Early Returns

Turns Out the Polls Have Pointed to Trump All Along

Jonathan Bernstein's morning links.

1. As usual, I strongly disagree with Matthew Dickinson's interpretation of presidential nomination politics. As usual, I strongly recommend that anyone who reads my views of nomination politics should also read his. Political scientists really are split on this. I will argue back here on one point: Whether they succeed or not, I can't see how the rush of Republican Party actors to Marco Rubio in the days before the South Carolina primary can be seen merely as trying to jump on the bandwagon for the likely winner; surely they would have chosen Donald Trump, or at least Ted Cruz (especially before South Carolina). No, what happened as far as I can see is they found several candidates acceptable and waited for evidence of appeal to the voters to choose from among those -- and only those -- candidates. I'm confident that's what happened among Democratic Party actors in 2004 as well, but the difference this time is that since Rubio was losing, it's more obvious that the party wasn't simply accepting whatever the voters and the news media had. We'll see now whether the party can overcome the media and (many of) the voters. Either way, we'll learn more about the process.

2. David Damore at Latino Decisions on Trump and Hispanic voters in Nevada.

3. At Rule 22, Josh Huder explains how House budget-cutters are finding new and innovative procedural ways to chop spending, although it probably won’t wind up working.

4. The Upshot’s Kevin Quealy on the game theory behind John Kasich’s decision on whether to drop out.

5. HuffPost Pollster’s Natalie Jackson and Janie Velencia on how the polls are doing so far this year -- and how Trump's success shouldn't be a surprise.

6. The Fix’s Philip Bump has a fun chart of how recent nominees have maneuvered through the nomination process. Short version? There is no single path.

7. Ross Douthat halfheartedly makes the case that a Trump nomination might turn out not so badly for the Republican Party. Plausible! But so are several other outcomes.

8. The Atlantic’s David Graham notes that Ben Carson may suspect his campaign was a scam.

9. In the Guardian, Spencer Ackerman on how Barack Obama and his administration bungled Guantanamo.

10. And Ed Kilgore on why we should expect -- and welcome -- negative campaigning this fall.

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