On the surface, Trump won big last night. But then he should have, because it was a "home game" for him....:
I know this will come as a shock to many NRO readers, but a State built on glitz and legalized casino gambling, a State where prostitution is legal in several counties and one where one of the candidates who exemplifies the aforementioned characteristics has his name on the tallest residential building, isn’t necessarily the State that is likely to be an electoral stronghold for family-values Republicans or traditional conservatives — for frankly anyone not named Donald J. Trump. [emphasis added]
....which is why I'm not according a whole lot of significance to his breaking the forty percent barrier - yet. If there was any State where he would do so outside of New York and New Jersey, Nevada is most definitely it.
It was, in other words, "holding serve" - quite possibly very illictly:
Chaos was reported at several Nevada caucus sites on Tuesday, with unofficial reports of double voting, disorganization, failure to check IDs and caucus volunteers wearing gear supporting Donald Trump.
A Republican Party official was quoted by journalist Jon Ralston as saying, "Obviously we take reports of double voting very seriously and we will be reviewing the ballots."...
Fox News Channel's Alicia Acunia told The Kelly File the situation at the caucus site she was reporting from was so disorganized that "as we were prepping for our live shot with you, we had so many people coming up to us trying to give us their ballots."
At least some ballots still had names of candidates who are no longer in the race. One tweet showed 11 names on a ballot. Only five GOP candidates remain.
There also were reports of campaign volunteers – some who were helping hand count the ballots – wearing Trump hats, T-shirts and buttons.
All of this, and yet it was Trump who was crying foul about "dirty tricks":
Trump had told supporters in Sparks, Nevada Tuesday afternoon to be on the lookout for "dirty tricks" at caucus sites.
Was this "chaos" and "One Trumplican, multiple votes" and other shenanigans a case of The Donald stealing Nevada or running up the score? I'll leave that to you to decide for yourselves. But it sure stinks to high heaven to me, and a harbinger of what's to come if he somehow actually does make it to the White House. Next week's "SEC primary" will truly tell the tale.
And if we want that tale to be the one we want to hear, anti-Trumplicans are going to have to put their Cruz or Rubio affiliations aside and start thinking strategically:
For President of the United States, I endorse Ted Cruz.
And Marco Rubio.
In fact, I think you should look at your polling in your State and see who is closest to Trump. Then, I don’t care whether you prefer the third place guy, cast your vote for the second place guy.
If Cruz and Rubio are too immature to stop fighting each other to attack Trump, we should force them.....
The goal must be to first stop Trump.
Then we can hash it out between ourselves.
But we first have to end Trump’s candidacy and that means rallying to whoever is in second place behind him, making sure that person comes in first place overwhelmingly. Hold your nose if you have to, but stop Trump. [emphasis added]
This strategy would have worked even last night in the "Battle-Born" State - barely. It would definitely have been successful in South Carolina last Saturday, though not in New Hampshire the week before that. Going forward, according to the latest local surveys, it would stop Trump in Georgia, Texas, Oklahoma, and the rest of the "SEC primary" a week from now, perhaps motivating the billionaire slumlord to buy off John Kasich to secure Ohio on March 15th to counter a grassroots Rubio-Cruz tag-team denying him Florida the same day. It would probably be successful everywhere outside Trump's northeast stronghold.
This would lead, of course, to a brokered convention with no candidate having enough delegates to win on the first ballot. Not the outcome either freshman Latino senator is seeking, certainly, but at this point neither Cruz nor Rubio have a realistic path to the Republican nomination (because neither will get out of the other's way), and The Donald has an eight-lane freeway in front of him. If Cruz and Rubio are the "true conservatives" and Reagan disciples that they claim to be, they will put aside their petty differences and realize that this is a battle for the survival of conservatism itself by retaining the GOP as the national vehicle for everything we believe in, and in light of those stakes, "take one for the team," even if it means the "Washington cartel" sticks us with Mitt Romney for a third time.
Because this is what is trying to hostiley take us over (via today's Morning Jolt):
Things that make you say “hmmm” . . .
“Hmmm,” part one:
Donald Trump, the Republican presidential front-runner, isn’t happy that a member of the prominent Ricketts family has bankrolled an effort to thwart his campaign. And he took to Twitter on Monday to warn the Chicago Cubs owners to “be careful.”
The family is “secretly spending $’s against me,” Trump wrote. “They better be careful, they have a lot to hide!”
As we’ve seen during the Obama years, the Internal Revenue Service can be particularly diligent in reviewing and auditing the tax and financial paperwork of critics of the president.
“Hmmm,” part two:
GOP strategist Liz Mair, whose anti-Trump Make America Awesome super PAC has raised all of $10,000 since it was created in December, said major donors are shying away from her group partly because they are scared of incurring Trump’s wrath. He has already threatened legal action against conservative groups that have advertised against him, including the Club for Growth (which, he alleged in a Tuesday tweet “came to my office seeking $1 million dollars. I told them no and now they are doing negative ads), and has called out conservative billionaires who he unsuccessfully courted (including the Koch brothers, Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and New York hedge fund titan Paul Singer).
“We would totally donate to you if we could do it anonymously; we’re worried about Trump taking reprisals against us for donating to this,” Mair said, parroting reactions she’s heard from donors. “Suffice to say, there are a lot of people out there who want to stop Trump and are willing to donate to do it,” she said. “They’re just the rank and file of the base, not the establishment donors.”
If you think Trump would be a president who would use the apparatus of the state to target and punish his critics, I would think you would want to pull out all the stops to prevent him from reaching the Oval Office, not keep your head down and hope for the best.
“Hmmm,” part three:
“I’d like to punch him in the face,” Trump said, remarking that a man disrupting his rally was escorted out with a smile on his face. “He’s smiling, having a good time.”
Trump claimed the protester was “nasty as hell” and accused the man of trying to punch the security officers forcing him out of the rally, though the man did not appear to be fighting off those officers.
“In the old days,” Trump added, protesters would be “carried out on stretchers.”
“We’re not allowed to push back anymore,” Trump said.
At this point, in a Twitter poll [Jim Geraghty] set up, 14% of the eight hundred respondents say they would trust President Trump with unilateral authority to deport American citizens where he chooses.
“Jim, that doesn’t even make sense. The president -- heck, the federal government -- doesn’t have the authority to deport American citizens to other countries!”
That’s my point. [emphases mine]
Like Hancock said to his fellow convicts who were insanely trying to bully him.....
Take a good look, Trumplicans, because that is what's in store for all of us if you make this nightmare come true.
UPDATE: Rubio is stone-cold deaf, isn't he?
UPDATE II: Aaaaaaaaand ditto Cruz.