Trump transcends the rules of the game—but Rubio and Cruz aren't finished yetby Andrew Stuttaford / March 2, 2016 / Leave a comment
Read more: Donald Trump’s genius
Let’s get the easy stuff out of the way. Hillary Clinton had a good night, stumbling in places where she was expected to stumble: Colorado, and also Vermont, where Sanders is the junior senator. But benefiting from solid African-American support in the south and snatching a significant victory over Sanders in Massachusetts, just across the Vermont border. Senator Sanders is not going to give up his quest any time soon, but, in the absence of an indictment arising out of Clinton’s email adventures, Hillary looks well set to take the Democratic nomination in due course. That there has been any doubt about that, and that America’s Corbyn was the source of that doubt, says something about the unsettled mood of the American electorate.
And that brings me to the Republicans. There was no fresh earthquake, but the aftershocks of what had already hit the GOP were only marginally less devastating. Trump romped home in a series of victories that would have been unthinkable just a few months ago. But the Republican establishment can take a few crumbs of comfort from the fact that The Donald’s triumph was not quite as complete as some were beginning to anticipate. Averaged across the twelve states, percentage-wise he scored in the mid-thirties. Impressive, but far below the 49 percent he took in a recent CNN poll of Republican voters. His delegate haul—less than half those up for grabs on Tuesday—fell short too: Trump’s path to the magic 1,237 (the number of delegates required to secure the nomination) is not clear yet.
Building on earlier success in Iowa, Ted Cruz, the junior senator from Texas, prevailed in his state, in Oklahoma next door and Alaska. Cruz is a hardliner, clever, abrasive and don’t-you-forget-it devout. He has craftily reinvented himself as an outsider despite Princeton, Harvard, an impressive legal career, a seat in the senate and a wife who works at Goldman Sachs. But he is only the junior outsider, outranked in the wilderness by a billionaire, and, currently running second to Trump in the delegate count, he may…