Primary Night: Ides of March Edition

It was a night of clarification and it was a night of further obfuscation. Team Blue’s race inextricably tilted in Hillary’s favor tonight with a clean sweep of all contests.

Over on Team Red: paranoia, thinly-veiled racism, and unimaginably short-sighted stupidity was out in force today as fascist candidate Donald Drumpf (a.k.a. Trump) won every contest but Ohio and delivered a fatal blow to Marco Rubio, who gracefully bowed out shortly after Florida was called early in the evening for the self-aggrandizing, sausage-skinned ape wearing a urine-colored cotton candy helmet on his head.

Kasich held strong in Ohio, denying Trump the sweep and setting the stage for a brokered convention. And Bernie Sanders is now making the transition from “legitimate challenger” to “speed bump that was tall enough to scrape the bottom of your car and make a nasty noise which you hope wasn’t something breaking but you forget all about shortly after driving away”.

Oh, and Ted Cruz! He didn’t win anything, but he did score delegates, and his strategy to contest Florida and thus hold Marco’s arms behind his back while Trump drove in the final dagger was enough for him to call tonight a win. Yes, he’s a terrible human being with the conniving moral compass of Cinderella’s stepmom, but he mentions Jesus, right? So he must be ok… somehow… right?

Let’s break it down:

Team Red

Donald Trump (Drumpf)

After a testy weekend where the focus was on the violence and vitriol at Trump’s rallies, the GOP decided to see how much farther they could take this joke. The only exception came in Ohio, where the last remaining voice of reason in John Kasich won his home state.

Without Ohio, it is indeed going to be a very difficult path for Trump to secure the nomination outright before the convention, but he will still have the most delegates by far going into Cleveland. It is very difficult to imagine him not getting the nomination, but if Kasich or Cruz manage to come out on top in a floor fight, you can imagine the uprising.

For Republicans, it is a lose-lose scenario. If Trump is denied the nomination by convention hijinks, he’s a power-hungry madman with a lot of rabid supporters with nothing to lose. He may very well make good on his repeated threats to run an independent bid, thus splitting the vote and sealing it for the Democrats.

If Trump is granted the nomination, he will be beaten like an especially mouthy protester at a Trump rally by whom or whatever the Democrats nominate, whether it’s Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, or a particularly good bowl of clam chowder with a “(D)” at the end.

Ted Cruz

I may have bashed Ted Cruz plenty in these posts, more or less accusing him of being a deceitful, obstreperous, six foot stack of human slime with a black hole for a conscience. I might have blasted his decision to contest Florida in order to deliver it to Trump and thus eliminate Rubio. And, it’s possible I have repeatedly questioned his character and called out his rampant dishonesty and underhanded tactics throughout the campaign…

And I will continue to do so. But, to his credit, Cruz is again calling on Kasich to get out of his way so he can beat Trump one-on-one in the remaining states. After tonight though, he’d have to win something like 70+% of the remaining delegates just to pull even with Trump.

Cruz won’t admit it (or perhaps face it), but his only shot is in a contested convention. A convention is where the establishment gets their say and they have said repeatedly they don’t like Ted. If it gets to a convention and Kasich is still in the race, Kasich has a better shot of coming out on top than Cruz.

Ted still wants to beat Trump at the ballot box though, but that is now an impossibly steep hill. He would have to run away with the remaining states by huge margins. Even if Kasich weren’t in the race, I doubt he could make it to even catch Trump, much less get to 1,237.

Kasich has (or will soon have) a convention strategy. Cruz has been decrying a convention nomination as robbery in order to get others to drop out. Now, that argument may come back to haunt him as a convention is now more-or-less his only real shot to win the nomination.

John Kasich

Kasich held in there and scored his first win of the primary season… now what? This has been the story of the year for Kasich. After his second-place finish in New Hampshire, he got what he wanted. It failed to do anything for him. Now with Ohio done, he has to score some more wins before the convention.

The race is headed north to New England where higher education levels and moderate track records bode well for him. He needs to pull at least a couple out to establish some credibility. It really doesn’t look good if after all the contests are said and done, you’ve only won your home state and nothing else.

It’s all eyes on Cleveland, where the GOP convention will be held this summer and Kasich hopes to somehow steal the nomination from Trump using a coalition of his, Bush’s, Rubio’s, and others’ delegates.

If he succeeds, I can all but guarantee a Trump third party bid. If he fails, the GOP will nominate an unelectable candidate in Trump or Cruz. Kasich is the last best hope for reason and credibility in the GOP race… so bet elsewhere.

Team Blue

Hillary Clinton

This was it. This was the night where Hillary Clinton got what she has been dreaming of since she first spawned (presumably) and began learning how to dodge direct questions.

In one night, she swept Sanders to secure an insurmountable delegate lead and watched as the Republican party tore itself apart and elevated the most flawed candidate since that time Cosmo Kramer ran for president of the condo board on Seinfeld (of course, Kramer’s campaign was nowhere near as silly and cartoonish as that of Trump).

I guarantee you Hillary is probably still awake, cackling madly with delight like Gollum inside a Jared’s. She’s done it. She will be the Democratic nominee. Now her attention turns to Trump, whom she beats handily.

Make no mistake. In all likelihood, tonight Hillary may well have secured the presidency.

Bernie Sanders

The dream is dead. Gone now are the hopes of a socialist utopia, with its free public universities, its towering, freshly rebuilt infrastructure, and its billionaires in the stocks, having gluten-free, fair-trade, waterless tomatoes hurled at them.

Sanders may stick around and even see it through all the remaining contests, but tonight put it out of reach; at least by any electoral means. Sanders can finish with dignity, and keep Hillary “honest” (she’ll want those enormous crowds of supporters) but he won’t be the nominee.

He defied the odds, you have to give him that. Now he will simply have to play his role as the idealistic foil to Clinton’s no-nonsense realism until the money runs out or the 2,383 delegate threshold gets crossed, whichever comes first.

Summary

This had the feeling of a finale to it, especially on the Democratic side. Over on the Republican side, it felt like an act break. The big finale in Cleveland will be something to watch. But of all the remaining plausible scenarios I can conceive, every last one ends with another president Clinton… God help us all.

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