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Presidential Horse Race 2016: Super-Duper Tuesday reveals we’re (almost) all crazy now

The results of “Super-Duper” Tuesday are in and it turned out to be a mostly good day for Donald Trump.

Trump absolutely stomped Marco Rubio into the ground in Florida, with the political neophyte New Yorker besting the one-term Florida senator by almost nineteen points in The Sunshine State. Ted Cruz took third-place there with a little over seventeen percent, so Rubio can’t exactly argue Cruz’s presence cost him a Donald Trumpwin on his home turf.

The two of them combined couldn’t match Trump’s total.

Elsewhere, John Kasich notched his first win in his home state of Ohio, topping The Donald by over eleven points in The Buckeye State. Somewhat predictably, during his victory speech, Kasich vowed to go all the way to Cleveland to accept the Republican nomination for president. The only problem with his analysis is he was mathematically eliminated on Tuesday night.

Even if Kasich wins every single delegate from here to the convention, he wouldn’t have enough to secure the nomination on the first ballot.

Everyone knows to be in politics requires a certain amount of detachment from reality, but this is crazy, folks.

Trump won pluralities in the other three states to vote on Tuesday as well, besting Ted Cruz by eight points in Illinois, three in North Carolina and a fraction of a point in Missouri (.2% or a little less than 2000 votes).

Delegate counts aren’t all in yet for the day, but Trump will have at least a 220 delegate margin heading into the second half of the Republican calendar. He’s more than halfway home in the Republican race, leaving a lot of people just scratching their heads in disbelief.

Trump, Rubio and Kasich are delusional. Ted Cruz is a realist

Donald Trump’s victory speech on Tuesday night was reasonably short and basically just a restatement of the address he’s given the previous two weeks, minus the gracious comments for the winners in other states.

For example, Trump didn’t congratulate Kasich for crushing him in Ohio, a state that demographically should be right in The Donald’s wheelhouse. He did say a few nice words about Marco Rubio in passing, but mostly in the context of joking about all the negative ads that have been hitting him in recent weeks.

Trump didn’t even mention Ted Cruz, who once again over-performed polls in North Carolina, Illinois and Missouri to take delegates that Trump was counting on to make it a complete blowout on Tuesday.

The Republican frontrunner also went out of his way to thank campaign manager Corey Lewandowski during his remarks, all-but thumbing his nose to those who honor respect and decency in politics and culture (more on this below).

It was yet another example of Trump insinuating he and his people are above reproach, legally, ethically or morally speaking. As long as he has the popular votes, Trump thinks he can do anything.

Meanwhile, Marco Rubio delivered a very upbeat “I’m quitting” speech, neglecting to discuss, of course, that he stayed in the race two weeks longer than he should have and by doing so, could have essentially handed the nomination to Trump.

Rubio didn’t talk about how he’d virtually guaranteed that he’d win in Florida either. But that might have indicated he wasn’t nuts if he’d admitted it in front of everyone.

As is always the case when these things happen, the pundits weren’t about to kick Rubio on the night he capitulated, with all of them nicely stating that Marco has a very promising political career ahead of him. But is that really true?

In addition to exposing himself as a semi-robotic talking-point machine throughout the campaign, Rubio couldn’t even keep his campaign strategy straight in the past month. For so long he wouldn’t talk about Trump at all, then started insulting him at every opportunity, and finally reverted back to his “nice guy” Marco persona for the final week of the campaign.

Rubio has a lot of work to do in repairing his political profile. After this year he’ll no longer be in the Senate, so at the very least he’ll need a new job where he can begin mending the damage he’s done to his reputation. Marco can probably start by actually standing up for what he says he believes in.

Keeping all of this in mind, John Kasich may be the furthest detached from reality. True, he did win in Ohio as he said he would do all along. But he hasn’t won anywhere else and it’s highly doubtful the little bit of momentum he’ll generate from his home state triumph will translate into enough of a surge to oust Cruz as the not-Trump alternative.

And even if that unlikely scenario would happen, there’s no mathematical way he can win enough delegates to be nominated.

It is clear Kasich is now running to be Donald Trump’s vice president. But by staying in the race, he’s ticking off just about everyone who doesn’t support him or The Donald personally and is paying attention to what’s going on.

Lastly, Ted Cruz made the best out of his somewhat disappointing night while addressing his supporters from campaign headquarters in Houston. Cruz reiterated that it was down to a two-man race and would continue fighting for the issues he’s been championing all along.

It will be very interesting to see how Ted does next week in Utah and Arizona, as well as how he’ll handle the Marco Rubio-less debate on Monday night. Will he go after Kasich now?

The only thing we know for certain after Tuesday is it looks like the race will continue on for a couple more months at the very least. There are still many questions left to be answered in this craziest of all Republican nomination cycles.

Trump’s victories mask internal trouble at his campaign – for now

One behind-the-scenes scandal had little or no bearing on Tuesday’s outcomes, but that doesn’t mean it won’t keep rising to the surface and eventually impact the current Republican frontrunner.

I’m speaking of the incident where Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, allegedly grabbed (the legal term is assaulted) former Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields last Tuesday night after Trump’s press conference in Miami. Fields was in the process of asking Trump a question as he was walking out of the room only to be violently tugged out of the way by Lewandowski, who had jerked her arm.

Fields has pictures of bruises to prove it along with the corroboration of a Washington Post reporter and some video and audio evidence as well.

Lewandowski later admitted that he’d done it, saying he had mistaken Fields for a different reporter at the time.

He subsequently denied doing anything to Fields and began a Twitter smear campaign against her, claiming she was basically just a proven liar and glory seeker.

Trump himself denied anything occurred when asked about the incident after last Thursday night’s debate.

Fields ended up filing a criminal complaint against Lewandowski and resigned from Breitbart when the publication refused to publicly support her. Breitbart is very much in Trump’s corner, so it’s not surprising.

End of story? Hardly. It turns out Lewandowski has a long history of temper issues and inappropriate behavior towards women.

Kenneth P. Vogel, Ben Schreckinger and Hadas Gold of Politico report, “[A] POLITICO investigation reveals that the incident was far from the first time in Lewandowski’s political career ― or even during the 2016 campaign ― that the intense, Red Bull-chugging operative has been accused of bullying and other inappropriate behavior.

“In interviews with more than 20 sources who have dealt with Lewandowski during his nearly year-long tenure with the Trump campaign and in his previous job with the Koch brothers-backed advocacy group Americans for Prosperity, complaints emerged about Lewandowski being rough with reporters and sexually suggestive with female journalists, while profanely berating conservative officials and co-workers he deemed to be challenging his authority.”

Former Trump advisor and longtime friend Roger Stone even said the Lewandowski scandal court hurt The Donald’s candidacy. Whereas Trump’s many and varied comments have failed to make a dent in his popularity, the fact he surrounds himself with volatile and protective thugs doesn’t bode well for his promise to work with “great people” to solve the country’s problems.

It certainly doesn’t look like Lewandowski is a “great person,” does it?

Of course, this might not be so potentially damaging against Trump himself if he didn’t have his own checkered past with women to deal with.

Steve Berman of The Resurgent reports, “Our Principles PAC has an absolutely devastating new ad out, which is brilliant in its simplicity.

“It’s one thing to use Donald Trump’s own words against him. It jumps to another level when Trump’s own words about women are read by women.”

Click the link to see the ad. The minute-long presentation shows women speaking to the camera using Trump’s own words to make their point.

Again, Our Principles PAC was set up by Trump’s political opponents to bring him down. But there’s no denying his own words – and it’s only a small taste of what we’re going to see in the fall when the Clinton machine gets ahold of him.

By the time they’re done, Trump’s approval rating with women will hit historic lows.

Coupled together with something like the Lewandowski scandal you’ve got a mounting stack of potential weapons to use against Trump.

Taken as a whole, it won’t be making “America Great Again” when Trump is brought down by himself and his own people. Far from it.

Don’t blame Trump supporters for the candidate’s personal flaws

Always when discussing anything potentially damaging to Trump, you have to look at his supporters and why they’re so solidly behind him.

From the “early” days last summer, Trump’s hard charging, take-no-prisoners style has drawn a host of critics, but also an army of devoted backers. Because of their unflappable dedication to Trump, the media has often taken to labeling them as racists, xenophobic, etc…

One of Trump’s former competitors thinks it’s a mistake to label Trump supporters – or any group – as belonging to one particular motivational credo.

Al Weaver of the Washington Examiner reports, “Fiorina, who recently endorsed Sen. Ted Cruz, said that while it's easy to lump them together under certain terms and label them, it’s ‘always a mistake’ to do so…

“’It is really easy to paint all of Trump's supporters with a big, wide brush. Just like it's really easy to paint other groups with a big, wide brush, and it's always a mistake,’ Fiorina said. ‘I know some Trump voters, and they're not xenophobic, and they're not racists, and they're not backwoods. Now I happen to profoundly disagree with them.’”

I agree with Fiorina. The people I know who support Trump aren’t secretly hiding Nazi flags in their basements or longing for the old days of Jim Crow.

They’re concerned citizens, just like the rest of us. They’re drawn to Trump because they see him (mistakenly, in my opinion) as a strong leader who will utterly destroy the Washington establishment, spurning political correctness and the pleasantries of accepted deportment along the way.

Fiorina went on to say the best way to approach Trump is to continue to challenge him on who he is, something that Ted Cruz has been doing successfully for months now.

Marco Rubio tried to get down into the mud with Trump by slinging personal insults at The Donald and look what it got him? A ticket out of the race.

Many conservatives are revolted by Trump and are therefore dismissive of the people who support him. There’s no need to be. Carly Fiorina is right: conservatives can dislike Trump’s candidacy and still accept parts of his message.

Time will tell if it will even be possible.

Summing it up – Why give The Donald the big job?

As I was watching Donald Trump give his usual “I’m the best” speech on Tuesday night, the thought occurred to me that he’s 69 years-old and has never held political office before.

So…Donald, if you’re so intent on fixing the world, why did it take you so long to finally get involved in politics? And, what makes you think you can walk in from the sidelines and just take over the top political job in the world without ever having had to make a decision that didn’t involve your own personal interests?

Couldn’t Trump have run for governor of New York first? Or even Mayor of New York City?

Trump’s admittedly dealt with all sorts of entities (political, legal or otherwise) in his business dealings, but how does that translate to keeping his promise to “make great deals” for Americans under our constitutional system?

The pundits talked a lot about the difference between ideology and populism on Tuesday night, correctly stating that just because you’re a populist doesn’t make you a conservative.

Donald Trump claims he’s a “common sense” conservative. But I think that basically equals a man with an enormous ego who surrounds himself with yes-men who stoke his own sense of self-empowerment.

In other words, he’s essentially the same as Barack Obama, but with a slightly different fan base.

There’s still time to rally around a real constitutionally based candidate in 2016, but a lot has to happen in the next couple months to make sure he’s nominated.

Let’s get to work, conservatives.

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