Super Tuesday Post Mortem

Everything is in except Alaska at this point. As I type this, Alaska is looking good for Trump – but only 7% of the vote is in:

Clinton

Clinton has all but shut down Sanders, defying my own prediction of a preference cascade. Looking at the turnout numbers and breaking down the polls, however, it’s easy to see why I made the mistake. The number one second choice candidate for Sanders voters is… Trump. And GOP turnout has been roughly three times higher than Democratic turnout. What we can learn from that is that the voters Bernie needs to push him over the top have crossed the aisle to vote for Trump.

For the record, I still predict an anti-Clinton preference cascade. Except now it looks like we’ll have to wait until November for it.

Sanders

Didn’t do what he needed to do tonight. What’s his play? He carries this all the way to the convention and racks up as many delegates as he can. He’ll have a formidable number and it’ll give him a lot of influence over the official party platform. Count on him to use that.

Trump

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures during the first Republican presidential debate at the Quicken Loans Arena Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Somehow there are still people out there saying that the GOP race isn’t as over as the Democrat’s race. Trump didn’t hit his best case scenario tonight (running the table) but it was a pretty damn good night for him. By my math he’ll most likely have a quarter of the delegates he needs for the nomination by the time it all falls out. He also hit a magic number tonight: with 10 total wins (at least), he’s the first candidate to cross the magic threshold of 8 wins to allow his name to be officially thrown in the hat for the nomination. The remaining candidates have a good bit of catch-up to do if they want to reach that threshold as well.

Rubio

To put it bluntly, he’s finished. I’m not sure where he goes from here. Does the establishment force him to stay in to keep hitting Trump with everything they’ve got? Or do they hold back their money and save it for later? I’m betting on the latter. My money says his funding dries up this week and he’s out, and he doesn’t even make it long enough to take a beating in his home state of Florida on the 15th. The establishment will find other, more cost effective ways to attack Trump.

Cruz

A better than expected night, but still not where he needs to be. The upshot: this is now a two-man race. The downshot: don’t expect him to pick up all of Rubio’s voters, or even a majority. Especially if Rubio hangs around for a bit. My suspicion is that Cruz’s appeal is limited outside of the deeply conservative evangelical circles and that more of Rubio’s voters go to Trump than Cruz. A two man race doesn’t favor him the way he seems to think it should.

The Establishment

Their guy can’t win anything except the kind of caucus states where they can play every card they’ve got. My gut says the fold on Rubio and put all of their money on Hillary.

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