Can Anyone Beat Trump In The Primary?

No. End of Post.


Ok, Ok you want some actual analysis behind this? Fine here it is. Full disclosure in NV I overestimated Rubio and underestimated Trump by a lot. I was spot on with Carson and Cruz. I overestimated Kasich by a bit.

Combine that with my other predictions posted here and you can decide how much weight to put on this.

So you’re looking at several distinct possibilities Kasich in, Kasich out, 3 man race, etc. Carson is almost a non-entity at this point, except that he’s probably pulling a small number of votes from Trump and Cruz.

I think the two most likely are a 3 man race and a 2 man race, with a combination of Trump, Cruz and Rubio. These play out basically the same.

In a 3 man race, Rubio would have to consolidate all the establishment/moderate vote and while ensuring that Trump and Cruz divide up the outsider vote fairly evenly. I think the latter is possible, but the former is not. Rubio has an outside chance of winning in this situation but it’d rely on perfect execution combined with Kasich leaving yesterday. (As every little bit Kasich pulls from Rubio hurts him incredibly.)

In a two man Rubio/Trump race, Rubio loses straight up. The anti-establishment vote is simply too much this cycle to overcome for Rubio (who’s already hindered by things like the Gang of 8 bill.)

In a two man Cruz/Trump race, you basically have two people fighting over a similar set of voters with no one consolidating the establishment/moderate vote. Trump’s control of the media helps in this case. Trump by at least a length.

So what’s left? I have suggested here and on twitter that a Cruz/Rubio unity ticket is the last best hope. Jonah Goldberg at NRO has finally caught up to me. And yet, I’m starting to wonder if this will work anymore. In order for it to work the following 3 things need to happen perfectly:

  1. It forces Kasich out and takes his vote share. And let’s face it, he seems a bit delusional in that he thinks he’s suddenly going to be loved for being a governor despite the fact they did horribly this cycle. Although if they could eliminate him I suspect his vote share goes to Rubio easily.
  2. It consolidates both Rubio’s establishment/moderate vote and Cruz’s outsider vote without losing any to Trump. This may be the hardest part since some of Cruz’s supporters might see this as selling out and defect.
  3. It has to pull at least some of Trump’s support away from him. If 1 and 2 execute it doesn’t have to be a ton of support just enough to maintain a decent cushion. 2-3 points would probably be enough.

All of this would have to happen before the winner-take-all states start. And that assumes Trump doesn’t run away with the delegates like he did in SC on Super Tuesday. Setting aside the unlikely chance of pulling off all 3 of these things, there’s the fact that Rubio and Cruz have effectively poisoned their mutual well over the last few weeks, making it unlikely they come together in the first place (and increasing the likelihood #2 fails.)

Which brings us back to our original point: Can anyone defeat Trump in the GOP primary? No.

Now someone may ask “why the ‘in the primary’ qualifier?” That’s easy, but it’s another post. The setup though is: Trump is going to run so far left in the general, he may be left of Hillary in the end.

14 comments to “Can Anyone Beat Trump In The Primary?”
  1. “In a two man Cruz/Trump race, you basically have two people fighting over a similar set of voters with no one consolidating the establishment/moderate vote.”

    Which is a funny observation given how the Rubio people claim to be “pragmatists,” yet somehow they think Senator Cruz, former Solicitor General of Texas and accomplished Constitutional litigator, is some kind of wacko bird they can’t bring themselves to support.

    Rubio has been coddled by most of the Right-leaning media. His most passionate utterances involve whining about standard campaign tactics and false allegations about cheating, neither of which would be effective in the general election once the Liberal MSM is activated against him.

    It baffles me that the Pragmatists are backing Rubio, who looks destined to lose his home state to Trump.

    Should he somehow be the nominee, he’ll lose worse than Mitt did.

    Of course, I think Trump will lose, too, simply because a lot of us Cruz backers cannot stomach the notion of that sometime-Republican, rarely-conservative, amoral, nasty P.O.S. having the launch codes and a fully-weaponized Federal bureaucracy.

    No thanks. After I vote for Ted Cruz on March 5th, I’m out unless/until the GOP and GOP voters come to their senses and nominate him or someone else I can trust.

    In the meantime, I’m kicking Ted more bucks.

  2. Last point:

    “Setting aside the unlikely chance of pulling off all 3 of these things, there’s the fact that Rubio and Cruz have effectively poisoned their mutual well over the last few weeks, making it unlikely they come together in the first place (and increasing the likelihood #2 fails.)”

    Cruz has attacked Rubio on policy and record.

    Rubio has attacked – smeared really – Cruz’s character.

    So, yeah, you could say “the well is poisoned.”

  3. Listen, I’m a spectator in these sports these days.
    Resolved to the fact that my state’s primary has traditionally been so late as not to matter I did not prepare myself to back any candidate.

    As such, I call ’em as I see ’em. (With the caveat that I’m anti-Trump I suppose.)

    Are the “pragmatists” batshit over their idea that somehow Rubio can consolidate the vote and Cruz can’t? Probably. I think their butthurt by the fact that Cruz didn’t play nice in the senate like a good little freshman.

    And from my point of view, things got ugly on both sides. Was Rubio and his surrogates uglier? Probably. That only makes it less like for a unity ticket to form IMHO. If it were Cruz being ugly they could make up some bullshit about the rebel being a rebel. But if the establishment guy was playing ugly it can’t be saved.

  4. This is the first I can remember Texas even mattering in the primaries. We voted in late May or June the last few times because the dems had our districts bolloxed up or they were screaming about the unfairness of voter IDs and such.

    I sure hope my fellow Texas understand what a difference we can make. OTOH we have open primaries so there’s plenty of room for mischief but this year the dems may stay home since it actually matters for them too..

  5. OT but still pretty funny…
    y’all recall the two people getting indicted over the planned parenthood butcher videos. They were from California and the female of the pair delayed her hearing and was subsequently offered deferred adjudication and some minor fine (maybe no fine). The main guy went to his hearing and was given the same offer and he refused, saying he will take it to trail.

    The supposedly repub DA was caught off guard and is now stuck with trying the case. This whole case went to a bs grand jury one of her lefty prosecutors assembled on the very last day she could sit one, and that was done a few days after the DA was assured she would not be primaried. The judge it was originally assigned to remanded it to another judge.

    This headline says Cruz will pardon him.

    It will be dropped before the election and Devon Anderson (DA) just assured this term is the only one she gets.

  6. I would skip voting before I’d vote for any ticket with Rubio on it. I might be so pissed I’d vote for Hillary, just to bring on the Burning Times just a little bit sooner.

  7. I don’t know how any conservative can remain neutral or on the fence with Ted Cruz still in the race. He’s the only one (still) running whose instincts align with the Constitution and Federalism and who is likely to actually drag Congress rightward.


  8. Easy, my primary isn’t until the 15th and I have to wargame out possible outcomes.
    See my previous posts on the issue of voting.

    Furthermore, any conservate’s #1 goal (IMHO) at this point should be defeating Trump. Cruz is sorta the stretch goal.

  9. Byron York is hammering away on Twitter today. He appears to be a Cruz supporter based on the stuff he’s tweeting about Rubio’s immigration plan, as well as the things he’s saying about Super Tuesday.

    See this:

    Cruz can win, unless people talk themselves out of bothering to vote because of polling data or decide it’s more important to “vote with the winner” (predicted by polls) instead of voting for the best-available conservative.

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