On this day, March 15, in 44 BC, Julius Caesar was assassinated by members of Rome’s ruling class; changing the course of history in the Roman Empire forever.
Caesar was something of a populist, anti-establishment figure in Rome; and one with authoritarian tendencies at that. As he continued to amass power, the ruling class in Rome, seeking to restore order, and the republic itself, hatched a plot to assassinate him. While the plan succeeded, the republic was never restored and a Civil War ensued.
Fast forward to 2016 and you will see something similar unfolding in the Republican Party. The Republican establishment has tried just about everything they can think of to stop the rise and momentum of Donald Trump. A populist, anti-establishment figure with authoritarian tendencies himself.
Illinois and Missouri have winner take all statewide and/or in congressional districts. Meaning the winner of the overall state vote gets the number of statewide delegates available and the winner of the vote in each state’s congressional district gets all of the delegates available in said district.
Only North Carolina has a proportional allocation of delegates today. It is based on the statewide vote and each candidate is awarded one delegate for every 1.39% of the vote they get.
Given all of this, it is pretty obvious why most of the focus is on Florida and Ohio. Florida has 99 winner take all delegates up for grabs; Ohio has 66. If polls are correct, Trump will walk away with Florida; taking home all 99 delegates and putting the final nail in the coffin of the Rubio campaign at the same time.
So, I will channel the great Tim Russert and say the GOP’s last stand comes down to Ohio, Ohio, Ohio. The party turns its lonely eyes to John Kasich. There is reason to be hopeful if you are the Republican Party. Polls show John Kasich either tied with or slightly leading Donald Trump.
There are other interesting contests tonight. It’ll be interesting to see if Ted Cruz can notch a victory in either Missouri or Illinois; where polls show a close race.
It will also be interesting to see if Hillary Clinton can stop Bernie Sanders in the rust belt states like Ohio, Illinois, and Missouri voting on the Democratic side. Sanders has new found momentum after a shocking win in Michigan, and Clinton needs some convincing wins to show people his victory there was just an outlier.
But Ohio, on the Republican side, is the only state to really watch.
If Kasich pulls off the favorite son victory, Trumps path to 1,237 is possible, but a lot more difficult. A Trump win here puts him clearly in the driver’s seat. More so than he is already.
If this happens, the GOP’s only recourse to stopping a Trump nomination is to try and take it from him at the convention. Achieving this feat will have similar ramifications to that day in 44 BC. The establishment will have killed the rising authoritarian; but they will likely start a civil war that will change the course of history in a political party that has been a pillar in American politics ever since Abraham Lincoln and fellow abolitionists created it in the 1850s.
Today is the Republican Party’s last chance to stop Donald Trump. The ruling class in Rome likely could have stopped Caesar before it was too late; thereby avoiding the extreme measure they ultimately had to take.
There were several instances throughout this primary season where Donald Trump’s rise could have been stopped dead in its tracks. And yet, here we are. A Trump victory in Ohio away from the unthinkable.
To make another reference to the Roman Empire; one has to wonder why the Republican Establishment, for so long throughout this process, channeled Nero playing the fiddle while Rome burned down around them.