Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won the Nevada Democrat caucuses Saturday by a larger than expected margin of 53% to 47%. Two recent polls showed Clinton and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders were tied in Nevada, and the Sanders campaign desperately wanted to prove that New Hampshire wasn't an aberration. But it just wasn't in the cards. Reports suggest Clinton got a big boost from behind-the-scenes efforts orchestrated by Senator Harry Reid, who got a number of unions off the sidelines at the last minute.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won the Nevada Democrat caucuses Saturday by a larger than expected margin of 53% to 47%. Two recent polls showed Clinton and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders were tied in Nevada, and the Sanders campaign desperately wanted to prove that New Hampshire wasn’t an aberration. But it just wasn’t in the cards.
Reports suggest Clinton got a big boost from behind-the-scenes efforts orchestrated by Senator Harry Reid, who got a number of unions off the sidelines at the last minute.
Democrats vote next this Saturday in South Carolina, where Clinton currently enjoys a 24 point lead.
Results: South Carolina
It is hard to find weaknesses in the sweeping victory Donald Trump scored in South Carolina Saturday night. He won virtually every demographic, all but two counties and all 50 delegates. Here are the results:
Exit polls indicated that there are various categories of the Republican vote that Trump essentially owns. For example:
40% of Republican primary voters said they were angry with big government, and they voted for Trump by 20 points.
44% of primary voters said illegal immigrants should be deported. They voted for Trump by 23 points.
48% of primary voters said they wanted a candidate from outside the political establishment. They voted for Trump by 50 points.
The vote had another major result: A distant fourth place finish drove Jeb Bush, who was once the frontrunner, out of the race. Ohio Governor John Kasich, who did not seriously compete in South Carolina, is vowing to stay in, as is Dr. Ben Carson.
Nevada Republicans vote [today], where Donald Trump holds a 16-point lead according to the latest poll.
Reflections On Money & Mood
By some accounts, Jeb Bush raised roughly $180 million. Unconfirmed reports suggest a top Bush consultant may have been paid as much as $14 million for his colossal failure.
Reading these reports brought to mind the millions donated to Karl Rove in 2012. No matter what they did, they just couldn’t turn Mitt Romney into a winning candidate. The same argument made for Romney — he’s the only one who can win — was made for Jeb. It ended up being a complete misreading of the mood of the public.
Evangelicals & Trump
Seventy-two percent of Republican voters Saturday identified as born-again evangelical Christians. They split 33% for Trump, 27% for Cruz and 22% for Rubio.
There is a lot of angst about how an electorate that was so overwhelmingly evangelical could give a plurality of its votes to Donald Trump when his views on values issues are at best murky. I have a theory.
For years many pro-family leaders have been warning that there are a lot of voters out there who cast their ballots for certain candidates solely on issues like the sanctity of life, the meaning of marriage and the general sense that one party generally stands for social conservatism. If those issues are off the table, a lot of these folks will vote based on other issues, such as their perception of their own economic interests.
Just consider two main issues for values voters — abortion and the meaning of marriage — and where we stand today. After 40 years of voting for pro-life candidates, we are beginning to make some progress. But we have yet to fully restore rights to the unborn, and we are fighting over whether taxpayers should be forced to pay for abortions.
On marriage, social conservatives did everything they were asked to do. We were told that a federal marriage amendment was a bridge too far, and that marriage was a state issue. So, more than 30 states voted to protect the definition of traditional marriage. But then the federal courts invalidated their votes.
When the Supreme Court ruled that marriage only between a man and a woman was unconstitutional, there was little pushback from Republican leaders in Washington. Some quarters of the party actually seemed relieved that the court had “settled” the issue, even though it was settled in a manner contrary to the values of most evangelical voters.
So what does this have to do with South Carolina? Well, if you are an evangelical blue collar worker and you conclude that no major political force is going to fight for your social values, you start voting based on other issues, if you vote at all.
Did Donald Trump win a plurality of evangelical votes? Yes he did. They were overwhelmingly blue collar evangelicals who chose him for his opposition to illegal immigration, his opposition to trade deals, which they perceive as trading away their jobs, his economic populism and his full-throated “America First” nationalism.
Several conservative media outlets this morning, including the increasingly influential Breitbart.com, are suggesting that what is happening now may be a blue collar takeover of the Republican Party.
Scalia Laid To Rest
Justice Antonin Scalia was laid to rest Saturday. His death reflects the loss of another conservative Reagan icon leaving the scene and passing into the pages of history. He left behind a tremendous legacy and became the gold standard of judicial conservatism.
It was utterly classless of President Obama to skip Scalia’s funeral. He had time to meet with activists from the Black Lives Matter movement last week, but he could not make time to attend the funeral of this judicial giant.
Justice Scalia’s son, Reverend Paul Scalia, delivered an incredibly moving homily at the funeral. You can watch Rev. Paul Scalia’s homily here. Commenting on how his father’s faith influenced his life, Rev. Scalia said:
“He knew well what a close-run thing the founding of our country was. And he saw in that founding, as did the founders, a blessing — a blessing quickly lost when faith is lost from the public square or when we refuse to bring it there. Dad understood that the deeper he went in his Catholic faith, the better a citizen and public servant he became.”
I share these remarks with you because I do not believe one’s faith is a purely personal matter. I believe faith has a tremendous impact on the very nature of our country. You can read more of my thoughts in my latest opinion piece at The Daily Caller.