Was it inevitable? Who the hell knows. But it is a fact: Donald Trump has a better chance than ever to become the GOP nominee for president.
It appears Ted Cruz is pushing against the reality of his threadbare coalition. There are just not that many evangelicals and hard-core conservatives to support him past his performance in South Carolina.
Cruz will get Texas, assuredly. Maybe other “SEC” states, say, Georgia or Tennessee.
The lights will dim thereafter. And the scary possibility of an otherworldly ideologue as chief executive of the republic, portending a dark night for us all, ends in a victory for the forces of light.
Marco Rubio has a more interesting position.
Since the Iowa contest, the young-man-in-a-hurry has finished in second and third place while running a fleet operation in most of the primary and caucus states.
He barely visited Iowa. Never held Jeb Bush’s 111 town hall events in New Hampshire.
Rubio received a last minute endorsement from South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley that gave him a boost and another chance to declare a pyrrhic victory.
So because of this, Rubio is becoming the darling of the GOP establishment.
Accordingly, he has received campaign endorsements from war hero and 1996 presidential candidate Bob Dole, Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, North Carolina Sen. Tom Tillis, and Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson. Yet it may be too late.
The reasoning among GOP strategists: Rubio is in the closing act of the primary with Trump in an undeniably strong position since South Carolina.
There’s a case out there that Trump has enough delegates going forward to close the deal.
That is, looking at the math, Trump needs a series of wins in the remaining winner-take-all contests to capture the 1,237 delegates necessary for the GOP nomination.
He only needs about 25 to 30 percent of the remaining proportionally allocated, and hybrid contests, too. But he has his doubters on this score.
Washington Post columnist George Will believes Trump has met his threshold support among the existing Republican electorate, reflected by his win total in South Carolina: 32.5 percent.
Will, elder statesman of conservatism and implacable foe of Trump, maybe a prime candidate for wishful thinking.
Between Will and the National Review, it is hard to tell who has been more wrong about what is acceptable to the Republican temper.
So yes, Will has reason to wish for a different reality. Trump’s mix of xenophobia, big government liberalism, authoritarianism presents a significant danger to a cohesive and animating conservative spirit in the GOP.
It spells the end of Reaganism. It spells the end of the GOP.
This was not inevitable, but it is a fact.
Chris Timmons is a writer living in Crawfordville, Florida. Column courtesy of Context Florida.