03 May 2016

Cruz and Trump Go Wild In Indiana

UPDATE TWO: Trump looks like he will win all 57 delegates from Indiana.  If he matches expert expectations everywhere but California, he needs only 99 out of 172 delegates in California (which is mixed winner take all at the state and congressional district level, where he has a commanding lead in the polls over Cruz and Kaisch).  This race is Trump's to lose and again, if he is just a handful of delegates short, a few of the small number of the 146 uncommitted delegates will probably make up the difference in the first round vote.  (The Indiana vote will be 50-50 Clinton-Sanders but the winner doesn't matter, Sanders needed 60% or so to even stay on track.)

We will almost surely be seeing a Clinton-Trump general election, in which Clinton is currently strongly favored to win (by about four standard deviations in the current general election polls; 6.2 percentage points with the total 5,825 person sample of the polls contributing to that result providing a 1.28 point margin of error).

UPDATE: Trump wins big in Indiana.  CNN has called Indiana for Trump with a lead of 20 percentage points over Cruz in early returns.  The Congressional District results that determine a fair share of the 57 delegates from Indiana aren't available yet, but Trump will get at least 33 delegates from Indiana and realistically, will get almost all of the delegates because one part of Indiana isn't that different from another and Trump's margin over Cruz is just that big. Exit polls show Trump leading in every region of the state.  It is increasingly difficult for Cruz to deny Trump a first round win at the Republican convention in Cleveland.  Trump has has commanding leads in polls in West Virginia, New Jersey, Oregon and California that a win in Indiana will do nothing to blunt. END UPDATE

The grown ups are not in charge in the Republican party this year.

As Ted Cruz and Donald Trump fight a pitched battle for Republican votes in today's Indiana primary election all standards of civility, decency, and any attempt to be reality based have gone out the window in what has become a surreal event.

Cruz is throwing ever insult under the sun at Trump in a barrage of personal attacks, while Trump is trying to link Cruz to the assassination of JFK.
Ted Cruz on Tuesday unloaded on Donald Trump, accusing him during a news conference of being a "pathological liar," "utterly amoral," "a narcissist at a level I don't think this country's ever seen" and "a serial philanderer." . . .

Earlier Tuesday, Trump had criticized Rafael Cruz, calling him "disgraceful" after he urged evangelical voters in Indiana to reject his son's rival. Trump also referenced a report from the tabloid National Enquirer -- without naming the publication -- which alleged that it had identified Rafael Cruz in a photo with Lee Harvey Oswald months prior to the JFK assassination. CNN has not independently confirmed that report -- and there is no evidence that it is true.
In fairness, pretty much all of Ted Cruz's attacks have at least some foundation in reality, while Trump's accusation is delusional and could hurt him in the general election:
Mark Salter, a top aide to 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain, tweeted that he'd back Hillary Clinton over Trump. "The GOP is going to nominate for President a guy who reads the National Enquirer and thinks it's on the level. I'm with her," Salter said.
But, from 50,000 feet, it just looks like an out of control food fight and none of this seems likely to make much of a difference in today's contest.

Early indications are that the Cruz campaign is crumbling because he is turning off too many fiscally conservative, socially moderate Hoosier Republicans.  When Cruz thinks that America needs to criminalize masturbation, it is hard to take him seriously. 

We'll see how it comes out this evening.  If Cruz has choked now, Trump becomes the presumptive nominee for all intents and purposes.

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