Cruz Buzz in the Beehive State
If anyone’s enjoying the wild ride of this election cycle, it’s the two dozen states voting after Super Tuesday. At this point in most presidential primaries, the nominee is a foregone conclusion, giving Americans in these later primary states very little in the way of influence or motivation. In 2016, states like Utah and Arizona, as we saw yesterday, are finally getting a say in a process that is normally dominated by voters in February and early March.
The results from last night make it clear that the GOP is no closer to a nominee, as Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Donald Trump continued their pattern of splitting delegates. Donald ended up with 18 more, thanks to the vivid imagination of Governor John Kasich (R-Ohio), who continues to argue that his campaign (which would need more than 100 percent of the remaining delegates) has a chance. (That argument will be even harder to make after yesterday, when he failed to win a single delegate.)
And while Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) may not be in the race, his presence is painfully felt through the tens of thousands of early votes cast before his exit. As people like Daniel Horowitz point out, “Rubio’s ghost” is still eating into a share of the electorate that would almost certainly go to Cruz. “Early voting is ridiculous and should be abolished,” he argued. “Rubio won 18 percent of early voting in [Arizona’s Maricopa County, and together with other candidates, won roughly 18 percent statewide. Voting in the state not only began before Rubio dropped out, but before the Florida Senator’s presidential campaign collapsed. While Trump’s performance was definitely strong, especially for a closed primary state… the fact that early voting had incorrigibly split the anti-Trump vote made it such that Cruz never fully competed in the state.”
In Utah, Cruz blew out the competition with a 71 percent performance that far exceeded the winner-take-all threshold and allowed him to mop up all 40 delegates. Trump, meanwhile, barely registered in one of the most conservative states on the map, clocking in at 14 percent. With the hotly contested states of North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Colorado on the horizon, this race is far from over. In fact, with most of the early voting baggage in the rearview mirror, it’s increasingly looking like the GOP nominee will be decided in Cleveland. While Kasich continues to be Trump’s best defense against Cruz, his selfish delusion continues to be blasted by Americans who respect the process. “The campaign of John Kasich is a joke, and not a particularly funny one, unless you like humor at the expense of the GOP and conservatism…” writes NRO’s Jeremy Carl. “[W]ith his embarrassing losses in Utah and Arizona yesterday (incredibly, it appears he lost the latter even to Rubio, who has been out of the race for a week now), it is long past time to throw Kasich’s campaign into the ash heap of history.”
In the meantime, the Christian Post is shedding some light on the greatest mystery of 2016: the puzzling “evangelical” backing of Donald Trump. Pew Research is the latest to take a statistical stab at Christians’ supposed support for a man who has stood for, funded and advocated for policies and choices that are antithetical to a true evangelical worldview. Like The Barna Group, Pew found that a majority of these voters aren’t evangelicals at all—but men and women whose faith is not necessarily a defining characteristic of their life, let alone their politics. According to data the group gathered in 2014, 39 percent of these self-identified “evangelical” voters in the GOP don’t believe the Bible is the literal Word of God.
In its report, Pew explained that religious leaders were frustrated with the nature of the question usually asked by exit pollsters: “Would you describe yourself as a born-again or evangelical Christian?” “They argue that this question may be too broad to accurately capture who really is and isn’t an evangelical Protestant.” Even the Washington Postis calling on the polling community to redefine the terms. It’s time, argues Brian Kaylor, to “offer a more detailed, nuanced and accurate look at voters and the roles religion may play in voting preferences.” When you look at regular churchgoers, the vast majority (56 percent) break for Ted Cruz.
DISCLAIMER: Tony Perkins has made an endorsement in his individual and personal capacity only, and it should not be construed or interpreted in any way as the endorsement of FRC, FRC Action, or any affiliated entity.
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