This article appeared online at on Wednesday, February 24, 2016:  

speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on Februar...

could scarcely contain himself Tuesday night: “We weren’t expected to win too much and now we’re winning, winning, winning the country. And soon the country is going to start winning, winning, winning. We won with the evangelicals. We won with the young. We won with the old. We won with the highly educated. We won with the poorly educated. I love the uneducated!”

The only demographic Trump didn’t win were those who took their time in deciding whom they would vote for, with the majority voting for Rubio over Trump. Nevertheless, Trump trounced his rivals by a two-to-one margin, putting into doubt the strategy surfacing in the Rubio and Cruz camps that by combining forces they would be able to beat Trump. But with Trump taking 45.9 percent of the votes versus 23.9 percent for Rubio and 21.4 percent for Cruz, he beat them both.

Trump took advantage of his airtime to tell what he would do in his first day in office as president: “[The] first thing is knock out some of the executive orders done by our president … [on the] border where people can pour into the country like Swiss cheese. I would knock out ObamaCare. [I would] take care of our vets and military.”

Both Rubio and Cruz campaigned aggressively, spending $920,000 and $790,000 on advertising, respectively, compared to Trump’s $490,000. But they couldn’t match Trump, who created so much momentum that certain locations had more early registrants than they had total voters during the entire day two years ago. Some of them ran out of ballots.

Apparently, the anti-Trump meme isn’t working so far, though not for lack of trying. Said Texas Senator Ted Cruz: “If you are one of the 65% of Republicans across this country who doesn’t think is the best candidate to go head-to-head with Hillary … who believes that [we] do better in elections when we actually nominate a conservative, then the first four states have … narrowed this race [and are] presenting a clear choice.”

Rubio’s theme was similar: “This cannot be an election about nominating someone just to be making a point. This cannot be an election about nominating someone just because they seem angrier than everybody else. We are all angry. We are frustrated, but you have to solve a problem.”

On March 1, dubbed “Super Tuesday,” 12 states will hold presidential nominating contests, with so many concentrated in the southeast — Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, and Virginia — that some are calling it the SEC (Southeast Conference) Primary. At stake are 595 delegates, one-quarter of the 2,472 total delegates who will determine the winner this summer. The two vying for second place recognize that Super Tuesday could either galvanize their campaigns heading into the final stretch or end them altogether.

At the moment, only Trump has been able to touch the hot button driving voters to the polls: anger. Anger at the establishment. Anger that their voices aren’t being heard. Anger that the is deaf, dumb, and blind to the average voter. According to Real Clear Politics’ polling numbers, Trump has a substantial lead in most of those 12 states, the rare exception being Texas, where Cruz leads Trump by five points.

Fran Coombs, the managing editor of Rasmussen Reports, thinks it’s all but over. In mid-June last year, just a quarter of Republicans polled thought Trump would wind up being the GOP’s nominee, with 56 percent of them predicting Jeb Bush would win. As of last Friday, nearly three out of four Republicans think Trump will become the party’s nominee, while Bush’s support has dropped to exactly zero.

Moving from “never-gonna-happen” to “how can he be stopped?” as the Post expressed it, is the same question Coombs tried to answer: “The question now is whether he can be stopped … the airwaves nationwide will be filled with vicious anti-Trump Super-PAC ads, but if the past is any indication, ‘The Donald’ will ride that opposition like a surfer who’s caught the perfect wave.”

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