Commentary

Trump Cruises In Nevada, Rubio Marches On

Politico called the Nevada caucuses for Donald Trump with just 3.3% of the vote reported. The night remained interesting for a touch longer, however, as Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz duked it out for second place.

Cruz’s inability to shine in the heavily conservative state of South Carolina may have dried up any residual momentum from his Iowa win. Accordingly, Rubio took the second lead early on in the night and consistently stayed ahead of his rival.

Final results show Trump with a resounding lead at 45.9%, followed by Sen. Marco Rubio with 23.9% and Sen. Ted Cruz with 21.4%. Carson and Kasich were both below 5%. Of significance was the strong support Trump received from Hispanic voters, picking up 46% of that demographic.

The preliminary entrance polls appeared to show Marco Rubio as the top choice for voters who made up their minds within the past few days, which may help the Florida Senator as the GOP field continues to narrow.

ABC’s live online stream of the caucuses reported a high sense of anger and dissatisfaction toward the federal government among GOP voters. Entrance polls had 94% of caucus goers as angry or dissatisfied and a majority six in 10 caucus goers just plain angry.

That's significantly higher than the about four in 10 angry voters recorded in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

The outsider v. establishment split was also consequential in Nevada, 61% of voters said they wanted someone from outside the political establishment, compared with 33% who desired the contrary. Correctly extending the narrative, the only viable nonincumbent candidate was Trump.

“The caucus system is very dangerous, to use a very nice word,” said Donald Trump about Nevada when speaking with Hugh Hewitt the night before the election. Muting expectations of a third win in a row, Donald Trump is continuing with a slight shift in political tact.

The acceptance of the probable Trump nomination has sunk in for the GOP establishment. This realization is quickly causing Trump and his team to carefully update their image. Trump remains a fiery presence on stage, but has mollified on Sunday morning shows and in other appearances.

He will keep “telling it how it is,” but whether he can convince Republicans he’s their best chance come November will be definitive after Super Tuesday.

In any case, Trump must feel great about his prospects of winning the nomination. Last night in Las Vegas he upped the ante: “We may not need the two months, to be honest.”

2 comments about "Trump Cruises In Nevada, Rubio Marches On".
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  1. Ronald Kurtz from American Affluence Research Center, February 24, 2016 at 1:38 p.m.

    There is only one way to stop Trump from winning the Republican nomination and destroying the party for several years, as Barry Goldwater did. One of the candidates must attract the angry voters supporting Trump. This will require bold action such as focusing their message on making a committment to gain approval for the constituional changes required to prevent people from becoming career politicians (who will say and do anything to get re-elected). 

  2. Philip Rosenstein from Law360 replied, February 24, 2016 at 2:09 p.m.

    Good point, Ron - It will be a tough task, especially for someone like Rubio who is a typical politician with little in his record, but has appealing qualities (exactly the type of politician your constitutional changes would seek to prevent). I've been thinking that, yes, either Trump crushes the GOP for a while, or he just creates a new iteration that may eventually break off into a morphed GOP-populist party. Guess we'll have to wait and see.

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