Tuesday night was a moment of clarification. We learned two things about election 2016:
First, Trump is a political force of nature and, though not unstoppable, is in a commanding position to win the GOP nomination. For all the talk about who among the governors and Senators who got 12 percent and 11 percent and 10 percent, Trump won more of the vote than Bush, Rubio, and Cruz combined.
As Rich Lowry of National Review points out, “Trump won nearly every demographic group. Old and young. Rich and poor.”
Second, Hillary is the Walking Dead. She isn’t going to president.
Democrats are as glum as can be today, because the realization is setting in that they are going to nominate someone as likable to voters as Michael Dukakis. Tuesday’s vote was a resounding rejection by 60 percent of Democrats of Saint Hillary.
Quick: What is Hillary’s message? A third Obama term? Voters overwhelmingly don’t want that. She’s reinvented herself so many times she has no convictions at all.
Meanwhile, Trump surges. His splendid victory speech last night, was all about love of country — about patriotism.
It is striking that Trump is the anti-Obama in every way. Obama blames America first for every problem on the earth, from global warming to terrorism. Trump emanates love for America and pledges to “make America great again.”
Obama hates business. Trump runs businesses.
Obama is a pessimist. Trump is an optimist.
Obama is an elitist. Trump is a populist.
Obama is a college professor and a community organizer. Trump is a job creator and a profit maker.
Obama is incompetent. Trump is a professional — he exudes competence.
A few thoughts and predictions going forward.
First, don’t rule out another Democrat getting into the race, especially if Hillary falters in any of the next few primaries. Every Democrat pro knows that Bernie Sanders would lose a massive landslide election, and so the party will do everything — even changing the rules of the game if it comes to that — to prevent a Sanders nomination. Possible entrants would be Joe Biden, Al Gore, Jerry Brown, Andrew Cuomo, or Elizabeth Warren. My sources tell me Biden is seriously weighing a run.
The rub against Trump that he can’t win in November looks to be wrong. Trump certainly has some profound defects and his problem with minorities and women cannot be ignored. He’s unpredictable and sometimes crude.
On the other hand, Trump could expand the Republican base to include independents and union Democratic voters. Trump is also getting better each day as he expands his base rather than shrinking it. Trumpmania is a Black Swann political event that we’ve never seen before and may not ever see again.
Meanwhile, the conventional wisdom that Marco Rubio is the most electable has been turned on its head. Rubio is an amazing talent, but for now he seems not ready for prime time. Christie exposed all of Rubio’s darkest vulnerabilities in the Saturday debate.
Ted Cruz has the best shot at dethroning Trump. If Cruz wins South Carolina it’s looking like a two-man horserace. Cruz has the best tax plan by a mile.
John Kasich took a huge leap forward in the race for VP. A Trump-Kasich ticket would be very strong.
The odds of Republicans winning in November shot up at the end of Tuesday night. The Democrats had a nightmare of a night.
In February 1980 the Republican establishment said that a staunch conservative Hollywood actor could never be president and he won two landslide elections. Trump isn’t Reagan — but he’s one of the most talented retail politicians in modern times. For nine months everyone has been underestimating this man, saying that he was surely going to go away. He’s not going away. He’s rising and proving his critics on the left and right dead wrong. That’s Reaganesque.