Twelve states and American Samoa are voting today. The different regions involved ensure that there are all sorts of outcomes to consider. Moreover, regionally, the outcomes for Democrats and Republicans matter in varied ways. So I’ll take this by party and by region, skipping American Samoa.
Let’s start with the Republicans in the South, the region they must win in a solid block to grab the White House in November. The Southern states voting today include Alabama, Arkansa, Georgia, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
Let’s go state-by-state but first begin by recognizing that once we get to these multi-state contest days, the national landscape shapes voter perceptions in a big way. That favors Trump nearly across the board. The only saving grace if you are Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio is that delegates are still being awarded proportionally, meaning they have a shot at getting a few.
Trump will take Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Virginia. Rubio has a shot to come in close to Trump in Virginia, a state with a wide swath of moderate Republican voters. That state will come in for Trump and then Rubio. Ted Cruz should take Texas, his home state, and if he doesn’t, it’s hard to see his path forward. Both Rubio and Cruz have a shot at Arkansas. Rubio has the support of some of the state’s leading Republicans; Cruz enjoyed a slim lead in the most recent state-wide poll. One of them will take the Natural State…..I predict Rubio.
So that’s rather a Trump landslide and now we say goodbye to the land of grits and sweet tea and travel north. The Republican vote in Colorado is not binding, so there is very little polling there. But Colorado Republicans are a more diverse and tolerant crowd. Turnout will matter here and if it’s high, Rubio has a shot. It will be low and it will go to Trump.
In Massachusetts and Vermont, the GOP crowd is moderate. These folks will go the route of Marco Rubio. Kasich will roll in second. The same can be said for Minnesota Republicans, where I see Rubio as the winner.
Please note that Carson is still campaigning but he’s done after tonight. Thanks for playing, Ben.
The story for the Democrats is going to be a good night for Hillary Clinton. She will take all of the Southern states with the exception of Oklahoma, which is less diverse than the other Southern states and is a Sanders pick up.
Moving out of the South, Sanders should prevail in his home state of Vermont and he should look good in Massachusetts, though Clinton has the polling lead. Based on his very good February fund-raising numbers I’m going to call Massachusetts for Sanders. If he doesn’t win here, in a state next door to his home state, it’s hard to see his path forward.
In Colorado, Sanders should score a narrow victory. I think that will also be the case in Minnesota. Both states are caucus votes today and those favor true believers, an enthusiastically liberal crowd in the Democratic party. They’ll select Sanders.
All told, it will be a big night for Clinton though Sanders (and his fund-raising!) will be robust heading toward March 15. I still think that the eventual Democratic nomination will go to Clinton, though the contest has been surprisingly competitive.
It’s going to be a long night but when it’s done, the take away story will be Clinton and Trump. We’re getting closer to the eventual nominees. In at least one instance, that scares the hell out of me. Looking at you, The Donald.