by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The only reason he is potentially beatable is that he has very high negatives, and the entire party establishment is arrayed against him. The questions that remain are: Will the field narrow even further? Which one of the three remaining serious candidates — Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, or John Kasich — would have the best chance against Trump? Does Trump have a “ceiling” that is below 50 percent in any later states?
The next eight days will give us a hint to these answers, but this much is clear: the hope that Marco Rubio would emerge as the obvious Establishment candidate who tramples Trump once it becomes a two-way race — that hope is looking like a fantasy right now.
For one thing, if Cruz somehow exited, it’s not clear whether his support would go more to Rubio than to Trump. For another thing, after flubbing a recent debate, and failing to win in any of the first three contests, it’s not clear why anyone should consider Rubio a strong candidate. In some ways, he looks like a slightly slicker Jeb Bush.
But Cruz also has very high negatives, in a primary and in a general. Elite Washington hates him, and that’s a tough position from which to win a primary or a general.
And Kasich looks mostly like a guy who could carry a couple of states, at best.