Riding high on the wins of three out of four Republican primaries, Donald Trump is not only leading the GOP, but redefining it.
The billionaire-turned-politician has managed to turn the GOP’s stability, which has been well maintained since 1976. Over the last four decades, the GOP has followed the same routine, where presidential contests are narrowed to one conservative insurgent and the establishment-embraced front runner. Trump has changed the routine.
We’re now seeing the Republican Party being shattered into three strands. Marco Rubio takes the GOP’s mainstream lane, while Ted Cruz is at the helm of the conservative purists. Trump has created his own lane, and he’s leading a group of angry populists – and his support continues to grow by the day.
Trump’s campaign speaks to men and women of the working class who feel abandoned both culturally and economically. The presidential hopeful has drawn in new voters, won over the evangelicals in South Carolina and brought home a tremendous win in Nevada. Trump is bringing together conservatives who can’t relate to conservative insurgents or the mainstream Republicans.
Trump has succeeded at winning the disaffected, while Cruz has resonated with hardliners. Cruz won 44% of voters who considered themselves “very conservative” in Iowa. Cruz won that same group of voters again in South Carolina, despite falling to third place. However, in Nevada, Trump won this group 38% to 34%.
All three candidates, Rubio, Trump and Cruz, each have a following that may prevent their rivals from securing the 1,237 delegates needed to win the nomination. And none have been willing to compromise with the others thus far.