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'Reagan Democrats' Will Be Key to Super Tuesday Success For Trump, Cruz

Image: 'Reagan Democrats' Will Be Key to Super Tuesday Success For Trump, Cruz
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Tuesday, 16 Feb 2016 09:43 PM Current | Bio | Archive

With days to go before South Carolinians vote in the nationally-watched Republican presidential primary, virtually every poll shows Donald Trump maintaining a comfortable lead.

According to one veteran GOP consultant, the ability of Trump as well as that of Ted Cruz to woo Democrats and independents in states that permit crossover voting will make both contenders forces in the eight-state "Super Tuesday" primary March 1.

"If Trump can win in South Carolina and Cruz comes in second, then what you’re seeing are two outsiders appealing to what are typically referred to as 'Reagan Democrats,'" North Carolina GOP consultant Marc Rotterman told Newsmax. He defined "Reagan Democrats" as "blue-collar and middle-income Americans who crossed over—or whose parents crossed over—to vote for Ronald Reagan in 1980 and ’84, but never re-registered as Republicans."

Rotterman, who has no horse in the presidential race this year, pointed out that these "cross-over voters" will be a particularly strong force in the next site of battle for the Republican nomination: the so-called "Super Tuesday" states who will select delegates to the national convention nine days after South Carolina.

Nine of the 14 states choosing delegates on "Super Tuesday" are "open primaries," permitting participation by non-Republican voters. These are Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, and Virginia.

Eight of the nine will hold primaries, with Minnesota choosing delegates by caucus. A total of 434 convention delegates will come out of these states.

In five other states — Alaska, Colorado, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Wyoming — 165 delegates will be chosen in venues that are "closed" to non-Republicans. Only Wyoming will hold a primary, with the other four holding caucuses.

"That’s a lot of delegates that independents and Democrats will get to cross over and vote for the leading Republican candidates," said Rotterman, "and you’ll see Mr. Trump as well as Ted Cruz making special appeals to the blue-collar conservatives in their ranks—the 'Reagan Democrats.'"

Even after a much-criticized performance in the latest televised debate Saturday, Trump was shown by the latest CBS Tracking poll to be leading Ted Cruz by a strong 42-to-20 percent count among likely primary voters in South Carolina.

Farther back in the CBS poll were Marco Rubio with 15 percent, John Kasich 9 percent, and Jeb Bush and Ben Carson tied at 6 percent each.

Rotterman believes that some independents who are not necessarily conservative could potentially break for Trump in South Carolina because of his opposition to the Iraq war.

"Independents can at times decide races in South Carolina," he said, "They played a big part in re-electing [Republican Sen.] Lindsey Graham in 2014 and that same year, they helped nominate a former Democrat who had switched to the Republican Party as state superintendent of public instruction [Molly Mitchell Spearman, who won the primary over conservative Sally Atwater, widow of the late Republican National Chairman Lee Atwater].

"Mr. Trump may know exactly what he is doing when he appeals to the independent voter in South Carolina."

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.


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With days to go before South Carolinians vote in the nationally-watched Republican presidential primary, virtually every poll shows Donald Trump maintaining a comfortable lead.
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Tuesday, 16 Feb 2016 09:43 PM
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