A Note From Rod
Last night’s debate was unlike anything we’ve ever seen: an almost literal cage match between Donald Trump and Marco Rubio, with both men resorting to playground taunts and — in one remarkable moment — Trump’s defense of his own phallus. Seriously.
Ted Cruz — who demonstrated not merely Presidential stature but dominance of the event throughout — asked at one point whether this is the debate Republicans want to have in the fall. Well, some clearly do. But it was a far cry from Reagan’s refusal to enter the Oval Office without coat and tie, out of respect for the institution.
We’ll see how this plays out. But regardless, going into last night it was already a two-man race. Carson appears to be out (though don’t quote me, or I may get accused of stealing) and didn’t show up last night, Trump is beating Kasich even in Ohio (big shocker there), and Rubio — who finally won a state on Tuesday — is down 19 points here in Florida.
The pre-Super Tuesday talk was that Cruz had “no path forward” if he lost Texas. How much more so Rubio, one of the key rationales for whom is his ability to deliver Florida in the general?
Of course, Cruz did win Texas, 44% to Trump’s 27%. He also won Oklahoma and Sarah Palin’s Alaska (ha!). As things stand, the delegate count is Trump 319, Cruz 226, Rubio 110, Kasich 25, Carson 8. The bottom three together don’t get close to Cruz. And with four states now in the bag, Cruz is halfway to the 8-victory minimum required to be placed in nomination. There is zero chance the others will get close.
I’ve seen numbers showing that, head-to-head, Cruz may be beating Trump by as much as 16 points. Lindsey Graham’s statement yesterday that the Establishment may have to coalesce around Cruz tells you what’s possible.
Don’t misunderstand me: Trump is still clearly the frontrunner. And I do not personally buy the argument that Hillary would necessarily beat Trump. Smart Dems certainly think Trump can win. But still, Ted Cruz can absolutely win this. And he looks stronger today than he did a week, or for that matter 24 hours, ago.
The propaganda is that Hillary does too. She does not.
The media claims Hillary had a big night on Tuesday, but in fact, Hillary proved she can’t win states that aren’t disproportionately black. She’ll do well in the next two weeks, but Bernie’s losing proportion will keep him close (ignore the “overwhelming delegate lead” talk: that’s counting superdelegates, who can flip to Sanders all the way to the Convention).
But then we’ll start moving to heavily white states like Oregon and Utah. People will start noticing that the elected delegate count is close: too close. And unlike the Republican also-rans, Sanders’ sea of small donor money and army of activists gives him staying power all the way to the end.
Somewhere along that way, we’ll most likely hear from the FBI. The announcement yesterday that a key Clinton staffer has been granted immunity is ominous indeed: last year before a Congressional committee he took the Fifth. The question remains as to how much the President hates Hillary, and how much he likes Bernie. But if he didn’t hate her quite a bit, this scandal would have been flushed months ago.
BTW, you may have missed it, but here’s Obama’s former top military intelligence officer saying Clinton should withdraw right now. And here’s a HuffPo piece on just how bad the email scandal truly is, and why it makes Sanders the real Dem frontrunner.
True? Not true? Unclear. And that’s just the point. We know less about the Democrat race today than we did a week ago. But what is certain is that the Dems remain within a hair’s breadth of nominating an avowed capital-S Socialist for the very first time.
Oh, and while we’re talking election year politics, Chuck Grassley seems to have found his spine regarding the Scalia vacancy. My genuine thanks to him and to Mitch McConnell, words I thought I’d never be able to say again. Hopefully I won’t have to take them back.
You can read about the world anywhere. You come to RodMartin.org to understand it. Do your friends a favor and pass it along; and remember, there’s a lot more we publish each week that doesn’t make the newsletter.
P.S. Oh, you may have missed this, but it turns out that I completely predicted Trump’s strategy almost six years ago! There’s a reason his words work, and you need to understand it.
by Rod D. Martin
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John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil was broken up by the Federal government because its size and success rendered it (in their view) a threat to democracy. But just how rich was Rockefeller, compared to an average American today? Or more precisely, in 1916, what could his cash actually buy?
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