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Cruz on Top

Sipa USA / Zach D Roberts

The overall picture is pretty clear. It looks like Cruz will likely win at least half the contests today, perhaps more. Rubio looks unlikely to do better than 3rd anywhere. He might even come in 4th, behind John Kasich, in one or more states.

One thing to note is that Kansas, Kentucky and Maine are caucuses, which likely gives Cruz a big advantage with a leg up in ground game but also conservative movement infrastructure and organization. So we'll want to wait to see what happens in Louisiana to get a sense of whether this is a real trend in Cruz's direction or an artifact of his organizational advantages in caucuses.

Whichever it turns out to be, Rubio's rationale for remaining in the race seems all but gone. And the prospect of a protracted primary battle between Trump and Cruz is a nightmare scenario for the GOP: a bitter, divisive battle between two toxic general election candidates.

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Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.