More and more it looks like Trump could run the table and win every Republican primary and caucus.
In the first caucus state the Iowa polls show Trump leading over Cruz by the closest of margins but yesterday the Cruz campaign was dealt two serious blows in Iowa. First Iowa Governor, Republican Terry Branstad, told voters “It would be a big mistake” to support Cruz. Redstate.com has some interesting comments on Governor Branstad. The Governor has said he will not endorse a candidate prior to their February 1st caucus. But he has made it clear that he is not happy about Cruz’s opposition to ethanol subsidies in Iowa. (Cruz is right, Branstad’s wrong.) This happened a day after Trump received strong praise from the evangelical Reverend Jerry Falwell.
An even heavier blow hit Cruz yesterday when his close friend and supporter, Sarah Palin, strongly endorsed Donald Trump. Palin flew from Alaska to Iowa State University to rally the troops for Trump saying,
Are you ready for the leader to make America great again?” Mrs. Palin said with Mr. Trump by her side at a rally at Iowa State University. “Are you ready to stump for Trump? I’m here to support the next president of the United States — Donald Trump…..
“He builds big things, things that touch the sky,” she said as Trump looked on, glowingly. “He has spent his life looking up.”
Palin helped Cruz to win his Senate seat in Texas. Cruz has said he wouldn’t be in the Senate today if it weren’t for the support he received from Sarah Palin. It had to hurt when she endorsed Trump. So many conservatives love and respect Palin, she could make a difference in Iowa, throwing the caucus solidly to Trump.
In New Hampshire the next primary state, on February 9th, Trump is up by an average of 17.7 points. It’s hard to see a way that Trump loses New Hampshire. Is it possible for a candidate to lose both Iowa and New Hampshire and still win the nomination? Not really. It’s only happened once since 1976, in either party. Every other eventual nominee has won either Iowa or New Hampshire, if not both. The single exception was Bill Clinton in 1992 when he came in second in New Hampshire but went on to become the nominee.
If Trump wins Iowa (we know he’ll win New Hampshire), and it’s all over but the shouting. For Trump the key is a win in Iowa.
Following the New Hampshire primary is the South Carolina primary on February 20th. Like New Hampshire, it’s an open primary, and Trump dominates. Currently he is up by 14%. Three days later, February 23, is the Nevada caucus where Trump leads by 13%.
The big enchilada, Super Tuesday, is March 1st, where 14 states will have a Republican caucus or primary. While most (all?) of these states do not have recent polls, I have seen no polls in these states during the last two months that don’t show Trump in the lead. (Although Huckabee lead in Arkansas back in September and Carson lead in Colorado back in November.) Since Trump is now up by 15% in nationwide polls, I’m not impressed by any state polls prior to this month. The latest state polls are here, and Trump leads in all of them.
At this point in time, less than two weeks before the first caucus, I think Donald Trump will run the table and win every Republican caucus and primary. It brings me no joy to say this, but I believe it to be the reality we are facing in the Republican party. I sincerely hope I am wrong.