The Corner

A Formula for a Fast Winnowing of the Field

Idle speculation: What if Cruz wins Iowa and Trump wins New Hampshire? That’s the scenario that would cause the most heartburn among a lot of Republican elected officials, consultants, and donors. I assume that they would favor Cruz over Trump–but I don’t think that these results would make them resign themselves to that choice. What they would do instead, probably, is start uniting behind whichever candidate came in behind Trump in New Hampshire, particularly if the result was close, and put intense pressure on the rest of the candidates to drop out. (This assumes, of course, that Cruz isn’t the one who comes in second to Trump. If he does, there will be more heartburn, and some unification around the third-place finisher, again especially if the results are close.) In that case, we would see a Trump/Cruz/Candidate X (where X = Rubio, Christie, Kasich, or Bush) race develop fairly quickly.

(disclosure)

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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