Jonathan Tobin of Commentary explains why Sen. Ted Cruz (TP-Texas) and not Jeb!!!!$$$$? was the biggest loser coming out of South Carolina.
[T]he most decisive result in South Carolina was the blow dealt to Cruz’s campaign.
With its huge evangelical vote and a large number of veterans and conservatives of all stripes, South Carolina seemed to be a place that Cruz ought to win in much the same manner as his Iowa triumph. His ground game was the best of the candidates, and Trump’s abandonment of conservative positions on a host of issues should have convinced religious conservatives to resist the temptation to vote for the reality star. But it didn’t. Trump beat Cruz among evangelicals and every other conservative demographic.
This is a staggering blow to Cruz’s belief that he can win conservative states, like those in the south that will vote in the SEC super primary on March 1st. If Cruz can’t beat Rubio, let alone get anywhere close to Trump in South Carolina, how can he possibly do it elsewhere in the south? Perhaps, Cruz is counting on winning his home state of Texas, but even that is not a certainty.
Cruz’s assumption was that once other candidates that appealed to social conservatives like Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum dropped out, he could count on a united evangelical vote. But what Trump showed us in South Carolina is that there is no such thing as a united bloc of religious conservatives. Or even of Tea Party voters that should, in theory, also be flocking to Cruz. What’s killing Cruz is that a lot of people who ought not to be voting for someone with Trump’s record are doing so. Cruz is right that he is the principled conservative that represents the beliefs of these voters. But they are still voting for Trump.
South Carolina did give us one firm conclusion about the GOP race. By losing his base voters to Trump, Cruz seems to have no path to the nomination. That makes him, and not Bush, the big loser in South Carolina.