Saturday, February 20, 2016

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: More Results; No Decisions

The results from the Democratic Nevada caucus and the
Republican South Carolina primary did not provide any big
surprises, but they also did not provide the winners with any
big boosts.

In Nevada, Hillary Clinton won a narrow victory in a caucus
that only brought out a small percentage of those eligible
to vote, as is the case in all caucuses. The caucus vote was also
reported to be down one-third from 2008, the last time the event
was competitive. Not only that, exit polls indicated Mrs. Clinton
lost voters who valued “honesty” and “trustworthiness” by an
astonishing 9-1.That Mr. Sanders and his late-surging campaign
came as close as he did to beat Mrs. Clinton can only strengthen
his surging campaign as the contest heads toward Super Tuesday
on March 1. Mrs. Clinton is also expected to win the Democratic
South Carolina primary next week. She remains the frontrunner,
but her lackluster performance and the Nevada exit polls will
continue to provide profound concern for her party and its leaders.

In South Carolina, Donald Trump won but his margin was not quite
as large as expected. Marco Rubio came in second; Ted Cruz, a less-
than-expected third, Jeb Bush, John Kasich and Ben Carson trailed
in single digits. Mr. Bush has now retired from the race. Mr. Kasich
perhaps remains a while longer. Mr. Cruz probably remains in the
race indefinitely. Dr. Carson stays in perhaps until his resources
run out. Barring the unforeseen, however, Marco Rubio is now the
candidate of the Republican mainstream grass roots. As such, he
will again be a prime target of his rivals. Governor Christie might
have done Mr. Rubio a favor before New Hampshire by preparing
him then for what is to come now.

Next week, it will be the Republicans’ turn in Nevada, and the
Democrats’ turn in South Carolina, but the main drama now shifts
to the March 1 Super Tuesday primaries and caucuses, 13 of them.

The Democratic contest remains muddied; the Republican race has
been made clearer, but its outcome is not yet assured.

Copyright (c) by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.

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