On a night when the Trump wave continued to roll across America, inundating yet another of the Republican candidates and washing Marco Rubio out of the race, one state stood out. Ohio was a breakwater against the Trump tsunami, with Governor John Kasich knitting together a coalition of Kasich supporters, Rubio supporters, and Trump opponents to beat Trump convincingly.
The pundits will talk about what Trump’s victories in Florida, North Carolina, Illinois, and (apparently) Missouri mean, and his chances of reaching the magic number that will allow him to be the Republican nominee. I don’t think there’s much need for analysis on the former question, really. Marco Rubio put his finger on it in his graceful concession speech last night: there are a huge number of frustrated, angry, disaffected people out there who feel left behind, and Trump’s anti-establishment status and promises of a future where America gets “better deals” and “wins” again appeals to them. I think the strong perception that he is a candidate who will bring about change — whatever that change might be, precisely — has attracted people who see his candidacy as a reason to participate in the political process and vote for the first time in years. In primary after primary, these Trump voters are making their voices heard.
There are still a number of states where voting has yet to occur, and with the Republican race down to Trump, Kasich, and Ted Cruz, voters in those states will have their chance to determine whether Donald Trump does well enough to compile a majority of Republican delegates. As Rubio noted, we are a republic, and the elections in those other states will be the final decision points. Last night, Ohio had its say in the process, and the Republican primary voters in the Buckeye State have resoundingly voted against the Trump approach.
Whatever the ultimate result might be, I’m proud of my state.