We were burned the last time we suggested that Donald Trump was on his way to victory, but this time around the polls are much clearer. With a consistent lead in the double digits, Trump is the heavy favorite to win the primary, as is Bernie Sanders on the Democratic side.
A loss for Trump would be devastating, a clear sign that he can’t translate his popularity into votes. But a win for Trump, while anticipated, would be a huge deal, too. A year ago, who would have thought that a candidate who literally calls his rivals “pussies” could win the nation’s first primary? And with an actual victory in hand, Trump will be in a position to build on his momentum as the race turns to South Carolina and beyond.
Still, the real action is thought to be in the contest for second place, where the GOP hopes one of the establishment candidates can break out of a crowded pack. The party had briefly appeared to be coalescing around Marco Rubio, but that was before Chris Christie took a sledgehammer to his rumored motherboard, causing the candidate to jam like a broken printer.
John Kasich, aka the Prince of Light, is nipping at Rubio’s heels in the RCP average of polls. And there is even speculation that Jeb Bush could make a stronger-than-expected finish, which would both rescue his family’s legacy and help compensate for his inability to throw a snowball.