(Reposted March 24) GOP Presidential aspirant Donald Trump didn’t win by the 20% margin most polls thought he would, but he did wind up with about 37% of the vote in the 3/8 Michigan Republican Primary election compared with Ted Cruz’s 25% and John Kasich’s 24%. Marco Rubio, who never really had a campaign going in Michigan to begin with and spent little time in the Great Lakes State, faltered badly at the polls, finishing in single digits and failing to qualify for any delegates to his party’s national convention this summer in Cleveland.
Trump had little or no “field organization” in Michigan, but he relied on what has carried him to victory in many other states — his name, his presence (he drew huge crowds wherever he appeared here, beginning last summer at Birch Run and most recently in Warren), his momentum from victories elsewhere, and above all his message, i.e., that he is the “Man on Horseback” in a crowd of feckless politicians who are unable to “Make America Great Again!” as he can.
Nobody worked harder in Michigan than Kasich, who surged in polls and at the ballot box in the past fortnight but who was still badly outspent and didn’t have the campaign infrastructure that Cruz did. The Texas senator very early on put in place by far the best field operation in the Great Lakes State and was able to inspire it to spring into action when he swooped into West Michigan in the final week-end of the campaign to make sure he got something for his time, money and effort spent here during the past nine months.
Trump is expected to get only eight more more delegates out of Michigan (25) than Cruz and Kasich will (17 apiece), but “The Donald” can say that, combined with his wins on the same day (March 8) in Mississippi and Hawaii, he has withstood the initial assault on his candidacy by his rivals’ Super Pacs and put some distance in the delegate count between himself and Cruz. He also blunted any momentum that Rubio might have hoped for going into the all-important winner-take-all primary in Florida on March 15. As we know, Trump won that contest, prompting Rubio to drop out of the race a day later. Only Cruz and Kasich are now left to challenge Trump. The race for the Republican nomination may be effectively over.