At least this time when she walks away with more delegates than Weekend Bernie, she'll have actually kinda-sorta earned them.
But it will not have been by much. After losing by a razor-thin margin in Iowa (but for six magic precinct coin-flips) and getting curb-stomped in New Hampshire, the Empress barely eked out a five point win in the Nevada Caucuses. So I guess that technically means that her "western firewall" held, but not without massive dents and holes and rips in it.
Case in point:
[T]he Nevada caucus results once again highlight several her weaknesses. Even though she dominated among black voters, she lost Hispanics to Sanders, which shows that her support among Democrats of color is not monolithic. She got pummeled among voters under forty-five for the third time, and again got crushed on the metrics of caring and trustworthiness.
So the only thing that saved the old puffgut yesterday was the black vote. She lost every other demographic, either by a little or by a lot. That augers good things for her in hugely African-American South Carolina next weekend, but overall still signals her eventual doom.
As for Palmettogeddon, another third of the Republican electorate that cast ballots did so for a New York, pro-amnesty, pro-tax hike, pro-wealth-confiscation, pro-protectionist, pro-Planned Parenthood, pro-socialized single-payer healthcare, pro-ObamaCare Individual Mandate, anti-war, conspiracist-kook liberal Democrat. In the name of "shaking up the 'establishment'" that has already mostly sold their souls to him.
Nelson Rockefeller just jizzed in his grave.
Just as Marco Rubio face-planted in New Hampshire, Ted Cruz at least underperformed in evangelical-rich South Carolina, although, for what it's worth, he exceeded his polling average going into yesterday. Rubes bounced back to grab the "silver medal" which has no delegates attached to it, begging the question of for what the Florida and Texas senators were "battling". But then that last sentence is symptomatic of the overall problem. Donald Trump has been able to dominate the Republican race thus far (Iowa excepted) because the "not-Trump" vote - which is, as easy as it is to forget this, a supermajority of the GOP electorate - has been ludicrously fragmented among a thundering herd of Pachyderms that refuse to get out of the way of the one or two who actually have a chance to stop him. And so onward Trumpageddon has steamrolled, his 25%-30% more than enough to scoop up all the metaphorical chips in, now, two out of three "hands".
The good news is that Jeb! has finally called it quits....
....which will probably help Rubio, who will no longer have the Bush III Death Star trying to make Alderaan of him. But there were no acknowledgements of or concessions to reality from Ben Carson or John Kasich, who appear obstinately bound and determined to keep their book tour and Griswold-esque vacation, respectively, coughing and sputtering and backfiring onward to Nevada, Super Tuesday and beyond. Thus, while the field is all the way down to five, we've already passed the point where it can't withstand even three and still retain a realistic chance of averting La Clinton Nostra's takeover of our party.
So let's pretend that the Doc and the dick came to their senses and followed Dubya's kid brother's belatedly good example, and all that were left in the "not-Trump" camp were Cruz and Rubio. Are not both of them now seriously damaged? Largely at each other's hands? As a result of the same suicidal dynamic of the "not-Trumps" for the past eight months of focusing all their ammunition on each other in order to emerge as the lone Trump challenger instead of actually challenging Trump? Yes, I know that I've long argued that the best way to handle Trump is to ignore him, but that was in a tactical sense - denying him media oxygen by not taking the bait of and getting drawn into his emblematic public slap fights and pissing matches. That was not counsel to not attacking him on the issue substance of his many hard-left stances, his incompetence as a businessman and manager, and his utter dearth of character, integrity, and honesty as borne out, among many, many other things, by all his transparently Romneyesque flip-flopping.
Senator Cruz did an outstanding job of this, but his ass was being chewed by Rubio, seemingly on Trump's behalf, using Trump's (and Carson's) tactics, and definitely to the benefit of nobody but Trump. What did Rubio get out of it? A symbolic "silver medal," ten points behind Trump, and no delegates. Meanwhile Cruz, who could have gone up 2-1 on Hairboy with the field cleared, was dragged down to Rubio's level while their common foe soared to victory, unfettered and unimpeded.
The truth is, Cruz and Rubio finishing in a virtual tie for second is arguably the worst possible result from a strategic standpoint, because in order to able to stop Trump at all, much less in time (if the bandwagon effect hasn't already started to kick in), one or the other needed to break out last night. Instead, they're neck and neck, which means that they'll spend every second between now and March 1st pounding each other with sledgehammers while the twenty-first century Al Czervik cruises bawdily on.
The GOP is already foundering even without Trump's anchor demolishing its keel. That will come, the way things are headed, on March 15th, when the winner-take-all bouts resume. The "SEC primary" is all proportional (and a few "unbound") contests worth (counting Nevada this Tuesday and assorted others in the first half of March) 1,047 delegates, or almost half of the overall total. Which means that Rubio or Cruz need to pile up substantial victories in those contests in order to build a substantial delegate lead as a buffer against the winner-take-all contests that follow. This cannot happen if both of them remain in the race. The only outcome of that is their continuing to suck Trump's fumes and eat his dust.
So which freshman senator should take his leave? Erick Erickson says Cruz. He's probably right about that. Too bad Texas's 155 delegates make that impossible. And if Cruz loses Texas to Trump on March 1st and Rubio loses Florida to Trump on March 15th?
The conservative movement may have three weeks to live, my friends. Better start making the funeral arrangements now, while there's still time.
UPDATE: Trump follows Saul Alinsky as zealously as The One himself.