Ted Cruz speaking at CPAC 2015. Photo credit: Dave Davidson (Prezography.com)
Ted Cruz speaking at CPAC 2015.
Photo credit: Dave Davidson – Prezography.com

While Super Tuesday results are still coming in showing GOP frontrunner Donald Trump had an exceptional night winning six states – Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee and Vermont. Trump did not meet the threshold to sweep the allotted delegates in any of the states he won. Ted Cruz won three states. He won his home state of Texas in convincing fashion and won Oklahoma – a state where Donald Trump was expected to win according to recent polling done there. He also beat Trump in the Alaska Caucus. Marco Rubio won the Minnesota Caucus, but may only come away with just a few more delegates than Cruz who came in 2nd who also won three of Minnesota’s eight Congressional Districts.

The delegate math is not complete tonight, but Donald Trump will have a sizable lead with delegates. Cruz will have a solid 2nd place with Rubio in 3rd place. As we get closer to winner take all states it is vital this becomes a two-person race.   Also take a look at the actual vote count “…at the end of Super Tuesday Cruz finished with 2.5 million votes, compared to Rubio’s 1.9 million and Trump’s 2.9 million. Cruz bested Rubio by 600,000 votes,” Robert Gagnon pointed out at American Thinker.

I believe Cruz showed that he is the candidate who can beat Donald Trump going forward.

Rubio could not pull out a win in Virginia, but finished a strong 2nd place. He was beat by Ohio Governor John Kasich in Vermont and Massachusetts.  He was beat by Cruz in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Alabama, and Tennessee. At the time of writing it looks like he will barely edge out Cruz in Georgia. It appears that Rubio will not meet the threshold for delegates in Texas or Alabama. He may not win any delegates in Vermont either, but neither will Cruz.

The next few contests on March 5 are ones where Cruz could do well Kansas and Kentucky which are both caucus states that rely upon organization. Cruz could also do well in Louisiana which is a closed primary. On March 8th you have Idaho Primary which is a closed primary that doesn’t favor Trump. Mississippi has an open primary, but I suspect Cruz will be competitive. Michigan on March 8th is an open primary which favors Trump. Rubio and Cruz according to Real Clear Politics average are only separated by less than a percentage point. In the latest Michigan poll they were tied.

Rubio’s path to a nomination is Florida which is a winner-take-all state. If Rubio was leading the polling in the state I could understand the campaign’s optimism, but he’s not even with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush out of the race. Rubio trails by 20 points among Real Clear Politics average of polls, he also loses in a head to head match-up with Trump in one of the most recent polls. Coming in 2nd place doesn’t matter since it’s winner takes all.

If Rubio came out of Super Tuesday leading Ted Cruz in delegates I was prepared to say Cruz should drop, but he didn’t, not even close. During his speech tonight Rubio didn’t sound like a candidate looking to drop out of the race (neither did Ben Carson or John Kasich for that matter), but the narrative that Trump is on the decline while his campaign is advancing didn’t match reality tonight. It’s likely that Cruz dropping out of the race will help Trump more than it will Rubio, the opposite isn’t true.

The best Rubio can hope for is a brokered convention, but on this current trajectory it’s a long shot that Trump would be prevented from winning the needed delegates before the convention anyway in that scenario. Also, should Donald Trump lose at convention the likelihood of an independent run increases, and that scenario doesn’t favor Republicans either. Anti-Trump Republicans need to play to win or go home.

Moving forward I believe a vote for Rubio, Kasich or Carson is essentially a vote for Trump, and a vote for Trump will be a vote for Hillary Clinton in the general election. This race has boiled down to two candidates – Ted Cruz or Donald Trump. You choose.

Update – 3/2/16 at 1:29pm: Here is the delegate haul for each candidate from Super Tuesday.  While Donald Trump won six states to Cruz’s four and Rubio’s 1, the night was much closer in terms of delegates.

  1. Donald Trump – 237 delegates (319 total)
  2. Ted Cruz – 209 delegates (226 total)
  3. Marco Rubio – 94 delegates (110 total)
  4. John Kasich – 19 delegates (25 total)
  5. Ben Carson – 3 delegates (8 total)

Note: This article has been updated to reflect final results.

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