The worst case scenario in New Hampshire is not Donald Trump winning today. I expect Trump to win and the word I’m getting from the ground in New Hampshire is that Trump’s voters are already turning out today.
Trump’s win is expected and nobody should be surprised by it. The surprise would be if he does not win. Again, that is not the worst case scenario.
The worst case scenario is a cluster around second place. That is actually very likely to happen today. If Marco Rubio were to come in second in New Hampshire today, the media will again herald his lack of a win as a win. He went from third to second. Rubio’s lack of wins is becoming like the kid who got a participation trophy in little league. And it is not his fault, but that of the press.
If, however, Rubio does come in second today, and that is not guaranteed, he may be clustered with all the other candidates. In New Hampshire, a candidate must get ten percent of the vote to get a single delegate. It is increasingly likely that several candidates could be at that mark, essentially tied for second place.
That prevents the race from consolidating. That keeps people in the race everyone presumed would leave the race. That gets us to South Carolina with a large field still dividing. That drags the race out even longer. But, for the Republican Establishment, it is even worse. It keeps their side of the race even more crowded that the Trump v. Cruz battle for the outsiders at a tie when the race pivots to friendly Cruz territory.