After a wild weekend of voting and debating, the ranks of presidential hopefuls have been bloodied if not yet quite bowed. Don’t count on anyone dropping out this week but some of the campaigners are staggering badly. That leads my three things to watch this week in politics.
ELIMINATION ROUNDS: Ted Cruz is crowing about his weekend wins as well he might. His victories came after a generally strong week that seems to have cemented him as the chief challenger to Donald Trump. The front runner, meanwhile, is bragging about his wins too…and trying to rebound from the losses. But what about Marco Rubio and John Kasich? Michigan, Mississippi, Hawaii and Idaho are coming up Tuesday for the GOP, and if those two trailing candidates don’t somehow produce stronger numbers the drumbeat will grow considerably louder for them to give it up and go home.
RUNAWAY TRAIN: For the Dems, Hillary Clinton’s delegate lead keeps growing. Bernie Sanders is still hanging in there but he also must do much better when the Dems vote this week. Mississippi is unlikely to help him. His real target: Michigan. If he does well there, watch the bounce come back into his step at least a little bit. If not? She starts looking a lot more like a train pulling out of the station that he can’t catch no matter how hard he runs.
PICKING SIDES: As the race tightens, so does the scramble to pick sides – especially for the GOP. Last week a series of broadsides were fired at Trump by members of his own party, and after this weekend’s vote you can watch for the attacks to keep coming. It is not clear that they’ve really done any damage to the New York billionaire, but the establishment Repubs are watching his delegates mount and getting desperate to stop him.
(CNN’s Tom Foreman is the author of My Year of Running Dangerously)