Florida is the biggest delegate prize of the night, with 99, and it is winner-take-all. All those delegates? Yeah, they’re going to Trump, according to all the major outlets.
This is, of course, a Very Bad Thing for the #NeverTrump movement, but even worse for Marco Rubio, who really has no realistic path to winning the nomination without a contested convention.
Whatever spin his campaign puts on it, the fact is Florida is a huge watershed for Rubio. This loss is devastating to any hope of momentum and certainly kills the chance that he’ll be seen as competitive going forward. In fact, it quite the opposite. It has created a giant moment for Donald Trump.
Trump now has a commanding delegate lead. He now has a huge boost to momentum. That air of inevitability his campaign has tried to foster and the anti-Trump movement has tried to quash takes on a new life.
Ted Cruz remains a huge obstacle to that inevitability. But there is no question this is a big psychological victory. This wasn’t a tight race. Trump won it in a walk. He crushed his opponents.
What does Rubio do from here? It’s hard to say. Nobody is buying ads for him beyond what’s been paid for. He has vowed to campaign tomorrow in Utah, but one wonders if the question is “for whom?” The expectation, or in some cases the hope, is that Rubio drops out as early as tomorrow and throws his support to Cruz. But that remains to be seen.
In all, a big, big win for Trump, and a devastating crushing loss for Marco Rubio.
UPDATE: It did not take long. Marco Rubio suspended his campaign shortly after the polls closed.
UPDATE 2: Video of Marco Rubio’s full speech.