The Arena: March Madness

Apparently Google searches about moving to Canada have spiked in the last month. Part of the effect is probably heartthrob and “The Arena”-favorite Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who was just in Washington, D.C. But I’m honestly not sure that Canada won’t build a wall to keep Americans out with the way these elections are going.

On Tuesday, Donald Trump stretched his lead over the rest of the Republican Party with a huge win in Florida, a winner-take-all state. Florida’s 99 delegates are Trump’s biggest step towards the 1237 needed to win the nomination. Don’t look now, but a real estate mogul with a failed line of steaks is more than 50 percent of the way to the Republican nomination. What seemed like a joke, and then a phase and then a possibility may become a certainty.

After losing in his home state of Florida, Marco Rubio dropped out, warning the party of Trump’s candidacy. While I advocated for Ohio Governor John Kasich to quit to make room for Rubio, the opposite happened. Kasich cleaned up in his home state last night, and will definitely get some Rubio voters moving forward. Rubio even told his Ohio voters to vote for Kasich. Again, I think this effect nationwide would have been larger if Rubio had been the one to stay in.

The path to stopping Trump now is to block him from getting the majority of delegates at all. This will be harder with more winner-take-all primaries coming up, but if Cruz and Kasich can prevent a majority until the convention in July, we will see a candidate crowned then. It may not even be somebody in the running right now; delegates and the party could shift their vote to somebody like Speaker Paul Ryan or even Mitt Romney. But I’m not going to overestimate the GOP anymore. I wouldn’t trust this party to decide on hors d’oeuvres, let alone a candidate.

While we’re on spring break, Trump will continue to stretch his lead. In winner-take-all Arizona, he has the backing of legendary anti-illegal immigration Sheriff Joe Arpaio — the guy may as well come out of a John Wayne film. Utah will be more difficult to call, as there hasn’t been nearly enough polling in the state.

As for Bernie Sanders, the momentum from his unexpected win in Michigan seemed to disappear; he failed to win a single state, just barely losing in Missouri. It’s becoming harder and harder to see a path to victory for Sanders, because Democrats allocate delegates on a proportional basis. Sanders needs to win and win big. But even if Sanders loses, his campaign has brought issues like affordable education and income inequality to the forefront of the Democratic Party and of discourse as a whole.

Smart money is now probably on Trump vs. Clinton for the Presidency. But if this primary season has taught me anything, it’s that smart money is not always that smart. Somewhere in Florida, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio (loyal readers of “The Arena”) nod in agreement.