Wednesday, March 16, 2016

8 Thoughts on Tuesday, March 15

1. Marco Rubio's loss of his home state by almost 20 points to Donald Trump wasn't just fatal to the Rubio campaign; it also dealt a devastating blow to the idea of Mitt Romney as an influential Republican elder statesman.

2. Tonight was also not a great night for the idea that betting odds are a better predictor than polls. For most of the time (since mid-October, which is the earliest time that website goes back to), betting odds have said Rubio is the most likely Republican nominee. (Full disclosure: Those links go to Election Betting Odds, which was co-created by my friend Maxim Lott.)

3. John Kasich is saying he might go to the Republican convention with more delegates than anyone else. And now, I'm afraid all the remaining Republican candidates might be mentally ill.

4. Losing Ohio could help Trump.

5. Alex Knepper explains why we should expect Trump to stay in the lead:

Presumably the only way to stop Trump at this point would be to look toward a Cruz-Kasich ticket, but the upcoming primaries are mostly friendly territory for Trump — Cruz will win Utah and Kasich might have a shot in Wisconsin, but Trump will likely sweep the Mid-Atlantic states on 4/19 and 4/26 — New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and so forth. Even without Ohio, Trump still has a perfectly viable path to a majority, and nobody else does.
6. I find it interesting that Trump made a point, in his victory speech, to congratulate Rubio on running a "tough" campaign, called him "smart," and said he'll have a great future. I don't think Trump said a word about Jeb Bush when he dropped out on the night of South Carolina.

7. Did anyone predict, before the voting started, that the Republican race would come down to Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and John Kasich? Anyone at all, in the whole world?

8. Since Hillary Clinton seems to have won all 5 primaries and Trump won everything except Kasich's home state, we can now see that this Reason piece was right: "letting Trump speak is not merely the morally correct, philosophically consistent course of action: It's the tactically sound one as well." That article had prescient words the day before the primaries:
When the left stops Trump from speaking, Trump wins. He gets to tell his people that the forces of far-left activism and political correctness are trying to silence him. Implicitly, he is suggesting to his followers that when he becomes president, the tides will turn: see his promise to make it easier to sue newspapers for criticizing him. Trump supporters adore this shtick. Stop giving them ammunition.
As Bill Scher said on Twitter in response to the primary results:
Speculation: The visual of Bernie supporters disrupting Trump rallies offered a dismal picture of a Sanders-Trump general, fueling [Clinton] . . .

Takeaway: spend more time knocking doors for your candidate than protesting the other party's candidate