Here are the remaining 6 candidates path’s to the nomination, as I currently see it:
Donald Trump: Donald Trump’s lack of organization did not prove to be his downfall in New Hampshire, still over 60% of Republicans did not vote for him. I don’t know that the mid-30’s is Trump’s ceiling, I’m sure there are some of that over 60% that would be willing to cast a vote for The Donald. But his best hope of winning the nomination would be one of two scenarios: 1) Facing a fractured opposition 2) Facing Jeb Bush. In either of those two scenarios, Donald Trump would likely be able to win the nomination. If he faces either Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio one-on-one he’s got a much tougher road. Trump’s chances of winning the nomination are being overstated in the media. Does he have a good shot? Yes, but he’s far from inevitable.
Ted Cruz: Make no mistake about it, despite coming in third in NH, Cruz is co-frontrunner with Trump. He is going to do very well in South Carolina. But in order to build some momentum in his campaign, he’s got to get close to Trump or beat him. If a poll Bill Kristol is touting this morning is any indication, there’s an opportunity for him to do just that. Cruz needs to do whatever he can to make sure Marco Rubio does not finish close to him in SC to give him momentum heading into NV. Cruz’s best hope other than winning the NV caucuses is for Trump to win them. If Rubio secures momentum in SC and rides in to win the NV caucuses, this now turns into a three man race heading into the SEC Primary. In my opinion, Cruz has a stronger chance at the nomination that Trump based on the calendar and how I can foresee things unfolding in SC.
Marco Rubio: Again, whatever the NH results say, Rubio is a strong third right now. Kristol’s SC poll has him at 20% behind Cruz at 26% and Trump at 32%. Rubio needs to knock Bush out in SC, he needs to remind Bush voters’ that whatever affection they feel for former President George W Bush, who will be campaigning with Jeb, the rest of the country does not feel that same affection and a Bush v Clinton race is likely not to go our way (that’s the truth). Rubio also needs to make sure he’s keeping an eye on Cruz. Senator Cruz has made efforts to paint Rubio as a RINO (not fair), Rubio should not attack Cruz (though, he already has), but make sure to correct the record if he’s being painted unfairly. Rubio needs a strong second or third place finish in SC to reclaim the momentum he lost in NH. If he can do that, he may be able to capture the imagination of NV voters and win a victory there. If he can do that, Rubio has turned this into a three man race and would be able to make the case to some of the other states in the SEC Primary. It is a tough road for Rubio, and where he any other candidate I would say it’s probably over for him, but I wouldn’t count him out just yet.
Jeb Bush: Jeb Bush is never going to president of the United States. Even if he somehow kneecaps Rubio in SC and becomes the establishment choice to take on Trump and somehow pulls out an upset victory to become the GOP nominee. Both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders will have the upper hand in that contest. For Hillary Clinton, she’ll ask the question if America wants more of the 1990’s or more of the 2000’s? For people who aren’t paying much attention and Obama’s army of millennial voters who were children during the 90’s, the question has a rather obvious answer. For Bernie Sanders, who’s campaign theme is “A Future You Can Believe In.” What better candidate to face with that message than a Bush? The scary thing about Donald Trump is that he could actually win and there’s every indication he’d be a terrible president. Jeb Bush would likely be a pretty good president, but it’s almost a certainty that he would lose to the Democrat. Looking at the race now, I’d say Bush’s chances are almost non-exsistant, but with the GOP establishment you can never be sure.
John Kasich: In Kristol’s poll, Kasich is polling around 2%, he’s got a much more conservative electorate in NH. SC will likely be the Ohio governor’s last stand.
Ben Carson: Carson should be dropping out. He’s saying he’s got supporters asking him to stay in. He shouldn’t. Carson is staying in to be spiteful to Ted Cruz. I would encourage Carson supporters to be realistic, if you truly care about the values Carson believes in, vote for Ted Cruz. And if you’re really upset about IA, vote for Rubio.