Mark Stewart wrote this morning that “SC sure did draw the short straw this election cycle! The state has a no-win situation ahead of it.”
Yes, it does. And I’m concerned that once again, as in 2012, we’re going to fail to clarify the contest and point to the eventual winner on the GOP side, which is what we do best. Or what we did best, from 1980 through 2008.
On the Democratic side… Hillary Clinton will still win here (I see no repeat of 2008 there, either), but she’d better beat Bernie by as much as he beat her in New Hampshire. Which… is a mighty tall order. I mean, look at those percentages. So I doubt we’ll restore her to full inevitability.
And on the Republican… Last night, I was thinking, Way to go, Robot Boy, screwing up in that last debate!
But I oversimplify. Kasich had laid the groundwork for victory there. (And yes, coming in first among the real candidates counts as a victory, wherever Trump ended up.)
Whatever the reason, the GOP suffered a serious setback in its quest for a sane alternative. If Rubio could have come in second in New Hampshire after his strong showing in Iowa, the scene would be set for the other “Establishment” candidates to start lining up behind him. That most definitely did not happen — Bush, of all people, beat him!
And there’s just not enough time between now and Feb. 20 for that to get sorted out.
So… Trump will win here, there seems little doubt, and Cruz will be right behind him. Rubio still has a good shot at “winning” third place, although maybe after New Hampshire South Carolina Republicans will remember than they’ve always loved them some Bushes. In any case, even if Rubio finishes a strong third here, it won’t be enough to restore his mo.
I don’t think clarity will emerge until after Super Tuesday, and probably not then. I’d like to see it happen here — I’d love to see us get our touch back here in SC — but it seems unlikely.
But you know, we’ve got 10 days to go. And as we’ve learned over the last few months, anything can happen. Anything…