"I've previously posited that there will have to be a winnowing of Republican presidential candidates before the real odds can be determined in the GOP presidential nomination process. We have now had our first serious campaign suspension as Jeb Bush withdrew his withering and failing candidacy shortly after the South Carolina polls closed on Saturday night.
Bush's withdrawal can only help Cruz and Rubio. It's difficult, practically impossible, to believe that any Bush supporters would migrate to Trump after what Trump has done to Jeb. That said, many of Jeb's supporters may well jump to either Rubio or Cruz in an act of defiance for Trump's shameless treatment and denigration of Bush.
As it stands now, the combined Cruz/Rubio voter percentage numbers are greater than Trump's numbers. The question than becomes one of where Trump will get the necessary votes in subsequent primary elections to break through the voter percentage ceiling we have seen so far. The only thing that the South Carolina primary has really demonstrated is that Trump's floor has dropped in comparison to the cumulative numbers of the other candidates. Trump has not increased the ceiling number in his voting support.
The next primary in Nevada, without Jeb Bush, may be an indicator of which direction Trump's voter base percentage is moving in relation to the combined Cruz/Rubio percentage of voters. If the combined Cruz/Rubio percentage of voters continues to grow, this could be a serious blow to Trump's chances of garnering a majority of delegates prior to the GOP convention.
All that said, the longer the other two GOP candidates, Carson and Kasich, continue their very questionable candidacies, the advantage, if there is much, goes to Trump, especially as the GOP campaign moves to those states with winner take all rules in place by each state GOP organization. This has to be Trump's plan to play off the other four GOP candidates against each other as he racks up larger numbers of delegates through the winner take all primaries.
It remains to be seen if Carson and Kasich will see the light and suspend their candidacies before the important "winner take all" primaries. Failure to do so will only enhance Donald Trump's strength in delegate numbers and could actually push him over the magic number of 1237 delegates necessary to win the GOP nomination outright before the Republican convention in July.
Will the Republicans coalesce around one candidate to meet Trump head to head? Only time will tell, but the longer that Trump can string out the infighting among the remaining four Republicans, the greater his chances to win the GOP nomination."Originally Posted at Righting on the Wall