Who drops out after South Carolina?
If Bush finishes well behind Rubio, even if it’s in fourth place and not fifth place, I think he definitely drops out. Anything but a third-place finish drastically underperforms expectations for the guy who used to be the front-runner and who spent a massive amount of money on his campaign. 6th place in Iowa, 4th place in New Hampshire, and then 4th place in South Carolina, that’s a big loser with no chance of winning. He will capitulate and spend the rest of his life nursing a deep personal hatred for both Donald Trump and Marco Rubio.
Kasich is more interesting. The GOPe is going to want him to drop out so that their Boy Wonder, Rubio, can finally fly free as the undisputed choice of the so-called “establishment lane.” But if Kasich comes in fourth place ahead of Bush, as the latest PPP poll suggests, he is going to very much want to stay in.
He will convince himself that his New Hampshire strategy has paid off, he beat Bush and now has the momentum to pull ahead of Rubio on Super Tuesday. He probably believes his own only-adult-in-the-room shtick and considers Rubio to be one of the non-adults from whom he has to save the Republican Party. Only Kasich can win the general election because Rubio has made himself too extreme on immigration and he’s also too extreme on abortion, having said that he opposes abortion even in cases of rape and incest. Kasich supports “reasonable” exceptions for rape , incest and the life of the mother. Therefore, even if by Kasich staying in the race prevents Rubio from winning the nomination, it doesn’t matter because whomever besides Kasich wins the nomination will lose to Hillary.
Of course, the GOPe will really want Kasich to get the hell out of there before Super Tuesday. It will be interesting to see how that plays out.
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The reasoning above represents Kasich’s thought process. I personally believe that Trump has the best chance of beating Hillary because only Trump can win the prole white vote away from the Democrats, and Trump’s anti-immigration platform helps him win over prole whites.