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Political Editors / Mar. 15, 2016

Last Call for Rubio, Kasich

Voters in five states head to the polls.

Voters in five states — Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina and Ohio — head to the polls today, with 358 Republican delegates on the line. Obviously, Marco Rubio and John Kasich hope to win their respective home states of Florida and Ohio, both of which are winner-take-all. But even if that happens, neither has a viable path to the nomination. In fact, Kasich would have to win more delegates than there are remaining. And Rubio is almost sure to lose Florida — he might not even finish second. So when you wake up tomorrow morning, this will be a two-man race, whether Rubio and Kasich admit it or not.

Donald Trump is already planning on a one-man race. “If we win Ohio and if we win Florida, then everybody agrees, every one of these guys, that it’s pretty much over,” he said. “Then I can focus on Hillary, because that’s what I really want to focus on. The Republican Party has to come together.”

Ted Cruz will have something to say about that. Trump could win the nomination while only receiving a plurality of votes, and even then Rubio and Kasich have each hedged on their pledges to support the nominee if that nominee is Trump. Cruz, playing on Trump’s boast about his loyal supporters, said, “If for example, he were to go out on Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, I would not be willing to support Donald Trump.”

In short, the Republican Party has hardly “come together.” It’s quite divided, and a lot of that has to do with a complete misunderstanding of the word “establishment.” And today’s vote won’t even begin to settle that.

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