Tuesday, February 09, 2016

New Hampshire Primaries: Slouching Toward the Brokered Convention

It's still early, with only two-fifths of the returns in from New Hampshire tonight. But Sanders is comfortably ahead of Clinton and, on the Republican side, chaos is comfortably ahead of consensus.
Recently, on one of Mike W's threads, I argued that:
The most chaos-inducing result for the Republicans in New Hampshire probably goes 1. Trump 2. Kasich 3. Bush 4. Rubio 5. Cruz. In that situation, and in a few other permutations close to that, all five of them have enough reason not to drop out of the race.
Currently, with 40% of the vote in, it's: 1. Trump 2. Kasich 3. Cruz 4. Bush 5. Rubio. (Cruz and Bush are less than half a percentage point apart, and have already flipped places once; they may flip again. Pretty close to the nightmare result, if you're looking for closure, or the dream result, if you're a civics geek/media nerd yearning for a brokered convention.

Basically, what this means for the GOP is that only Chris Christie is dropping out tomorrow. (Maybe Carson and Fiorina, maybe not; they're so far behind it doesn't matter.)

Rubio is very unlikely to drop out before South Carolina. Bush, with his deep warchest and stubborn pride, is going to call a third- or nearly-third place showing good enough to stay in. Kasich's second place is exactly what he hoped for to keep him in the race. So all three of the Bush/Kasich/Rubio troika are staying in; even if one dropped out, the party would not immediately coalesce behind one of the other two.

Meanwhile, on the Democratic side it's simpler: Hillary will fight a pitched battle to defeat Bernie in Nevada and South Carolina, and hope to finish him off on Super Tuesday.

The day to look for is the Ides of March, March 15th, when Florida, Ohio, and Illinois vote. Any primary that isn't essentially wrapped up by that point is probably going the whole distance.

cross-posted from, and all comments welcome at, Dagblog

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