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March 5
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It was undeniably a good night for Cruz, who earned more delegates than Trump. Trump did, however, narrowly edge Cruz out on the actual number of votes received today:

Trump — 230,443
Cruz — 230,209
Rubio — 85,064
Kasich — 62,554

Little Marco was the big loser. He wasn’t merely uncompetitive in all four states, he couldn’t even manage second anywhere and finished last in Maine. Florida should be in the bag for Trump. If it’s not, a brokered convention becomes probable. The markets now have Kasich’s chances at the nomination better than Rubio’s.

Trump continues to perform below polling projections nearly everywhere. Ohio could be slipping out of Trump’s grasp, and he may be in trouble in Michigan, too. Kasich could conceivably win both of them.

The good news for Trumpians is that it’s Cruz rather than Rubio or Kasich firmly ensconced in second place. A lot of the theocratic states have come and gone. The more secular contests (and the remaining heavily Scots-Irish religious states where Trump has bested him so far) will be tougher for Cruz, even if he continues to outperform his polling numbers.

Trump and Cruz have both hinted that they will not accept a brokered outcome that cuts the winner (ie whoever has garnered the plurality of votes) out of the nomination. It’s looking like between the two of them, with winner-take-all states fast becoming the norm, they’ll control upwards of four-fifths of the assigned delegates when the primary season wraps up.

A Trump-Cruz ticket may not yet be totally out of the question, improbable as that seems based on their (public) mutual hostility for one another. If they go into the convention understanding they’re both about to be cut out, they might strike a deal and announce it before the palace eunuchs are able to put their backroom scheming into action.

(Republished from The Audacious Epigone by permission of author or representative)
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  1. Kasich has the least baggage, and is a more likely VP for either Cruz or Trump.

  2. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Well I went to CPAC yesterday (Saturday) for the first time ever. I thought it would be an interesting scene.

    God, I hate these people. There was a huge amount of anti-Trump propaganda and almost no anti-Hillary campaigning. Geez! The way to tell a conservative is because he is the one stabbing his own in the back. Trump was going to go but then he didn't because they were going to lynch him. There was actually an attack plan by Cruz supporters (a huge share at CPAC) to pack the room and then walk out all once when Trump came.

    Hung out with Pax Dixon interestingly enough and bought him a drink. Very interesting conversation. Enduring global-trending Internet hate changed him. He now has a huge beard, a rural property with a lot of land and a big collection of guns. Chuck Johnson was with him also.

    Also hung out with Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona for a bit.

    I was there handing out material I had prepared. That wasn't allowed (yeah, no free speech at CPAC) but I did it anyway.

    My take is that Trump is deeply wounded.

  3. That last comment about attending CPAC was by me, Dan, your longtime commenter. It was accidentally anonymous.

  4. Meant to say Pax Dickinson. I think he's an alcoholic, since he reeked of alcohol at 4 in the afternoon, which made me his enabler.

    What can I do, the world of the darkly enlightened seems so small and the place was filled with clean simpletons in ties.

  5. Sykes,

    I'm envisioning a situation where Trump comes in with the most delegates but doesn't clear the 1237 number, Cruz comes in a healthy second, and Rubio/Kasich trail way behind.

    Does the GOPe then reluctantly get behind Cruz and cut Trump out altogether? I don't know that Cruz would want that, as it would make his putative outsider status–already overshadowed by Trump's more genuine claim–look really phony, he'd be alienating Trump's supporters, and he'd be nakedly reneging on what he's said previously about his opposition to a brokered convention choosing someone who isn't on top of the delegate count. Just a few months out from the general election, that would seem to make his November prospects poor.

    It seems unlikely that the GOPe would reach out to Trump in that situation and cut Cruz out if Trump accepted someone like Kasich as VP, either, but maybe so.

    From the perspectives of both Trump and Cruz, though, a publicly declared Pres-VP ticket prior to the convention would be politically impossible for the GOPe to object to. It'd bring in the CPAC/religious right voters without losing any of Trump's unique base, and much as neocons would hate it, they'd be hard pressed to keep most of the cuckservative electorate from holding their noses and voting for the not-Clinton crew.


    Any idea on CPAC turnout relative to other years? I've never paid any attention to it so I have no idea. A quick Google search doesn't give much indication, though I see a lot of "record CPAC turnout" articles appearing from 2009-2012 but not any from this year.

    The more cuckservative it becomes, the more it slips into irrelevance. Good riddance.

    I'd have loved to strut around with Pax wearing my Trump hat. These cuckservative types aren't quite the low-T noodle neck SWPL manlets of the left, but they're not physically courageous or imposing people, either.

  6. Dain says: • Website

    I attended CPAC in 2013 to cover it for a fledgling media outlet. Rand Paul was all the rage then, with tons of young buttoned-ups carrying around "Stand with Rand" posters. And CPAC is a very youth-heavy event. If that's the way Republican-leaning youth are trending, it's no surprise Trump isn't welcome. Libertarians are the inverse or traditional conservatives in many ways. Socially liberal and in love with free markets, the latter to the point of being pathological about it IMHO. (I spent many years involved in libertarianism, attending IHS and Mises Institute events etc.)

  7. Dan says:

    I have never been before so I can't comment on how it was compared with past years but it was not that crowded. I expected more. A friend I was with said the (something)Con he was at a couple of weeks ago had ten times as many people.

    It really did consist of clean cut attendees in suits and ties, mostly white, occasional blacks, almost no Asians or Hispanics.

    "I'd have loved to strut around with Pax wearing my Trump hat."

    I think he was glad to find a fellow shitlord, as he called me.

    It is very important still; more people should go. All the major conservative media, organizations and candidates are there. I stuffed my literature (a short, nice write-up on the future direction of conservatism) into the hands of various people including Steve Forbes, the trillionaire. His handlers kept him moving before he could be darkly enlightened by me, alas.

    Trump should have found a way to drop by, and kiss the ring to soften the conservative media. Much of them are out to kill him right now and he doesn't need that. Glenn Beck who was here said if Trump was on stage with him he would have stabbed Trump over and over. Peachy! He got visited by the secret service (true).

  8. Dain,

    Funny you say that, because Tom Woods and Lew Rockwell are basically Trump supporters in the enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend sort of way. They do a podcast with post-debate analysis and it's clear that Lew especially wants Trump to win the nomination, sort of likes the guy, and hates everyone else in the Republican field.

    Does Cruz get support from the Ron/Rand Paul people? Bomb the sand to see if it glows Cruz?


    Ha, that's AltRight terminology if you're unfamiliar with it. Any chance you'd send me what you handed out? Would be interested to see it ([email protected])

    As for going, maybe, but it hasn't been Trump's approach so far. Rather than trying to join the Conservative, Inc and take a seat at the front, he's been snubbing it over and over again–skipping the Fox News debate, calling Dubya a liar, saying "yes, I am a conservative but that's not my most important label", and now this. And it's working.

    Barring something truly stunning happening, worst case scenario now for him is that we go into a brokered convention where he has a plurality but not a majority of delegates. He gets the nomination or he invokes the Samson option. Conservative, Inc might be facing a Cannae-like massacre, or, at best, a Pyrrhic victory. There is no way Conservative, Inc comes out of this without suffering tremendous damage in terms of credibility and influence.

  9. Dan says:


    Emailed you my flyer that I gave out at CPAC.

    "worst case scenario now for him is that we go into a brokered convention where he has a plurality but not a majority of delegates. "

    Trump is slipping right now, seriously — from Nate Silver:

    Nate Silver ✔‎@NateSilver538
    LA election day votes, per my colleague @bycoffe:
    Cruz 40.9%
    Trump 40.5%
    Rubio 9.4%
    Kasich 6.8%
    Note: a few precincts still outstanding.
    Nate Silver ✔‎@NateSilver538
    By comparison, Louisiana early votes:
    Trump 46.7%
    Cruz 22.9%
    Rubio 20.1%
    Kasich 3.7%
    11:31 PM – 5 Mar 2016

  10. Dan,

    Thanks. Concise, reasonable, and not off-putting to an (initially) unreceptive crowd.

    That's not good, and it fits the polling underperformance perfectly, because those early numbers are much closer to the RCP averages than the day-of and ultimate numbers are. It looks like Trump is slipping a little but the bigger explanation is a Cruz surge.

    That said, I'm highly skeptical of Cruz's national appeal. I suspect he's going to get crushed in big delegate winner-take-all states like New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, and Florida. Unless he seriously surges in the area of 20 points nationally, he can't get to 1237.

  11. This apparent drop isn't registering at all in Reuters-Ipsos daily tracking poll, although it only has numbers through 3/4. Does the CPAC thing matter? I read/hear almost nothing about it, but maybe it's a big deal to a lot of the grassroots types.

  12. Cruz's apparent rise isn't showing up, either.

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