working hard. Does that mean he is looking toward the general election?
- Did Chris Christie look stoned or what?? Standing in the background of Trump’s victory press conference New Jersey governor Chris Christie had this blank look on his face. He kind of looked like the spurned wife standing by her (soon to be ex) husband during the speech where he admits he was having an affair.
- Will the establishment donors switch to Ted Cruz from Marco Rubio? Okay I was just seeing if you were paying attention–sort of. As of now Ted Cruz is the solid #2. The way the money has been frantically moving from one candidate to another, the money should go to Cruz. But it wont. Trump is a liberal, Cruz is a true conservative…they don’t like conservatives.
- Virginia: Yes it’s probably true if John Kasich had dropped out Marco Rubio would have won Virginia. However he didn’t. So Marco stop complaining about it, there are no moral victories in politics. In fact at times there is no morality in politics. On the other hand even if he wins his home state of Ohio, Kasich has no path to the nomination, he is being very narcissistic by remaining in the race.
- Sarah Palin’s Big Loss: Come on Sarah, when a big name former governor endorses a candidate they are supposed to at least win your home state. But Cruz not Trump won Alaska.
- Jim Gilmore’s Big Win: Most people did not notice but Gilmore, the former governor of Virginia was in the GOP mix for 2016 but dropped out a few weeks ago. In the city of Chelsea, Mass. Gilmore received the most votes; 366, that was good for 47.2 percent of the total. You go get ’em Jim.
- Marco’s victory speech: If you listened to Marco Rubio’s post vote speech last night without knowing the results, you may have thought he won…he didn’t.
- The KKK?: I heard trump disassociate himself from the KKK at least ten times yesterday, lets move on. How bout asking about Farrakhan who said he admires Trump because he isn’t taking Jewish money? Or Trump’s mob ties which were reported here on Sunday.
During the next two weeks another 721 delegates will be chosen 376 of them on March 15 which is when winner-take all primaries begin.
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.