Sunday, February 21, 2016

Week 11: "Scalia, South Carolina, and Much, Much More" (February 21, 2016)

Dear Readers,

This week has been insane.  I’ll help you make sense of all that’s happened so far.

Days until NV Republican Caucus: 2
Days until SC Democratic Primary: 6
Days until Super Tuesday: 9
Days until General Election: 261


Scalia’s Death: The Implications
As you’ve probably heard, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died this past week. The very conservative justice was 79, and died on a quail hunting trip with a good friend at his ranch in Texas. The Senate Republicans have announced they won’t allow any of Obama’s nominees to get through, citing an unwritten rule improperly. The “rule” is that in the last 6 months of a president’s term, you don’t accept any nominations. However, there are 11 months left in Obama’s term.

South Carolina Results
Surprise, surprise. Donald Trump won South Carolina. Finishing with a decent 32%, he claimed victory and all 50 delegates. Marco Rubio won a hard-fought second place from Ted Cruz. The two were separated by only 1,000 votes. Jeb Bush, John Kasich, and Ben Carson all underwhelmingly finished in the 7% range. The potential implications are good for Trump and Rubio. Cruz should do well in Southern evangelical states, but a third-place finish here isn’t what I’d call “good”.

Jeb! Drops Out
Jeb Bush dropped out following a disastrous South Carolina performance. He hasn’t endorsed yet, but conventional wisdom says he endorses Rubio. This didn’t come as a surprise to many, but it’s a little sad to see him put so much effort into a state and wind up .6% away from last. (Sound familiar, Mike Huckabee?) A good New York Times piece shows that Jeb’s voters are ideologically/demographically the most similar to Rubio’s, but we shall see.

“Not Christian”
This week, Pope Francis declared that Donald Trump “wasn’t a Christian” because of his desire to build a wall. Trump replied by saying, and I quote, “If and when the Vatican is attacked by ISIS, I can promise you that the Pope would have only wished and prayed that Donald Trump would have been President...” This may not have have had a huge impact in Protestant, evangelical South Carolina, but in states like Massachusetts, it will.


Scalia’s Death: The Implications
With a sitting president, the Democrats should be able to get their choice for succession easily, right? No. Wrong. Obama will, thus, probably use his nominees to make a statement and help his fellow Democrats in November. Expected nominees include Loretta Lynch and Sri Srinivasan. This is sure to be a hotly contested argument in the coming weeks, especially once we get to the general election.

Nevada Results
Hillary Clinton narrowly beat Bernie Sanders in Nevada. Bernie had decent odds of winning, and the campaign should be troubled by this. With a presumed blowout in South Carolina (more on that later), Bernie’s momentum doesn’t look so good. However, this result wasn’t unexpected (Gravis’ poll predicted the result exactly), so we’ll see what the repercussions are.

Personal, Unscientific, Nevada Forecasts:
Donald Trump - 37.1%
Marco Rubio - 27.2%
Ted Cruz - 21.6%
John Kasich - 8.4%
Ben Carson - 5.7% (if he doesn’t drop out)

Personal, Unscientific, South Carolina Forecasts:
Hillary Clinton - 61.5%
Bernie Sanders - 38.5%

Things to Look For:
-Rubio’s support among Hispanics

Thanks for reading! Any suggestions/criticisms are welcome, just comment!

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