On Super Tuesday, I crushed it, accurately predicting every race on the Democratic side. A week later, on Super Twosday, I failed you, shamefully only predicting 4 of the 6 races. My father Col. Dig Sr. taught me from an early age that failure is unacceptable. So after that loss I ran away from home in a tactical retreat to the woods, where I experienced a spirit vision of Sen. John Glenn that brought me back in touch with nature and the winners and losers of the week.
On my return, I threw myself back into the heat of battle. I called the Virgin Islands caucus for Ted Cruz, whose delegates won the most votes of any candidate. Then I called the all-important Guam caucus, whose delegates also beat out the competition. On Little Saturday, I called Cruz’s win in Wyoming and Rubio’s win in Washington, D.C. Since my sabbatical I am now 4 for 4 going into what we pundits are calling Super Tuesday 3.
Foundering math nerd Nate Silver didn’t call those races. His statistical models don’t know the first thing about Guam, not like the gut instinct of a veteran reporter knows. Today, with the wind at my sails and momentum on my side, 538 and The Dig go head-to-head in the biggest primary day of the month. So without further ado, here are the Oracle of Brooklyn’s official Super Tuesday 3 predictions:
Here’s a breakdown of today’s big matches, starting with the marquee race:
NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS REPUBLICAN CAUCUS (9 delegates)
With just 9 delegates at stake, this island territory in the Western Pacific doesn’t seem like it matters much. But veteran horserace-watchers like me know it to be the most important election today. You see, because of the International Date Line, the Northern Mariana Islands released its caucus results this morning. (I’m not cheating — I made my official call on Twitter last night.) With all the cable news networks blaring the results of this massive Trump victory every hour on the hour, he gets loads of free publicity and Momentum going into the other 5 races today. And the Donald knows the value of free publicity, with his attention-grabbing rallies getting 8-9 hours of live airtime on CNN and MSNBC every day. So Trump gets the Big Mo’, but so does Carl Diggler, who has officially called 1 for 1 of the 11 races today.
OHIO (63 Republican delegates, 143 Democratic delegates)
The Ohio Democratic primary was the toughest race for me to call on the Democratic side. On the one hand, Hillary supporters may be too afraid to go to the polls days after violent Bernie Bros harassed Donald Trump into cancelling a rally. On the other hand, Hillary showed herself to be a true statesman with bipartisan cred by touchingly embracing George Bush at Nancy Reagan’s funeral and praising the Reagans for starting a national conversation about the AIDS crisis at a time when panicky leap-without-looking politicians wanted to act on it instead. At the end of the day, Ohio is a tough Midwestern state full of lunchpail 9-to-5 guys who scratch their hardhats when they see Bernie Sanders rambling incoherently about “Mooslims” and “billionaiahs.” These hardy Rust Belt types didn’t sign up for a Marxist Philosophy 101 class. Heck, they don’t even have time to learn a new name. They see “Clinton” on the ballot, and that’s what they vote for. Don’t get me wrong, this will be a close one, potentially within 1-2 points. But my gut tells me Ohio is Ready for Hillary.
On the Republican side, the big story is that John Kasich, a homeless man who serves as ceremonial governor of Ohio, will finally win a primary. Ohio’s copious delegates are winner-take-all, and by winning here Kasich stands to deny Donald Trump a path to a majority, all but ensuring a contested convention right here in Cleveland. That suits the itinerant Kasich just fine. He’s used to traveling the country, riding the rails, living off the hospitality of folks from far-flung corners of this great nation. Four more months on the campaign trail sound just fine to this itchy-footed vagrant, who would otherwise be sleeping in his Winnebago in the parking lot of the Lowe’s that stands across from the boarded-up Governor’s mansion. There’s something romantic, almost Robin Hood-esque, in the story of this poor man robbing a very rich man of so many delegates. Congratulations, Governor. You earned this.
ILLINOIS (69 Republican delegates, 156 Democratic delegates)
While “Da Superfans” may predict “Da Trump” and “Da Sanders” will win by 500 points, I see a closer contest. Trump is up in polls, but his campaign apparatus is floundering, as he recently fired his Illinois campaign director for failing to do anything and spending the mogul’s campaign warchest making memes where Trump is the “Pepe” frog.
However, Ted Cruz has a definite ceiling here. You wouldn’t think it, given Cruz’s spectrum nature and the state’s many train systems, but hear me out. Illinoisans on one hand are metropolitan pizza buffoons who mispronounce all types of words and get blackout drunk while watching their terrible baseball squadrons, but also dip-swelling camo-wearers who make long Facebook posts blaming their frequent DUIs on BlackLivesMatter. My gut tells me that while his lead in the polls is slight, Trump will remain ahead here off of John Kasich eating up anti-Trump votes and Cruz’s inability to sell himself to Illinois voters due to his downright unlikable face and personality.
MISSOURI (49 Republican delegates, 71 Democratic delegates)
This is one I agonized on. Missouri is a very tough state to call, so tough that the home of cowardice that is FiveThirtyEight has decided not to project a winner. While they are fearful children, I empathize for multiple reasons. For one, it’s a mixed state, in that GOP voters are split between racism and transphobia. Obviously the racism vote favors Donald Trump, but social doctrine-enforcing bakeries make up a large portion of the state’s west and they’ll likely go for Ted Cruz. For two, it’s an open primary, but Trump only slightly outperforms polls in open primaries, and there are no polls here.
There’s a lot going on, too. Cruz has a crackerjack campaign manager for Missouri in Jeff Roe. Roe has managed a lot of campaigns, but more importantly, killed a man. That’s right, Roe ran a vicious campaign for governor where he ran radio ads calling Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich “a little bug” and accused him of being Jewish, resulting in Schweich’s tragic suicide. Now, normally I would say this is a great sign for the Cruz campaign because Roe is a guy who just wants to win more than others, but there are reservations here. For one, the anti-Semitic vote is firmly in Trump’s camp. For two, it’s far too late for Cruz to start a whisper campaign that Trump is Jewish. Roe may have success terrorizing Trump volunteers, but we’ll see if that has any effect come voting day.
Kasich will have a pretty poor showing due to rich Missourians’ dislike of drifters who peddle their sob stories south during harsh Ohio winters. Rubio hasn’t even tried. That leaves at the very most around 20% of the vote eaten up by both men. If we’re allowing that, we see that Cruz would need to win around 40% for a clear victory, and that seems difficult even with Roe’s first rate harassment techniques. Per my trademark Southern Racial Voter Theory, anti-gay Midwestern Christians — recently galvanized by Missouri’s anti-trans people bathroom bill — in the southwest of the state will break for Cruz, while Trump will clean up among more resentful, racist brand of Christian who see the protests in Ferguson, MO and the violence at Trump rallies and think, here’s the commander-in-chief we need at the head of our racial holy war.
My gut tells me it’ll be close. Maybe even recount close. But I’m calling the Show Me State for Donald Trump.
FLORIDA (99 Republican delegates, 214 Democratic delegates)
No hanging chads here, folks: Sunshine State Senator Marco Rubio is about to lose his home base by such a big margin to Donald Trump that he shouldn’t even bother asking for a recount. Despite some residual support from elderly Jews and Cuban expats who recognize him from the television, Marco simply can’t overcome the avalanche of Twitter-snarking that met him crying on MSNBC when asked if he’ll support Trump after he drops out. I bet Marco wishes Al Gore never invented the internet in the first place! On the Democratic side, Hillary will win so many votes that she should put them in a lockbox for safekeeping!
NORTH CAROLINA (72 Republican delegates, 107 Democratic delegates)
If there’s one thing I know about North Carolinians it’s that they take their barbeque seriously. And the campaigns know this, too. They’ve been sending out all sorts of Tar Heel BBQ swag to win votes. The Dig got his mitts on a few of these samples, and for the past week his fingers have been stained red and sopping wet with that delicious Piedmont country-style BBQ sauce. With the perfect blend of ketchup, vinegar, pepper, paprika, and red pepper, Piedmont BBQ sauce goes with just about anything you can think of — or nothing at all, as I’ve learned from keeping the bottle a little too temptingly close to my computer, where certain veteran reporters will succumb to the temptation to dip their fingers in or even take a few swigs while hard at work predicting primaries. But as great as Piedmont-style BBQ is, don’t count out Eastern-style BBQ. These folks drop the ketchup and use the whole hog, as I’ve learned from the packages of succulent smoked pig’s feet sent to me by the Clinton campaign. You can just pop one of these hooves in your mouth and suckle on the delicious smoky taste all day. And don’t get me started on the slaw. If you have a hankering for coleslaw with extra extra mayo, get yourself some Eastern North Carolina-style slaw, like the ziploc baggie full of the stuff I received from the Kasich campaign.
It’s safe to say that the real loser in North Carolina is the Dig’s diet! The winners are Clinton and Trump.
Carl “The Dig” Diggler has covered national politics for 30 years, and is the author of “Think-ocracy: The Rise Of The Brainy Congressman”. Got a question for the Dig? E-mail him at email@example.com or Tweet to @carl_diggler.
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