Open thread: South Carolina. Trump, Rubio, Cruz and farewell to Jeb

10:20: All the speeches are loaded for you. The last few votes are dribbling in but it seems to be Trump 32.5%, Rubio 22.5% and Cruz 22.3%. The delegate count will sort out overnight, but if Trump didn’t get all 50, he got most of them. (Map a few updates below here, though it filled in more for Trump as the night went on with a few counties going to Rubio. Marco will need to carry an entire congressional district to get three delegates.) With Kasich still in the race despite his 5th place finish, it’s unclear where supporters will be breaking, but there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Trump is for real and both Rubio and Cruz have some ground to make up.

We’ll have some (hopefully) more coherent analysis from the team in the morning.


10:10: Ted Cruz speech. Seems to have neglected to congratulate Trump, but very nice comments about Jeb Bush. Much like Rubio, gave a speech which for all the world sounded like he won.


9:35: Marco Rubio speech. Congratulates Trump, salutes Bush run, then goes into what sounds for all the world like a victory speech. Well written and delivered with a theme of new conservatives for the 21st century. (Roughly 9 minutes)


9:15: Donald Trump’s victory speech. (A bit over 7 minutes.) Congratulates the rest of the candidates, thanks all of his supporters and challenges his followers to win in Nevada and the SEC and “wrap this thing up.”


9:01: Jeb Bush’s speech where he ends his bid for the presidency. Goes out in a respectful fashion.


8:40: Jeb Bush, with less than 10%, announces that he’s dropping out. The real question is where does that 8% go? Kasich insists he’s sticking around, so some might go there, but hard to argue that Rubio doesn’t benefit from this as well. Don’t see a lot of crossover to Trump or Cruz.

Carson also insists he’s staying in. Not talking about a lot of votes there, but they might be a more natural fit for Cruz or possibly Trump as the “ultimate outsider.”


8:20: Analysis starting to break down to how the delegates will play out. The rules for South Carolina are kind of oddball. With the bonuses awarded for “state loyalty” and 1st place finish, assuming Trump wins, he starts with 29 of the state’s 50 delegates. The other 21 are divided up with three each going to the winner of each of the state’s 7 congressional districts. As of this hour, the map is looking like this:


Bottom line is that Trump may only win with a percentage in the 30s, but he could still walk away with all 50 delegates.


7:33: CBS has called it for Trump pretty early.

Also CNN. The race for second is essentially tied right now. Rubio doing very well early, which is probably the dream scenario for Trump. Avoids a head to head with Cruz.


7:25: Early exit polls from CBS.

Trump 31
Cruz 27
Rubio 23
Carson 7
Bush 6
Kasich 6


7:06: They didn’t call it for Trump as soon as the cap lifted, so he probably didn’t capture as much of the evangelical vote as was being predicted early. You’d think they would break for Cruz, but Rubio has been charging. All CNN is saying from the exit polls is that those three are running “in the top tier.” Sounds like the eleventh hour Bush Push didn’t move the numbers very much.


Immediate Update: It’s official, or as close to it as possible. Out in Nevada Hillary Clinton has squeaked out a victory in the Nevada caucus. A roughly five point margin is nothing to sneeze at, but Bernie definitely ate into the massive lead she held only last month. Going by the exit polls, Hillary had the elderly vote by a country mile while Sanders captured the younger vote by a similar margin. Clinton got the black vote by a landslide, but Bernie was taking a small margin in the Hispanic vote, 53-45. In terms of delegates, Hillary *should* take either a 12-11 or 13-10 split of the committed delegates, but that’s never a sure thing. Nevada’s caucus isn’t a direct representation process. What they did today was select the delegates to the county conventions, who will then go on to the state convention where they will eventually cut a deck of cards or something and determine how many delegates to assign to her for national convention. (Not affecting all of her Superdelegates, of course.)

Bernie came out immediately to say they were moving on. This race was essentially a tie and there’s no reason for him to be scared off at this point.


Well, it’s been an exciting day in South Carolina and Nevada hasn’t it? (/sarc) As much as we all wait on pins and needles for the outcome, the actual “news” value of primary day itself is pretty much nil. Sure, you get the wall to wall, breathtaking cable news coverage of people standing in line, going into booths and offering the odd – sometimes very odd – opinions to reporters hanging out near the polling places. There are election officials excitedly talking about the long lines and speculating on whether or not this will be record breaking turnout. The candidates dash back and forth at last minute appearances trying to drive every last supporter out to the polls. But in the end it’s just people voting and then going about their business on a normal Saturday. Until we have the results, there’s really nothing different between today and yesterday.

But now it’s about over. One Democrat and as many as three Republicans will be happy when they go to bed tonight. Some in the latter category may be going home and declaring that it just wasn’t their year. On the Democrats’ side, Bernie and Hillary will both pack up their teams and head to South Carolina.

Here are a couple of the “highlights” from this exciting day of voting. We’ll update this thread at the top when we get some answers.

A pro-Cruz robocall warned voters about the horror of Donald Trump and lesbians in the bathroom.

Marco Rubio reminded voters that all of his GOP opponents rooted against Clemson. (I can find no record of this.)

Cruz and Carson were stuck in a closet. No… not a metaphorical closet.

In Ted Cruz’s America we will finally put an end to sniveling hipsters’ endless whining about gluten free meals.

The Secret Service was called in when somebody tried to place an obituary for Hillary Clinton in the Las Vegas Review Journal.

It may or may not be legal for Republicans in Nevada to vote in both the Democrat’s caucus today and the GOP caucus on Tuesday. The Democrats can not do the same.

The polls in South Carolina will close one half hour after this post publishes, so that should keep you busy until then. Best of luck to your candidates if you’re not supporting Trump. (Since I’m pretty sure he doesn’t need any luck to win.)