The Nevada GOP Caucuses were conducted in an atmosphere of chaos as huge numbers of people who had never before participated in a Republican caucus showed up and overwhelmingly voted for Trump. Ominously for his adversaries, Trump broke through what had been a ceiling for him, one-third, and got 43% of the vote, with Cruz at 23.8% and Rubio at 23.6%. Carson and Kasich brought up the rear with 5.6% and 3.5%. The percentages may change a bit due to the fact that only 37% of the vote has been counted as of writing, but not the result: an overwhelming Trump victory. A week from now, Super Tuesday, Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Virginia go to the polls for both parties and Alaska, North Dakota and Wyoming caucuses for the Republicans. The question of whether Trump can be stopped will likely be answered by the end of that night.
That Trump is an ignorant, vain buffoon with political positions that indicate he is a Democrat matters not at all to his fans who view him as the equivalent of a vote of no confidence in how the country is being run, especially on the issue of illegal immigration. That Trump was until the day before yesterday in favor of amnesty and that he has a history of hiring illegal aliens, is of no consequence to the members of the Trump cult. The chief blame for this ludicrous disaster is the GOP establishment that on a whole host of issues campaigned one way and then in Washington did nothing or supported the opposite of what they said they would support. A party ignoring its base is always a recipe for a debacle and Trump is happy to play his part. One can only hope that enough Republicans ultimately conclude that while their anger is justified, Trump is the wrong vehicle for redress. If not, the Republic is in for a very rough ride whoever wins the Presidency in the fall.
Update: Final tally:
Trump 45.9%, Rubio 23.9%, Cruz 21.4%, Carson 4.8% and Kasich 3.6%.
A roundup of recent political news.
1. Nikki Haley, see the above video, crushed her opponent in the runoff 65-35. She survived bizzare accusations of infidelity, attacks on whether she is a Christian, her parents are Sikh immigrants, and outright racism. She is only 38 years old, her youth being something she has in common with the new generation of conservatives running and winning this year. She has a 20 point lead on her opponent in the general election and is the odds on favorite to win in the fall and be the next governor of South Carolina.
2. Tim Scott handily won his runoff against Paul Thurmond for the Republican nomination for Congress from South Carolina 1. This is a heavily Republican district, so Mr. Scott, who many consider to be the most conservative member of the South Carolina legislature, will now almost certainly be the first black Republican congressman from South Carolina since Reconstruction.
3. The bad news for the Democrats for November just will not stop. Gallup released a poll this week which shows a huge enthusiasm gap in favor of the GOP.
The current average is based on four measures of this enthusiasm question since February, including the recent June 11-13 USA Today/Gallup poll. In that poll, 53% of Republicans said they were more enthusiastic than usual about voting and 39% were less enthusiastic, while 35% of Democrats said they were more enthusiastic about voting and 56% were less enthusiastic.
Republicans’ net score of +14 more enthusiastic in the latest poll compared with the Democrats’ net score of -21 represents the largest relative party advantage Gallup has measured in a single midterm election-year poll. More generally, Republicans have shown a decided relative advantage in enthusiasm throughout 2010, averaging a net score of +28, compared with Democrats’ net score of 0.
(Gallup instituted a separate enthusiasm question in March on its Daily tracking survey, which asks voters to say how enthusiastic they are about voting this year as opposed to comparing their current enthusiasm to their enthusiasm in prior elections. This new enthusiasm question lacks a historical trend but has also shown a consistent Republican advantage throughout the year.)
The 28 percentage-point party difference in net scores on the “more enthusiastic than usual” question in 2010 is the highest Gallup has measured in a midterm election year, with 1994’s 17-point Republican advantage the only other midterm election-year gap coming close. (See the table at the end of the article for full data by party.)