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RUSH: Wait. I just heard something. I need to double-check. I just heard that Trump is over 300 delegates right now? I don’t have that number. I’ve got Trump at around 285. 285? Okay. So he’s not north of 300 yet. In fact, that’s actually a pretty important number. There were a lot of people expecting him to be north of 300 after last night, and he’s not.

Anyway, here we are, folks. You have come to the one place you know you can count on to make sense of all this with honest appraisals of everything that you saw happen last night. Right here, the RushLimbaugh.com and the Limbaugh Institute for Advanced Conservative Studies. Telephone number, if you want to join us, 800-282-2882, and the e-mail address, ElRushbo@eibnet.com.

All right. Nate Silver’s site says that Trump has 332 delegates right now, Cruz is at 221. These are nowhere near the numbers that I got earlier this morning. Now I’m confused. Anyway, the point will still hold, because if you take Trump’s delegates, let’s do what I have here first, 285, explain to you why everybody’s gonna stay in this, to the consternation of you can’t believe how many people.

The numbers that I had going into the program today, 285 for Trump, 160 for Cruz, 87 for Rubio, 25 for Kasich, and 8 for Carson. Now, if you look at it a different way, you’ve got Trump at 285 and the field at 280. And that’s why nobody’s getting out. Tom DeLay was on PMSNBC last night, and a lot of establishment types are out there actually pushing the following theory, that as long as these people stay in — that’s now the objective, for Rubio to stay in, or Cruz to stay in.

You might have heard otherwise, that there’s a desire for one of these two to get out and everybody to unify and go head-to-head against Trump. And there are some people that want to do that. But the contra theory to that — okay, the other list, the Nate Silver list is Trump 332, Cruz 221 and Rubio 115. That would mean that Rubio and Cruz combined have more delegates than Trump has by four. So either way you see here that the opposition to Trump is still at or near his total.

Look at this! The New York Times is saying 316 for Trump, 226 for Cruz, and 106 for Rubio. So I’ve got three different delegate counts here. But the point still holds, because the first leg of the theory is that it’s not the states that you win going in, it is the delegates of course and the number is 1,237 that any Republican needs to win this thing, and the more delegates Trump did not win, the greater the likelihood he would arrive in Cleveland short of the 1,237.

And if that happens, if nobody shows up to the convention with 1,237 and the first vote those delegates are pledged, but then, after the first vote, where nobody gets to — and you can guarantee that when the horse trading begins Trump would be in there doing his famous dealing making. So once the second vote starts, it’s free for all, anybody can vote for anybody. I mean, there might be a few short small number of pledged delegates.

So the objective here is one of two ways: Either keep everybody in this for as long as the money makes it possible and deny Trump 1,237 delegates, and that theory admits that nobody can beat him. That theory admits that nobody else can get there, either. Then throw this open to a second vote, and once that happens then all bets are off and you could have not a brokered convention, but you have the horse trading that would go on.

The other scenario that Cruz and Rubio get together and one of them decide that the other can’t make it — and Kasich. The Drive-Bys and the establishment are really mad at Kasich today because they think if Kasich had gotten out by now that Rubio would have won Virginia. That’s how minute this is. Here’s a guy that has not yet — well, he did win a state. He won Minnesota. You know, this is interesting, too. Rubio wins Minnesota, the only state Reagan lost in a landslide 1984 against Walter F. Mondale. Mondale from Minnesota won his own state, Rubio said to be a Reaganite goes to Minnesota, wins where Reagan didn’t and loses everywhere else Reagan won, and it happens to be a caucus state, Minnesota, which is pretty much a left wing leaning state.

The other objective is for one of these two guys to get out and the party to unify against Trump, and then that brings in something that Lindsey Grahamnesty said. Because you’ve got two options here. You’ve got uniting behind Rubio, which right now is what the establishment would prefer to do and what they’re trying to do, but I don’t care how they try to spin this, this was not a good night for Rubio last night. A lot of people on the Rubio side are obviously are trying to spin this as a night where he did better than was thought. But he didn’t even reach the 20% threshold in a number of states to even get some delegates there. And they’re holding on, “Hey, look at Virginia, look at Virginia, if Kasich hadn’t been there, why, we would have won Virginia.”

They point to the one state they may have won had Kasich not been in, and this is the guy they’re trying to tout as the actual winner, the guy of the rest of the field that is the legitimate choice to take down Trump. And the reason for that is they despise Cruz. They literally hate Cruz. Ted Cruz had a good night last night. Now, if you measure it against expectations, you know, going in, he was going to sweep Super Tuesday. This is before Trump got in and screwed everything up, but he was gonna sweep Super Tuesday and last night was the night Ted Cruz was gonna effectively have nailed down the nomination before Trump got in and changed the dynamics of everything.

A lot of things became clear to me last night as the candidates spoke. A lot of things came into focus for me last night about what they’re doing right, what they’re doing wrong, and I will share as much of that as time permits as the program unfolds today.

So the theory is you’ve got one of these two guys pull out and they go head-to-head with Trump and try to win this thing before you get to Cleveland. And Lindsey Grahamnesty actually said on CBS last night, “If Marco doesn’t win Florida on the 15th, I don’t know how Marco does it. I don’t know how Marco goes for it. Ted Cruz is not my favorite by any means, but we may be in a position where we have to rally around Ted Cruz as the only way to stop Donald Trump, and I’m not so sure that would work.”

For them to say that, they are panicked even more than I thought they were, if they’re actually talking about aligning behind Ted Cruz. They don’t… I thought if the establishment had to make a choice they would choose Trump simply because they think Trump has the constituency that they claim that they would like, or they’ve claimed in recent years they think they need in order to win consistently, a broad-based coalition — and, they think Trump is “malleable.”

You’ve heard that word go around, that Trump will negotiate and make deals; that he’s not nearly as ideologically locked into things as Cruz is. Therefore, “Cruz is intractable, inflexible. We can’t work with him! Plus, he’s the worst of all worlds, being a legitimate Christian conservative.” For Lindsey Grahamnesty to come out and say they might have to coalesce behind Cruz kind of took me by surprise, ’cause I really thought if anything like that happened they would choose Trump. The other thing, folks, is last night Trump did something that he hasn’t done before.

Rather than do a victory celebration, he did a press conference. The press conference was scheduled for nine p.m. There was a rumor floating around that the press conference would feature a major blockbuster announcement, and the media started circulating a rumor that the major blockbuster announcement would be endorsement of Trump by the Florida governor Rick Scott. I was telling people all night, “I don’t think that’s a blockbuster.” People disagreed with me.

“What do you mean? It’s the governor of Florida; he’s in Florida. Florida’s in two weeks. Remember what Crist endorsing McCain did.”

“Yeah, I know. But it doesn’t seem the same.”

Anyway, it turned out to not happen. What did happen is, Rubio made sure to show up at nine o’clock, beating Trump to the microphone. I don’t know whether that was planned. My guess is that it was. And it is clear to me that Marco Rubio is trying to get under Trump’s skin for this debate tomorrow night. It is clear to me, this constant accusation that he’s a con man — referring to him as a con man and accusing him of all kinds of stuff — it is designed, I think, to drive Trump crazy.

I think he’s hoping and angling for a Trump explosion on the debate stage in Detroit tomorrow night. But it seemed over the top to me. It seemed just a little bit beyond what I would call within the realm of reality. It seemed overly contrived and provocative. And, look, I don’t blame these guys for when, in the midst of disappointing losses, they’re trying to spin it and make it look like there’s all kinds of positives and they’re winning. It’s all about perception and momentum, and I totally understand it.

But there does come a point where you have to know whether or not somebody’s grounded in reality. Remember Clinton Eastwood’s old philosophy: “A man’s got to know his limitations.” And that’s in direct conflict with “the power of positive thinking” and never giving up. But there are positive arguments to make in both sentiments. You have to know your limitations, but you never, ever give up either. They seem conflicting and contradictory, but, used properly, they’re not.

Well, then Trump came out when Rubio was finished. The contrast couldn’t have been greater. Rubio appears to be in a barn with average, ordinary people — a barn or a cigar factory down in Miami. Here comes Trump in the ballroom at Mar-a-Lago, which is decorated like the Palace of Versailles. And Trump comes out and does a press conference, not a victory celebration of any kind. And if I had one person observe to me, I had 15 observe to me, “My God, the guy looks more presidential tonight than I’ve ever seen.

“He’s reasonable sounding. His temperament is perfectly composed. He hasn’t insulted anybody. He looks confident and ready to go and so forth.” But standing behind his right shoulder was the governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, who six New Jersey newspapers have demanded resign. They claim that Christie has totally abandoned the state of New Jersey, the people of this state of New Jersey for his own quixotic dreams. He’s seeking fame and fortune knowing full well his elected political career is over.

If he’s not gonna come back and finish out his term and be responsible fulfilling his duties as governor, then he should just resign and go be Trump’s puppy dog or something like that. Now, Governor Christie’s not used to be being a background person. He’s not used to being unnoticed. He’s not used to being second fiddle. And however it was planned and however it worked out, he appeared to be a decoration last night, standing behind Trump’s right shoulder while Trump is at his podium coming off as more presidential than he has to date at any time — maybe a couple other times.

But last night was consistently the most within boundaries. He was reserved, he was substantive, he was contained. He was not all over the place bouncing after walls and so forth. He basically eliminated the stream of consciousness that usually guide his appearances and stuck to a script of sorts in terms of messaging. But there was poor Christie standing behind him not knowing what to do. His eyes are darting around like he’s waiting for a chandelier to fall on him or something.

He’s standing behind Trump thinking, “My God, is there a sniper out there? Do I need to be looking?” He looked totally uncomfortable. He looked to me like it was a hostage video. But the Drive-Bys are obsessed with it. The Drive-Bys are totally obsessed with this today. They can’t… I mean, it arguably is one of the biggest stories throughout the Drive-By Media today. And this is from the same people who lecture all of us about our politics turning unserious and surface, no depth. Here they are focusing on this, ’cause they would love to embarrass Christie.

They would do anything they could to diminish his reputation, his image and so forth. And they claim that they’d be able to do it here with these shots. I mean, their Twitter and Facebook and Instagrams of these various poses that Christie made. I mean, he was… Trump went, what, 45 minutes? Trump had one of his sons, Eric, also on stage. But Eric was wisely out of the camera shot. So it was just Trump and Christie, and the contrast here — I mentioned this — is Rubio goes first, and he’s just launching into Trump, and saying Trump is this or that.

Have I got this order wrong? Did Trump go first or was it Rubio that went first last night, do you recall? (interruption) Rubio went first? (interruption) Yeah. Okay. Yeah. Rubio… Yeah, he was back in interview sessions. But I mean his appearance down at his… (interruption) Okay, yeah. And he was just, I mean, laying into Trump like a continuation of the last debate. “Con man this, con man here, liar this, liar that.” He was just brutal.

And Trump shows up and is mild-mannered and presidential and acting like an adult. And he was even conciliatory to Cruz! He praised Cruz. (summarized) “At least Cruz has won something. I know how hard it is to win,” Trump said. “I have a lot of respect for Ted Cruz. He’s worked really hard. Winning is really hard. Marco? Poor Marco hasn’t won anything.” He laid into Rubio a little bit. But the contrast was striking to me.


RUSH: Okay. The delegate math, it’s confusing. It depends on where you go. Every site has a different number because they’re combining actual delegates with estimates because there’s still some uncounted votes and other vagaries out there that make it hard to nail it down. But it looks like a solid bottom line is to say that Trump is north of 300. Now, the number sticks in my head because I remember so many people talking last night as I was flipping around various networks watching postelection analysis that if Trump was under 300, it wasn’t bad.

But it was below expectations.

Everything is an expectations game now. It’s an expectations game with Rubio in Florida on the 15th. It’s an expectations game with Cruz. He didn’t fulfill them, he didn’t meet them, according to what his own expectations were — what his own guidance, if you will, was. And Trump was supposed to run the table last night according to the polling data, and he didn’t in some places. I even read one place today somebody thinks it was very smart… I think it was maybe Charlie Hurt at the Washington Times who has a story.

Trump’s Winning Streak Baffles GOP Losing Club for Losers.” The theory is that Trump let Cruz win in Texas, that Trump wanted Cruz to win in Texas and therefore didn’t really go and contest Texas much, because he wants the field to remain crowded. But the upshot of all this is that the hope of the establishment is that Trump — and I heard a number of people say this last night. We’re still working this out ourselves here. This is such a convoluted attempt here to unravel. It’s an intricately woven web of deceit, this delegate stuff. The objective here is to keep Trump short of 1,237 before everybody gets to Cleveland this summer.

That seems to be the objective now, among some.

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