Trump Wins Arizona, Cruz Takes Utah
Another Tuesday has come and gone, putting us that much closer to July’s Republican National Convention, at which point the party establishment will come out and tell us that none of this primary nonsense every really counted. Surprise!
Under the hopeful assumption that Republicans are smarter than that, we’ll have to keep on treating these results as if they matter. And if that’s the case, Donald Trump expanded on his lead Tuesday night with a major win in Arizona. The victory netted him the state’s total of 58 delegates, pushing him further to the 1,237 he needs to secure the nomination.
But the night was far from a total loss for Trump’s dogged challenger. Sen. Ted Cruz won yet another state on Tuesday night, taking Utah in one of the biggest landslides of the primary season. His victory there ensures that the race will go on, and the debate over whether or not Trump can sew up the nomination will likewise continue. It may not be until the end of April that Trump has an opportunity to force Cruz or John Kasich out of the race. In fact, it may not even happen then. With both candidates undoubtedly interested in what might happen at a contested convention, they may keep going as long as the money holds out.
Cruz, though, isn’t just running on the fumes of a single victory, and he’s expressed disdain at the thought of stealing the nomination away from the rightful winner. He maintains that Trump can only be defeated at the ballot box, and it’s clear that a great many conservatives appreciate his tone of strength and resilience.
Overshadowing the results was widespread criticism of Arizona’s Maricopa County, where voters complained of waiting in ridiculously long lines for hours in order to cast their ballots on Tuesday. County officials then blamed the voters for showing up without realizing that they couldn’t vote in the closed primaries without being registered to a party. Some Democrats said that they were turned away, however, leading county officials to admit that there had been a computer glitch that caused many Democrats to be labeled as Independents.
Such are the woes in a year where no one can wrap their heads around what’s actually happening in this country. Every (Republican) primary is outdoing the last one, drawing out thousands of voters who have stayed home for years. And election officials – like the media and the Republican Party leadership – have been caught flatfooted. It’s frustrating, but it’s also undeniably exciting. But yeah, let’s make sure we get this crap taken care of by November, okay?