Saturday, February 20, 2016

Trump Wins South Carolina - Bush Suspends Campaign

The frightening Trump juggernaut continues as the loud mouthed, fascist rallies the poorly educated and racially bigoted and wins the South Carolina primary today.  Placing 4th place, Jeb Bush suspends his campaign which has been largely on life support since his drubbing in Iowa.  I suspect that open panic has overtaken the GOP establishment as this further proof that the Frankenstein monster that it happily created over the last two decades is now proving to be uncontrollable.  Worse yet for some in the donor class is the realization that $100 million+ was flushed down the toilet in their backing backing Jebbie.  The only possible consolation is that Marcobot has apparently beat out the very scary Ted Cruz to take second place.  Whether Marcobot, an empty suit by some estimations can stop Trump of course is yet to be seen.  The New York Times looks at the upside down world in the GOP.  Here are highlights:

Donald J. Trump won a clear victory in the South Carolina primary on Saturday, cementing his position as the Republican presidential front-runner as he enters a tougher test in a series of potentially decisive March contests.

Mr. Trump ran ahead of Senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida, who were locked in a battle for second place. Both have struggled to become the principal alternative to Mr. Trump, a larger-than-life candidate from outside the political system whose nomination would upend the Republican Party.

Mr. Trump has benefited so far from a fractious group of candidates running against him. But the results in South Carolina may narrow that field to a small and tenacious handful, possibly opening the way for a concerted challenge to Mr. Trump next month in delegate-rich states like Texas, Virginia and Florida.
Yet by capturing the first Southern primary immediately after winning New Hampshire in a landslide, Mr. Trump made clear that he would not be easy to stop. Using blunt and at times incendiary language, he found strong support from Republicans without a college degree, who are angriest about the federal government and who favor a hard line on illegal immigration, according to surveys of voters leaving the polls.

Jeb Bush brought his older brother, his mother, Barbara, and other relatives to South Carolina to campaign for him. But primary voters here indicated that whatever affection they had for the Bush family was largely nostalgic. They thoroughly rejected Jeb Bush’s candidacy.

Gov. John Kasich of Ohio also finished well behind the top three candidates, but was already seeking to make a case for continuing his candidacy by leaving South Carolina and campaigning Saturday in Vermont and Massachusetts, which hold primaries on Super Tuesday, March 1, along with 11 other states and American Samoa. (South Carolina’s Democratic primary will be held on Feb. 27.)

Seven of the March 1 states are either in the South or border that conservative-leaning region, making the next 10 days pivotal for Mr. Cruz, who has staked his candidacy on being able to consolidate party hard-liners. . . . Such voters, however, appear divided. Mr. Trump, who has never held elected office and rails against political leaders, led the polls in South Carolina for months, typically by double-digit margins. 

On the eve of the primary, Mr. Trump reiterated his support for using torture against suspected terrorists and, musing about how to stop Islamic radicals, repeated approvingly an account of how the early 20th-century Army general John J. Pershing, before executing Muslim prisoners in the Philippines, “took 50 bullets, and he dipped them in pigs’ blood.” (The story has circulated for years since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, but is apparently apocryphal.)

More remarkable given where the race took place was Mr. Trump’s repeated mocking of George W. Bush’s response to the Sept. 11 attacks. And his claim in a debate last weekend that the Bush administration had deliberately lied to start a war in Iraq drew sharp rebukes from national Republican leaders, including former Vice President Dick Cheney.

National party leaders in Washington have looked to the vote in South Carolina as a chance for one of Mr. Trump’s mainstream competitors to consolidate support, and perhaps to emerge as a consensus alternative to him.  Mr. Rubio, whose earlier efforts to rally the party behind him disintegrated after a catastrophic debate performance and a weak finish in New Hampshire, may be best positioned to become that candidate, gaining in the late polls here and brandishing Gov. Nikki R. Haley’s endorsement as an important trophy.

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