We lost Rubio, and that was a real big loss. I expect him to run for governor of Florida and be back with more executive experience, a bit more gravitas, and a substantial amount of seasoning from the experience of running this year. We will be hearing a great deal from Marco Rubio in the future, maybe even in a race to be Hillary's opponent in her re-election campaign should Trump or Cruz win the nomination and thus make her election this year inevitable.
I can swallow Kasich, but I'm not happy about the way he's run away from his positions on marriage and abortion. Still, I like him personally, his record is solidly conservative, and I would definitely trust him to appoint the kind of people to the Supreme Court who need to be appointed to it in the next four years if the Constitution is going to be saved.
But first he has to get there, and that's the rub. He's the only candidate left in the race whose supporters don't scare me- and the only one left who has any real chance of beating Hillary Clinton int he fall. But Donald Trump has 621 delegates- more than half the number he needs for the nomination- and Ted Cruz has 396. Some of Marco Rubio's 168 delegates are bound by law to vote for him at Cleveland, at least on the first ballot or two. Others aren't.
But Kasich himself only has 138 delegates. That situation may improve if, as I anticipate, he inherits some of Rubio's supporters. But some of them will go to Cruz, too, and even to Trump. In any event, in future primaries and caucuses, he'll be the only game in town for those not enamoured of Il Duce or King Ted. He'll grab a bigger share of the delegates henceforth; how big a share remains to be seen.
Now, it should be said that Kasich's strategy all along was to be in more or less the position he's in tonight. He'll go into the convention with the third most delegates, and depending on the relative delegate totals at that point for each candidate could be well-situated to pick up the pieces should Trump and Cruz both fall short.
The problem is that I don't think both of them will. The scenario I see playing out is either Trump coming into the convention with barely enough delegates to win the nomination, or being close enough that it won't make any difference, or Cruz establishing himself as the anti-Trump and coming into the convention with somewhere close to the number of delegates The Donald has. If the later is the case, anything could happen, but there will be an impulse at first for delegates to switch to Cruz in order to block Trump. So a great deal will depend on how close to a majority Cruz is. While I will continue to root for an open convention and either Kasich or, even better, a dark horse nominee, my instincts tell me that Charles Krauthammer's analysis is right on target: that tonight we learned that the Republican nominee will be either Trump or Cruz.
Which almost certainly means that Hillary Clinton will be the 45th President of the United States.A grim prospect, to be sure. But I just can't see Cruz- and certainly not Trump- beating her. Oh, the Chris Christies and the Ben Carsons will continue to come over to Trump's side. A great many people who say that they will never support Trump in the end will, if only to beat Hillary.
But I don't see any way Trump can win over enough of them to be competitive, especially given the degree to which he turns off the independents.
Cruz is just not an attractive candidate. Lots of people in the coming weeks and months will do what Lindsey Graham, for example, has already done: swallow their dislike of the man and support him for the sake of stopping Trump. But as repulsive as Hillary Clinton is to a lot of voters, and as much as Republican voter anger has fed his campaign (as well as Trump's) during the primaries, when the general election campaign begins he's going to be Mr. Shut Down the Government, the living symbol of the non-cooperation and partisan bickering which has generated a similar kind of anger among the independents. And I don't even want to think about what's going to happen when the Democratic attack machine gets ahold of this Dominionism business.
I have to make allowances for the fact that I'm tired and a bit depressed tonight about Florida and Marco Rubio's fate, even though for at least the past few days I've been expecting it. But I'm having a hard time being real optimistic tonight. Yes, Kasich's win in Ohio slowed Trump down some. Yes, the upside of Rubio's withdrawal is that there is only one candidate available for voters who want to win as opposed to expressing their anger or their ideological purity. Maybe things will yet work out. Maybe Trump can be stopped, and without Cruz doing well enough to himself become a threat.
Maybe the convention will turn out all right after all, and a second Clinton presidency can be avoided. We can hope. We can pray. We can take comfort from Sen. Rubio's observation tonight that God is still in control.
But right now, I think the most constructive thing any of us can do is go to bed.