Trump is poised for the strongest primary performance in modern history

No non-incumbent has won both the GOP’s Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary since the dawn of the modern primary system. Trump has a real shot to be the first. And no recent candidate has overcome the kind of deficit most of the other candidates face in both national and state-by-state numbers at this late date, against a candidate with as strong and stable numbers as Trump has, and gone on to win.

If Trump wins both Iowa and New Hampshire, and then goes on to win South Carolina and Nevada — as he is favored to do — he could very conceivably win every contest, or at worst lose a favored son state or two like Cruz’s Texas. Nobody has run the table like that — not Nixon in 1968, nor Reagan in 1980, nor Bush in 2000.

And if he loses Iowa to Cruz, and wins New Hampshire decisively, there’s little historical reason to believe that Cruz has a better chance at the nomination than Trump does, much less that anybody else has a better shot than either.

A Trump nomination would be unprecedented. But an upset victory by any of his opponents would, in many ways, be even more so.