February 24, 2016

Trump’s Royal Flush

Alternate headline: “Casino mogul wins gambling capital.”

Alternate headline: “Casino mogul wins gambling capital.” Donald Trump is on cruise control (or, if you prefer, Cruz control) and headed for the Republican nomination. His decisive 20-point win in Nevada is just the latest marker along that road. “Now we’re winning, winning, winning the country,” Trump said in his victory speech, “and soon the country is going to start winning, winning, winning.” That is the draw for gamblers, isn’t it?

True, Nevada is an outlier (that will lose its No. 4 position in the primaries in 2020), but Trump barely even had to try to win the state where the tallest residential building bears his name. It almost goes without saying that Trump’s New York values play well in a state made famous by Sin City. While Marco Rubio (second place) and Ted Cruz (third) spent time and money in the Silver State, Trump held two rallies. Two. And he won across pretty much every demographic and interest. He ran the table.

One might say that’s easier to do when your supporters are the poll workers. The odds are always in favor of the house, after all. But voter fraud isn’t why Trump won. No, this election cycle is, again, a perfect storm of anger, populist rhetoric and media adulation that Trump has exploited expertly.

Finally, after Tuesday, the theory that many, including us, have espoused — that Trump can be stopped by unified opposition — is looking less certain. In short, that’s because infighting has taken its toll. Cruz voters don’t think Rubio is conservative (which is laughable), and Rubio voters don’t think Cruz is honest or electable. Uniting the clans would be a herculean, if not impossible, task, and it’s getting tougher every day to see a viable path for any non-Trump.

Now we move on to the 11 states voting on Super Tuesday, March 1. Trump leads in every state but Texas.

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