As unusual as it seems for three major contests to be split between three Republican presidential candidates, it's actually the pattern of having one dominant candidate every four years with only one or two serious challengers that is relatively new. On the Republican side, the pattern of a clear frontrunner slapping down an insurgent candidate in, say, South Carolina only developed in 1980. For the Democrats, it was 2000. (Although Bill Clinton was the "Comback Kid" in New Hampshire in 1992, he didn't actually come in first anywhere until Georgia weeks into the voting and he faced competitive primaries as late as when he faced off against Jerry Brown in California.)
If we end up with a brokered Republican convention too, then things will really be done the old fashioned way. Of course, we'll see what happens after South Carolina and Florida. There's still time for a candidate to pick up momentum going into Feb. 5th.
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