In theory, Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz could yet defeat Donald Trump and secure the GOP nomination — even after Trump’seight-state win in the 12-state Super Tuesday primary. But as the conniving hero of the great Broadway comedy “The Man Who Came to Dinner” put it, they each have about 14 minutes to pull out of their hats the goddamndest rabbit you’ve ever seen.
Cruz, who beat Trump in two states, might hone his message, find his footing, and make his move.
Marco Rubio won Minnesota and surged in Virginia, losing by three points when he was projected to lose by 14. He might succeed in staging a similar surge in his home state of Florida in two weeks — where he has guaranteed a win — and gain momentum as the GOP hits winner-take-all states with more of the kinds of voters who like Rubio.
Yes, in theory, Trump can lose.
But we don’t live in Theory World. In the real world, Trump is going to win without an extraordinary change in the race’s trajectory that seems unlikely, to put it mildly.
He’s led this race since he entered it and he’s never surrendered the lead. That’s the truth, and the truth really hurts for conservatives who find his candidacy an ideological, moral and political calamity.
After coming in first place in at least 11 of 15 states, Trump is on track to win the most states, have the most delegates and secure by far the largest number of votes before the GOP convention in Cleveland in July.
It’s also the truth that Trump is not as strong as he pretends to be. In only two of the states he won last night did he surge well past 40 percent. Across all 12 states, he won about 36 percent of the vote, which is where he was in New Hampshire — and 10 points below the Nevada caucuses he won last week.