Donald Trump followed up his win in New Hampshire with victory in South Carolina, and swept all of the state’s 50 delegates. No matter what happens in Nevada –which he looks likely to win anyway – he will go into Super Tuesday with the most delegates for the Republican convention.
Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz finished just 1,091 votes apart in second and third respectively. For Rubio, it’s not quite the 3-2-1 strategy (third in Iowa, second in New Hampshire, first in South Carolina) his campaign had been going for; instead he’s only managed a 3-5-2. But he did accomplish two big tasks yesterday: beating Cruz (albeit very narrowly) for the first time, and beating his rivals for establishment support (Bush and Kasich) by a wide margin.
For Cruz, third place in South Carolina is a pretty terrible result. 72 per cent of voters were evangelical Christians – a group with which Cruz expected to do very well – yet he only won 27 per cent of them to Trump’s 33 per cent. It appears that Trump – despite not knowing the names of books of the Bible – has usurped Cruz’s spot as the favourite of the Christian right. It’s very hard to see Cruz’s path to the nomination from here, but he probably has enough money and support to remain a significant factor in the race.