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All Is Not Lost!

February 19, 2016

Rich Lowry, the editor of the magazine National Review, has a very depressing article out called “The destroyer cometh”( In this article, Lowry decries the damage Donald Trump is doing to the Republican party and laments that there doesn’t seem to be any way to stop him from winning the nomination of the party.

While I share Lowry’s sense of being appalled at this cheap charlatan running amok in the Republican party, I have not given up hope as he seems to have. Trump will win South Carolina this Saturday, but he will not dominate the way he did in New Hampshire. The storyline coming out of THIS primary will be Trump’s underperformance and Rubio/Cruz’s overperformance. I could even see the victory being as small as a 5 point margin, which just about no one is expecting, with Trump regularly being shown with a double-digit lead. But I feel like the momentum is about to shift, with Rubio’s strong comeback performance after his New Hampshire debate debacle. With endorsements from some of the most exciting, rising Republican politicians in the state, including South Carolina’s governor, Nikki Haley, I think Rubio will surprise a lot of people and close well, just like he did in Iowa. I think Cruz too will do better than advertised, with his ground game once again spiking his vote totals higher than the polls are indicating.
With the narrative now reset to “Trump is weakening/Rubio is rising”, I expect a Mitt Romney endorsement of Rubio before the Nevada caucus. While Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential candidate who lost to Obama, has been fairly quiet this campaign cycle, I think seeing the rest of the “Establishment” coalesce around Rubio will motivate him to act. As well, Romney will clearly be able to see the damage a Trump nomination would do to the Republican party. He will make the right decision. And with that, you have the perfect storm to take Trump down in Nevada for the first time since Iowa. Part of Lowry’s doom and gloom comes from a poll that was taken in Nevada by CNN that showed Trump with 45% of the vote. But that poll is garbage. The margin of error is a whopping 6.5 points! Couple that with only 245 respondents and I don’t think you can put too much credence in that one. And let’s also not forget Trump has not done as well in caucuses as he has in primaries. Expect a bit of underperformance from his poll numbers in Nevada.
Bush will get out (finally) after a poor South Carolina showing and the majority of that support will flow to Rubio. Kasich will stick around for Super Tuesday, but once that’s through, he should be out due to lack of money, as well as lack of results. Kasich’s support will also likely flow mostly to Rubio. The real key will be whether Cruz sees the writing on the wall after a poorer-than-expected Super Tuesday (my prediction!) and bows to the #Marcomentum! That would be a solid for the party and for the chances of defeating Trump, but Cruz has not exactly been known to be a warrior for the party. This is where Rubio’s negotiating skill will come into play, perhaps promising Cruz a Supreme Court appointment in exchange for his leaving the race. One thing we can be sure of: Cruz will not make a deal with the devil Trump, not after all the personal acrimony that has occurred between them. It would’ve been the smart play for Trump to try to court Cruz but that train has left the station.
This isn’t to say that this is a 100% sure thing. Cruz could get stubborn and dig his heels in if he wins enough states in the SEC primaries. But I like to think that Cruz will realize that advancing the cause of conservatism is more important than his presidential ambitions and he will give up the ghost. Once that happens, conservatives will unite to defeat the liberal Trump and the Republican party will return to its normal programming.
It’s a dream I have. Let’s see if it turns into reality!
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