Donald Trump, as expected, won easily in the South Carolina primary tonight. With 99 percent of precincts reporting, he has 32.6 percent of the vote, ten points better than Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, who are separated by less than 1,000 votes at around 22.5 percent.
Bronze Medal Marco, also as expected, gave a victory speech even though he lost. He might squeak by for a second place finish over Cruz. It’s basically a de facto tie for second, which is at least better than Rubio has done previously. In any case, it looks likely that neither one will get any delegates tonight.
Some quarters of the mainstream media and the GOP establishment are again claiming Marcomentum is coming. It’s funny how Rubio seems to inspire hope for future wins even though he keeps losing handily. Perhaps. But in order to win the nomination, Rubio will have to win a state at some point. Trump looks set to dominate the Nevada caucuses Tuesday night and he has healthy leads in most of the states voting on March 1. Tonight, Trump won all 50 of South Carolina’s 50 delegates. If this was any other candidate, he would be viewed as inevitable after a strong second in Iowa and winning New Hampshire and South Carolina easily — plus a big national polling lead and healthy advantages in most states to come on the map. (For example, he’s doing a bit better than Mitt Romney was at this point in 2012.) Of course, Trump is not any other candidate.
Who knows what will happen next, but the Marcomentum talk sounds to me like the last gasps of a GOP establishment worried that the prize is slipping away into the Donald’s greasy orange fingers.
Meanwhile Jeb Bush‘s Sad Dad routine putters to an ignominious goodbye. He dropped our of the race after getting 8 percent of the vote tonight.
John Kasich finished below Bush with 7.6 percent, but he’s focused on the blue states to come and will hang around. Rubio and his backers are likely to whine about Kasich staying in the race.
Ben Carson finished last with 7.2 percent, but he continues to receive campaign donations from people who are arguably the victims of an elaborate scam at this point. Carson can and will forge sleepily ahead, on and on, forevermore.
Prediction: Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson will endorse Rubio sooner than later.
p.s. Love this spin from Team Carson, which noted to the media that Carson “received as many delegates in South Carolina as all other candidates but the winner.” That would be zero, same as Rubio, Cruz, and me.