Ask the Experts: Where Will the Republican Race for President Stand After Super Tuesday?
Donald Trump is expected to clean up on Super Tuesday, forcing other candidates to recalibrate their approaches — or reconsider the contest entirely.
Republicans are looking at a whole new landscape when it comes to electoral politics, courtesy of Trump, the billionaire first-time candidate who's managed to upend the race by effectively channeling the anger and insecurities of motivated primary voters.
Trump steams into Super Tuesday having notched outright victories in the New Hampshire and South Carolina primaries and the Nevada caucuses, as well as a second-place finish in Iowa.
Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas have ramped up their efforts to slow Trump's momentum, but it may well be too late to break his stride.
To get a sense of how Super Tuesday will shake out, we asked Republican insiders and observers one question:
When we wake up on Wednesday morning, what will the Republican race look like?
Here's what they see as the post-Super Tuesday road map.
Gregory Angelo, president, Log Cabin Republicans:
Dr. Ben Carson will be out, Cruz will be pointing to his first-place finish in Texas as even more proof that he is the 'only candidate who can — and has — beaten Donald Trump,' Rubio and Kasich will be holding on hoping for wins in Florida and Ohio, respectively, and Trump will have racked up delegates in the hundreds while other candidates remain in double-digits. This race won't really narrow until March 16.
Roger Stone, consultant, author and ex-Trump strategist
Trumpnado is on the move. The GOP establishment is jumping in front of a moving train in their efforts to stop Trump. Trump should sweep Dixie and is breathing down Tricky Ted Cruz's neck in Texas. If Rubio cannot win his home state of Florida, he will get the hook from the billionaires floating his campaign. Watch for Mitt Romney, who bowed out of 2016 because he viewed Jeb as inevitable, to enter the New York, California and Michigan primaries in a bid to stall Trump short of a first-ballot victory and move to a brokered convention.
Ellen Carmichael, consultant; former communications director, Herman Cain for President:
Unless things change drastically, Wednesday morning will bring a Rubio versus Trump head-to-head competition. Conservatives hope Carson, Kasich and Cruz realize the gravity of the situation at hand and graciously bow out so that Rubio might take Trump head-on.
Steffen Schmidt, political science professor, Iowa State University:
Donald Trump should come out [with] more delegates than any other Republican... Moreover, there is no leadership in the Republican Party. Karl Rove is NOT the leader — he is a surrogate who has been warning GOP governors and others. [Republican National Committee] Chairman Reince Priebus is still saying that the party will support whoever wins enough delegates to get the nomination, [and] substantive negative material about Trump [is] too recent to probably get much traction.
Darrell West, vice president and director of governance studies, the Brookings Institution
Trump is likely to do well on Super Tuesday, so it will be very difficult to slow his route to the nomination. He already has a big lead in delegates and the upcoming primaries could put him in a very strong position. He already is getting some endorsements from leading Republicans and more will line up to support him once it looks like he will be the nominee. He still faces major hurdles from party big-wigs and donors, as many of those people have not warmed up to him and feel that he will drag the party down in the general election. Some of them are promising an all-out effort to stop him, but it is not clear they have the clout.
Kevin Eckery, strategist; top aide to then-California Gov. Pete Wilson:
Wednesday morning, Trump will have won a majority of states and the overwhelming number of delegates. He will be mathematically possible to stop, but he'll have to make a continuing series of errors like this KKK/David Duke nonsense — and his voters, who aren't paying attention to the news cycle, will have to come off their candidate and go to Rubio or Cruz. No matter how much one might want Trump to fail, the window for challenging him gets a great deal smaller after Super Tuesday. Carson and Kasich will drop out by the end of the week. Cruz and Rubio will still be in the race... If they both stay in through California in June, then they will go to the convention and hope for a brokered contest. Man, it's going to be a long spring.
Charmaine Yoest, conservative author and commentator; former Reagan White House official
Super Tuesday will be a defining moment in solidifying Donald Trump's widening lead in the GOP contest. The real question Tuesday's voting resolves is whether or not anyone else breaks the threshold for proportional allocation of delegates in order to maintain a credible campaign moving forward.