(Ashland, Kentucky) – We are on the Presidential campaign trail again this weekend in Kentucky. The Bluegrass State is one of five holding weekend primaries or caucuses. The others are Kansas, Louisiana, Maine and Nebraska. Let’s “brunch” on that this week:
BREAKING NEWS at 10:45 p.m., EST: Donald Trump wins the Kentucky Caucuses with 36% of the vote over Ted Cruz at 32%; Marco Rubio with 16%; and John Kasich at 14%.
“The Final Four” – Dr. Ben Carson dropped out, so it’s now down to the final four: Donald Trump, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Governor John Kasich (R-OH).
“Minnesota for Marco” – Rubio finally won a primary, capturing the contest in Minnesota on Super Tuesday. He was probably as surprised as anyone, as he had focused his efforts and hopes on Virginia, where he finished a competitive second place. Still, his win in Minnesota made me chuckle as I recalled the movie “Fargo,” which was filmed there. It made me wonder If they made a sequel, “Fargo 2,” would Rubio be stuffing Donald Trump in the wood chipper at the end? (Rent the movie, if you missed the joke!) Anyway, if Rubio loses Florida on March 15, his campaign is over.
“Trump vs. Romney” – The weird event of the week was Mitt Romney's delivering a blistering attack on Donald Trump, and then Trump's returning the remarks in kind. Are average voters really interested in two extremely rich white guys carping at each other? My guess is that they aren’t. And, as with all seemingly bad news regarding the Trump campaign, his poll numbers will probably rise on the Romney attacks. Trump – for now – continues to defy gravity. The whole Romney vs. Trump feud is an odd waste of time.
“Cruz Still Alive” – Cruz won Texas, Oklahoma and Alaska, so he is still very much alive. The problem for him is that few leaders in his own party like him. In the end, the Republican establishment is now asking itself, “Whom do we like less?” The answer – to one of the oddest political questions I’ve ever heard – is "Cruz." If Rubio drops out, will he toss his support to Cruz? Maybe, perhaps because of the nasty Trump-Rubio feud. Rubio, while no fan of Cruz either, would love to torpedo Trump.
“Kasich Kentucky” – Kasich must do well in Kentucky and in Michigan on March 8, and he must win in his home state of Ohio on March 15; otherwise, he’s toast. But he is still viable as the Vice Presidential running mate - whether he’ll be paired with Trump, Cruz, or Rubio - and any of the three would likely welcome him. Again, the Republican Party only wins the White House when it carries Ohio. Right now in Kentucky, though, Kasich is polling in last place, with just six percent of the vote in his neighboring state.
“Cross-Eyed Christie” – The other odd event this week was Chris Christie's introducing Trump’s victory press conference in Palm Beach, Florida. Trump’s people made a smart move, putting him on stage with all of those flags behind him. Honestly, he looked Presidential. But Christie stood in the background the whole time, fidgeting, with his eyes alternately twitching or staring glaringly at Trump. Christie's demeanor made me - as a viewer - uncomfortable at times and amused me at others. Why didn’t he just sit down? Look for this as a "Saturday Night Live" skit soon!
“Sanders Sails” – Bernie Sanders made a good run for it, but is about to fade. Sadly for him, he missed by just one state. For weeks, I said he must win Vermont, Colorado, Minnesota, and Massachusetts on Super Tuesday. He nailed the first three, but missed on the big prize in the Bay State. He needed Massachusetts as a viable route to take out Clinton, and he missed.
“Clinton” – Hillary Clinton had a strong Super Tuesday and is on a glide path to the nomination. The five crucial states on March 15 – Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, Missouri and Ohio - should all be strong for Clinton. She still won’t have the requisite delegate total for the nomination; but she’ll be so far ahead that only scandal could stop her. Still, I think Biden is looking for a wedge to get into the race.
“Why All of This Matters” – Right now, it’s all about momentum, viability and inevitability. That’s why this past week Ben Carson said he saw “no path forward” for his campaign. The time is nearing for all candidates to “know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em.” For most, the magic date is March 15.
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Photo courtesy: cbs.com