What’s the number of times one Republican has scored dominating victories in New Hampshire and South Carolina and then gone on to lose the nomination? Exactly. Never. And this isn’t some kind of special magic to one state or even group of states. Though it was disappointing against expectations, even the second place showing in Iowa confirms the general narrative. Yes, things could change. Nothing is certain in politics. But it’s time to dispense with any faith-based logic that disputes the fact that Donald Trump is now the overwhelming favorite to win the Republican nomination. Overwhelming.
The only mild caveat is that with a Bush or a McCain or a Romney, by the time these gents had established a clear string of wins they had substantial buy-in from party leaders, elected officials and donors – something Trump still clearly lacks. But that only gets you so far. He’s the clear favorite among GOP primary voters. And in case you’re thinking, well, not the majority, just about a third of GOP primary voters – well, no one ever gets 50% or 60% while you’re still in a contested race. It doesn’t work that way.
If he doesn’t secure the nomination, it is difficult – barring some big changes – that another candidate does secure a majority.
To be clear, I’m not making a prediction. Things could change. My point is that there are many people in and out of the GOP who still believe Trump’s odds need to be significantly discounted because of his campaign’s weirdness, clownishness or bigotry. They’re wrong. He’s the overwhelming favorite to head the Republican ticket this fall.