Post-Super Tuesday blues
"Sometimes, at night, do you still hear them, Clarice? The screaming of the Christies?" asks Washington Post's Alexandra Petri in today's most celebrated political column titled "Chris Christie’s wordless screaming" (already at 15,000+ shares). Yes, the look on the New Jersey governor's face as he dutifully yet grimly stood behind Donald Trump at last night's Super Tuesday victory speech proffered plentiful fodder for Petri's post: "His were the eyes of a man who has gazed into the abyss, and the abyss gazed back, and then he endorsed the abyss" and "Chris Christie is realizing that the steak he gets to eat inside the Matrix is not worth this." Pitchfork's Philip Sherburne implores "Look deeply into Christie's eyes, and then read this on Chris Christie's wordless screaming." Washingtonian's Benjamin R. Freed similarly urges, "Read @petridishes on last night's hostage video, er, I mean Trump press conference." At KPCC, Austin Cross quips, "Christie, are you okay? Are you okay, Christie?" And journalist Charles Jaco bills it as "Faust staged in Palm Beach: having sold his soul, there was nothing left inside Chris Christie except the fear." We won't give any more of this priceless piece away, but you really should go read it for yourself. Okay, fine, just one more delicious morsel: "He looked as if he had seen a ghost and the ghost had made him watch Mufasa die again."
And, oh, the Vines. There was this one from Ronan Farrow, or this one basically set to circus music. "My not terribly thorough investigation reveals that the Curb Your Enthusiasm Christie vine is the best Christie vine," declares Rolling Stone's Lauren Kelley. Christie's bad day doesn't end there, either: no fewer than six N.J. newspapers have called on Christie to resign, because endorsing Trump is just that bad. "As uncomfortable as @ChrisChristie looks on stage, it might be better than going home," muses commentator David Axelrod. "Schadenchristie? Christiefreude? either way tastes good," shrugs freelancer Sarah Jaffe. And all the while, the GOP split widens to a chasm.
Now for the main course: Hillary Clinton won seven states compared to rival Bernie Sanders’ four, but Clinton notably made few references to her opponent, instead taking the position of “presumptive nominee” and going for the big target: Trump. By comparison, the Republican race is a bit more complicated: Trump secured an impressive seven states and offered a highly irregular victory speech (the one that gifted us with Christie gifs), even as a CBS poll shows nearly three-quarters of non-Trump GOP voters said they would not be satisfied if he won the nomination. Still, as Philip Bump chillingly points out, no Republican nominee has ever won all of the different states that Trump just did, and even "Donald Drumpf" is beating Rubio and Cruz for second in web searches. "KEEP GOOGLING," commands Politico's Michael Kruse.
So how exactly did we reach this Trump tipping point? From a sarcastic GOP admaker quoted in The Atlantic: “A generation of work with African Americans—slow, patient work—I can’t tell you how great it is that we’ve pissed that away because of Donald Trump in one day." And pissed away it has been, when you consider that white supremacists reportedly are broadcasting from inside Trump rallies and if you believe Shaun King's New York Daily News prediction that it won't be long before someone gets killed at a Trump rally. "This is what happens when politicians preach xenophobia, this time in the USA," warns Washington Post's Anne Applebaum. At the Financial Times, Martin Wolf goes so far as to claim Trump embodies how great republics meet their end, because "[e]ven if he fails, he has rendered the unthinkable sayable." Douglas Busvine at Reuters isn't ready to go that far, however: "Commentariat one-upmanship on Trump: A new Augustus Caesar? Err OK."
Elsewhere in the GOP race, Ted Cruz took in home state of Texas as expected, but also collected nearby Oklahoma and squeaked in a win in Alaska, all of which prompted him to offer his own speech presenting the current state of the primaries as a two-person race. Marco Rubio captured Minnesota, although the number of delegates won’t help him much, while John Kasich won none but came very close in Vermont. Finally, Ben Carson barely made a mark anywhere, but previously the good doctor stubbornly vowed to remain in the race until a candidate reaches that magical 1,237 number (although the Post has a scoop that Carson is expected to tell supporters any moment now that he sees "no path forward" for his campaign). This strategy might not be so bad if trailing candidates like Carson and Kasich managed to siphon off delegates from Trump in the blue states while Cruz and Rubio pick away delegates in the red zones, but that doesn't mean establishment Republicans aren't furious with Kasich, who "almost certainly prevented Rubio from winning Virginia," points out BuzzFeed's McKay Coppins.
But wait, this just in: Mitt Romney, yes, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, that Romney, is poised to give a "major address" some time today about the panicked state of the GOP race -- although a person close to him claims, "This is not an endorsement or announcement of candidacy."