The Great Trump Slump

Donald Trump (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)
Donald Trump (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Ted Cruz won on Super Saturday, splitting the states 50-50 with Donald Trump but winning more delegates than Trump did. Marco Rubio has lost again, resoundingly in the south, in the northeast and in the midwest. There is not much of the map left.

The refusal of the GOP establishment to rally around Cruz is revealing before our eyes the unwillingness of the existing power structures within the party to support a conservative who means it when he emerges. They hate Cruz because he has not been malleable to their team strategy, the same team strategy that has given birth to Trump.

Will this continue after Super Saturday? If so, the party bosses and donors have only themselves to blame if Trump is the nominee and explodes the Republican party.

For the really big news to emerge from Saturday’s vote is that Trump is now for the first time clearly taking a hit: call it the first big signs of a Trump Slump.

Cruz demolished Trump in the Maine caucuses, winning by an astonishing 13 points, 46 percent to 33 percent.

The media keeps repeating the meme (mostly because Cruz won Iowa) that Cruz is an “evangelical” candidate and the map no longer favors him — even as Trump wins Southern states and Cruz emerges as a contender in the midwest, the southwest, and the northeast.

Cruz won Kansas by a similarly astonishing 25 points, 48 percent to 23 percent.

This is not the story the polls were telling just a few days before the actual vote.

The last Kansas poll had Trump beating Cruz by 6 points; instead (to repeat the good news) Cruz beat him by 25 points.

More evidence of the Trump Slump: Trump also underperformed badly in Louisiana compared to the last-minute polls, which suggested he would trounce Cruz by 12 to 18 points. Instead, Cruz fought Trump to almost a draw, splitting the delegates 16 for Trump to 15 for Cruz, and the vote 41 percent for Trump to 38 percent for Cruz.

The last Kentucky poll was in late February, and it has Trump up by 13 points over Marco Rubio (with Cruz lagging at 15 points). On the other hand, it showed Trump getting 35 percent of the vote, exactly his score in Kentucky on Saturday.

Trump is not gaining support despite being the front runner. He has a third of the Republican party — he may gain more moving forward, but if he wins, it is going to be largely because the Republican establishment refuses to support the leading contender the voters have chosen.

If so, they will have only themselves to blame for the collapse of their precious GOP “brand.”  Not to mention, quite possibly, the loss of their country.

Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project.