Today’s Republican primary contest in Michigan pits the grass roots activism of the supporters of Donald Trump versus two separate groups of competition; plus moderate Republican governor of Ohio, John Kasich. The hard right politician on the ballot for red-meat conservatives is, without a doubt, the U.S. Senator from Texas, Ted Cruz. The choice and darling of the GOP establishment is another U.S. Senator, Marco Rubio of Florida. In the past week, Michigan voters have been sweltering under a mountain of negative campaign ads on television and radio from political organizations seeking to derail Trump’s bid for the Republican presidential nomination.
Entering the Michigan primary, Trump holds an 84 delegate lead over his closest rival, Ted Cruz, with their delegate totals at 384 and 300, respectively for the top two Republican candidates. Marco Rubio is far behind at 151, and John Kasich is in fourth place with 37 delegates. The Republican party nominee who can claim 1,237 delegates will win the nomination outright.
Trump’s messages on trade, business, and immigration have resounded so far with Michigan voters, setting the stage for what could be the most important outcome so far in the 2016 race for the Republican presidential nomination. Polling for Trump has remained steady at almost two to one vs. all other Republican candidates, and today’s election results are expected to reflect a solid, state-wide base of Trump voters that will cross racial and socio-economic boundaries. For those seeking to slow down the Trump Express to the nomination, new doubts are very possible following voting today.
If Kasich fails to secure at least second place, will that signal that he is vulnerable in his home state? If Rubio finishes in fourth place, as polls suggest now, will he be abandoned by the GOP establishment? If Cruz fails to break the 25% mark, does that represent a weakness in the Cruz campaign, perhaps an inability to carry the industrial midwest? With the delegate rich states of Ohio and Florida voting on March 15th, just one week from today, today’s vote totals could represent a hint of what is yet to come in this presidential campaign year.
Certainly, Michigan is a make or break state for Rubio. Should Rubio fail to win in Michigan, it will be unlikely that he will win in Ohio, or Florida for that matter. Rubio must win Michigan, or he will demonstrate that his campaign just didn’t have the right message for the 2016 Republican base. For Cruz, he must do no less than a second place finish, or his campaign will find itself in an uphill fight for future votes, and donors. For Kasich, a second place finish could set him up for a big finish in Ohio.
Most pollsters are predicting a big win for Trump. What we don’t know yet is who will come in second? What is your prediction?