Saturday, February 20, 2016
South Carolina (R) and Nevada (D)
The GOP side is getting interesting. In his worst case, it looks like Trump has about 35% of the vote. It's not clear he can build much on that--it's certainly not clear he has a majority of the GOP. So how does a guy with a minority of the party win the nomination? He depends on a splintered field. As Sean Balkwill noted, Trump is going to get most of the delegates out of SC. So long as there continue to be four or five candidates in the field, he can continue to win states with 35%.
Fascinatingly, the fact that Trump may not have majority support is exactly why the other candidates may stay in the race. They'll all calculate that in a two-man race, they could beat Trump. They will probably all see enough good news in the SC results to stick with it until Super Tuesday on March 1, hoping to poach a state or two and revive their campaigns. By that time, Trump may well have a substantial delegate lead. (It might even be better for him to lose a few states on March 1 if they go to different challengers.)
If Cruz finishes 3rd, I don't see how he wins the nomination--though he'll definitely stick around until Super Tuesday, when Texas votes.
Posted by Jeff Alworth at 2:19 PM