My political punditry might be a little off the mark, but I continue to be amazed at the coverage surrounding the candidacy of Donald Trump. Here is some fairly typical rhetoric from CNN (not exactly a rightwing outlet):
Donald Trump did more than win his second easy victory in consecutive presidential primaries in South Carolina on Saturday.
He advanced his takeover of the Republican Party. He proved that he can dominate a race in the Deep South. He vanquished the dynasty that ruled the GOP establishment for decades as Jeb Bush dropped his White House bid.
And in the process, Trump left no doubt that he is the GOP’s national front-runner and has the most credible path to capture the party’s nomination.
Wow, Trump is taking over the Republican party! Just one problem, it seems to me, the numbers just don’t add up. So far, in three contests, Trump has not cracked more than one third of the Republican vote. And while an earlier CNN headline touted Trump’s “momentum,” the numbers don’t show that either.
In Iowa, Trump got 24% of the vote, he improved to almost 36% of the vote in New Hampshire, then fell back to 32% in South Carolina. Not what I would call progress.
In South Carolina the combined Rubio/Cruz vote (Cruzio) was 10 points more than Trump. And it seems that they are splitting pretty similar voters. It is very unclear who voters will move to as candidates drop out, but I think it is pretty clear that those who voted for Jeb Bush will not be voting for Trump any time soon. The feeling over at the 538 blog is that if the primaries continue with 3 or more candidates, Trump cruises to the nomination.
Which would be great for Democrats. Imagine a nominee that only appeals to one third of Republicans. NPR says that Trump is the one bringing record turnout to the primaries. If so, he must be bringing out as many people to vote against him as to vote for him. Logic would tell you that if he were bringing significant numbers of new Republican voters that he would break or at least come close to the 50% mark. He has not even been close.
Personally, I will not be at all impressed with Trump’s electoral strength until he breaks 50%. And I don’t see that happening any time soon.