Sunday, February 21, 2016

Reflections on South Carolina and Nevada

There were no upset winners in yesterday's Democratic caucus in Nevada or South Carolina's Republican primary. There were, however, a couple of losers.

One loser was apparent and expected. That would be JEB! All the Establishment money couldn't save him, nor could his little big brother's endorsement. See "Republican voters: WATCH 'Fahrenheit 9/11'!" (WWW 17/2/16) So now JEB! has bid us a tearful farewell. Or has he?! How come no putative candidates quit any more? Why do they just "suspend" their campaigns? Are we to believe that if some horrible accident should befall the Donald (just sayin'), JEB! will rise Lazarus-like from his crypt in Coral Gables?

If you think about it, the big loser in the Republican primary wasn't JEB!, but Ted Cruz. At one point last night he was deadlocked with Marco Rubio, with exactly the same number of votes. In the end, Mr. Rubio squeaked into a distant second place, finishing ahead of TrusTED by just over 1000 votes. Mr. Rubio thus becomes the "moderate" or Establishment alternative to Mr. Trump, leaving Mr. Cruz, errr, nowhere.

Not really a surprise, since he was never going to get many MOR [= Middle Of the Road. Ed.] GOP votes. They hate him. To beat the Donald or even come close, Ted had to get the Tea Party voters, not just the happy-clappy Protestant fundamentalists. Too bad for him that the Tea Partiers hate him too.

Before we leave the Republicans, take a look at the results map appearing in today's Washington Post. The only counties who went for Mr. Rubio were around the state capital and along the coast near Charleston. Mr. Trump swept the rest. Those who think that the media darling SC governor's tearing down of the Southern Cross represented the true feelings of South Carolinians should give their heads a shake!

As for Nevada, Hellery Clinton's cries of victory seemed to me more relief than exultation. CNNPolitics calls her win "decisive", but they would say that, wouldn't they. Walt doesn't call 5.5% decisive, especially when you consider that just a couple of weeks ago her margin was expected to be in the double digits. Entrance and exit polls showed that Madame Clinton was backed by a majority of women, college-educated voters, those with annual incomes over $100,000, moderates, voters aged 45 and older and non-white voters. Bernie Sanders did best with men, voters under 45 and those less affluent and educated.

The once and (she hopes) future First Lady captured the backing of voters who said electability and experience were important. BERNie, however, did best with voters looking for a candidate who is caring and honest. That an aged socialist Jew from New England should come as close as he did in a state like Nevada tells me that Hellerey is far from home and dry. Keep looking over your shoulder, dear. The footsteps behind you aren't just Bill's!

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