Today’s contests are rather all over the map, both caucuses and primaries. All told, there is voting today and Sunday in Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, and Nebraska. Let’s start with the Republican caucus contests.
Republicans are caucusing today in Kansas, Kentucky, and Maine. We are long past the days when Kansas sent forth moderate, thoughtful, leadership-oriented Republicans (think Alf Landon, Nancy Kassebaum, Bob Dole). Nope, these days, Kansas Republican voters bring the crazy. They’ve got lots of choices in the crazy category in this year’s GOP contest but they’ll go for Ted Cruz, by a smidge.
Kentucky Republicans will also be caucusing today, a choice they made when favorite son Rand Paul was still in the presidential race (remember him?). Kentucky law wouldn’t permit Paul to be a primary candidate for both the Senate and the presidency. Rand hates government so much he wanted to be a candidate for both jobs and he persuaded the Bluegrass State to caucus, where he could be a presidential candidate without breaking the laws. Now he’s out of the presidential race and the caucus victory will go to Trump, who is faring well in the South.
Maine Republicans are also holding a caucus and their governor has endorsed Trump. That might carry some weight with Maine voters, so put Maine in his column as well. The only Republican primary today is in Louisiana. Texan Cruz held on in Texas and its neighbor state, Oklahoma. But he hasn’t been much of a presence in Louisiana so the state’s Republican voters will likely choose the party’s national leader: score this one for Trump.
It’s notable that Marco Rubio is about to have another bad day. I’m not going to declare his campaign on life support but it’s damn close.
Democrats also have a combination of caucuses and primaries today. Kansas and Nebraska will both hold a caucus. Both of these states are Republican strongholds and the Democrats there are a small but hearty lot, typically with populist, liberal tendencies. Score both of these states for Sanders.
Democrats in Maine will caucus tomorrow. Clinton surprised me when she held on to Massachusetts on Super Tuesday and I think that Maine Democrats will lean the same way. The only Democratic primary today is in Louisiana. Clinton has been on fire among Southern Democrats and she’ll win the Bayou State.
The Democratic contest is alive and well; the candidates are both organized and thoughtful, with detailed plans for governing and the kind of rhetoric we expect serious candidates to speak. The Republicans are a train wreck and like most bloody smash-ups, it’s awfully hard to avert my eyes. But make no mistake, we’re seeing the break-up of the Republican party and things are going to get a lot more unpleasant before this is over.