Editors' Blog

Bleeding Them Dry

One of the highlights of this tumultuous night was when Ted Cruz thanked Carly Fiorina for being "an incredible, phenomenal running mate." Of course, Fiorina was never Cruz's running mate. Indeed, she'd only been his fake running mate for less than a week. The moment captured an enduring element of the Republican primary cycle. Donald Trump may have few redeeming skills. But he is a master of the 'dominance politics' of destruction. He not only beats opponents. He lures them into escalating spasms of indignity before delivering the death blow.

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All Done

So there you have it: Donald Trump is the nominee of the Republican party. All the 'nevers', all the outrages, all the everything. All past. It is an amazing night, just the sheer improbability of it all.

I've been saying for months that I thought Trump was all but unstoppable and that the GOP establishment was fooling itself to think they could rob Trump of the nomination in Cleveland. But I will be the first to say that when Trump got in last June it never remotely occurred to me that he could be the Republican nominee. But I will say this: It shouldn't surprise us at all that this happened. The only surprise is that Donald Trump was the one to do it.

As I argued two months ago, Trump's dominance is the product of a slow build up of hate and nonsense debt within the Republican party. At some point it had to come due. And now it has.

BREAKING: Cruz Out

Confirmed by numerous news outlets. Even though he's still talking, Ted Cruz is apparently dropping out after a huge Trump win.

Sanders Might Take This

The vote counters I watch most closely are now saying that it's looking like Sanders can pull out a win here. The big issue seems to be that the early returns were heavily the early vote. But the vote today seems to have tilted heavily in Sanders direction. A lot of vote remains out there. But it doesn't seem like there's enough for Clinton to pull this out.

Still too early to say who wins. But Sanders seems more likely.

Of course, in delegate terms, it will be largely a draw. So leaves Sanders far behind. But it will drag this out longer.

Sanders-Clinton

So what's up with the Sanders-Clinton fight in Indiana? The first round of exits - notoriously wrong - showed Sanders with a 12 point margin. But the initial results pointed to a solid Clinton win. Since then Sanders is doing pretty well in some key areas. He's keeping it very close in Marion County (Indianapolis) where Clinton should run up pretty solid numbers. And statewide, with about 20% of precincts reporting it's the thinnest possible lead for Sanders.

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We Won't Even Get Riots

Right now, a pretty reasonable projection of the coming primaries gets Donald Trump really, really close to 1237 delegates. But I think that understates what's going to happen. New York State did part of it. But the five states last week simply took the wind out of the anti-Trump forces. Once it's obvious it's over it's really hard to keep people motivated to keep fighting. People also want to back a winner. Eventually the desire to back a winner begins to overcome that will to fight.

That's what Indiana is showing us. This was a tailor-made state for Ted Cruz. But he got crushed. Some of that is because everyone hates Ted Cruz. The bigger factor is that people are simply done. Trump's the nominee. They're tired of dragging it out. Expect that trend to build in the final states. They'll all be blow outs.

Trump Tosses Another Contender onto the Pyre

Trump is all about 'dominance politics'. When he knocks out a once-star opponent it really shows. As he did with Rubio, Trump's not just defeating Cruz. He drove him to an epic level of meltdown that it will be hard to forget, long after this nomination battle is over. Not unlike Rubio's end of campaign dignity implosion, Cruz ended this week on a hapless splutter and now a crushing defeat.

Never Believe the Exits

The first round of exit polls tonight showed Bernie Sanders with a 12 point lead over Hillary Clinton. But I need to remind myself: Early exit polls tend to be wildly wrong. And the early results looks much better for Clinton. See the live results here.

TPM Readers on Sanders #7

Interesting mix of history, irony and the politics of purity in TPM Reader FH's take ...

After many years of listening in on the lively exchange between fellow (passionate) TPM readers, this is my first time writing in. I was a strong Obama supporter in ’08 and decided early on that I would vote for Hillary this time around.

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TPM Readers on Sanders #6

TPM Reader SB is pretty down on both of them ...

The thing that stings me most about the primary is that Hillary Clinton is not a very good candidate. She plays well in the controlled atmosphere of a debate, yes, but so did Martha Coakley. I feel very strongly that she's going to lose the general and, despite all evidence being that sanders supporters will fall in line, the left will be blamed for her total inability to run a competent campaign.

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