Okay, Trump won South Carolina, As some TV talking head has said, nobody has eveer won both New Hampshire and South Carolina without going on to win the nomination. But this is not an ordinary year, and Trump is not an ordinary candidate. His percentage of the vote was 32.5. In New Hampshire, it was 35.3 %. I think Trump has a ceiling, and his support may stay relatively steady, but it is not growing. Too many people in the Republican Party would never vote for him. One third of the vote it enough for a big win in a seventeen-prson race. If it gets down to two or three candidates, it is not.
It is crucially important that Rubio apparently came in second, and not Ted Cruz. Rubio has he greater growth potential, and so is a greater threat to Trump. Bush has dropped out; the bulk of his support will probably go to Rubio. By itself, it will not be enough to pass Trump, but it should maintain Rubio's image as the candidate with momentum,
Trump scoffed at the idea that he might lose to a consolidation of the anti-Trup voate in his victory speech. He argues that a portion of the vote from those who drop out will go to him as well. A portion, sure, but not enough to make the diffrence between 33 and 50 percent. He is overlooking the fact that he has "high negatives," that a high proportion of those not already backing Trump say they would never bakc Trump. It is also always true that the frot-runner naturally ha less growth potential-those who like him are largely already backing him.
This primary seems to be especially bad news for Cruz. It sets up Rubio instead of Cruz as the obvious alternative to Trump. Moreover, South Carolina is a very conservative state full of evengelicals. It should be prime Cruz terroitory. If he cannot beat the more moderate Rubio here, where can her? I think Cruz has suffered from the perception that he is not a nice guy.