In Ted Cruz´words: It is now officially a two man race! In the sense at least that only Ted Cruz and Donald Trump still have the opportunity to reach the magic number of 1237 delegates needed to clinch the Republican nomination outright. In reality though only Donald Trump does in fact have a path to nomination by pure strength of delegates. To even come close to 1237 delegates Ted Cruz would need to win several states that are outright hostile territory demographically.
Donald Trumps Path To Nomination
Donald Trumps path to nomination is not easy either, but he does have a road ahead.
Current Republican Delegate Counts:
Donald Trump – 691 delegates
Ted Cruz -412 delegates
John Kasich – 146 delegates
Needed to win: 1237 delegates
Now lets look at the path ahead. All the future contests are listed below.
First lets have a look at the states where Donald Trump is an overwhelming favorite to grab winner-take-all or winner take most: Arizona 28, New York 95, Pennsylvania 71 and New Jersey 51. If Donald Trump wins these 4 and adds around 220-240 delegates he will have 920-940 delegates behind him, making him 200-220 delegates short of clinching the nomination.
The easiest way to close the remaining gap obviously goes through California with its massive 172 delegate winner-take-all prize. If he grabs that one the is home safe with other wins and proportional delegates grabbed elsewhere.
The Republican Primary Calendar
|Mar 22||American Samoa||9||Caucus (open)||(No allocation)||N/A|
|Mar 22||Arizona||58||Primary (closed)||Winner-take-all||N/A|
|Mar 22||Utah||40||Caucus (semi-closed)||Winner-take-most||15%|
|Apr 5||Wisconsin||42||Primary (open)||Winner-take-all||N/A|
|Apr 19||New York||95||Primary (closed)||Winner-take-most||20%|
|Apr 26||Connecticut||28||Primary (closed)||Winner-take-most||20%|
|Apr 26||Delaware||16||Primary (closed)||Winner-take-all||N/A|
|Apr 26||Maryland||38||Primary (closed)||Winner-take-all||N/A|
|Apr 26||Pennsylvania||71||Primary (closed)||Winner-take-all||N/A|
|Apr 26||Rhode Island||19||Primary (semi-closed)||Proportional||10%|
|May 3||Indiana||57||Primary (open)||Winner-take-all||N/A|
|May 10||Nebraska||36||Primary (closed)||Winner-take-all||N/A|
|May 10||West Virginia||34||Primary (semi-closed)||Direct Elec.||N/A|
|May 17||Oregon||28||Primary (closed)||Proportional||3.57%|
|May 24||Washington||44||Primary (closed)||Proportional||20%|
|June 7||California||172||Primary (closed)||Winner-take-all||N/A|
|June 7||Montana||27||Primary (closed)||Winner-take-all||N/A|
|June 7||New Jersey||51||Primary (semi-closed)||Winner-take-all||N/A|
|June 7||New Mexico||24||Primary (closed)||Proportional||15%|
|June 7||South Dakota||29||Primary (closed)||Winner-take-all||N/A|
Polling For Upcoming Republican Contests
In general you can follow the latest primary polls here in our tracking. We highly recommend visiting 538s Primary Forecasts as well – a very useful and clever tool for looking at and beyond the polling data to get an idea of where we are headed.
We have very little and rather old polling data for the 22 March contests in Utah and Arizona. They are both states where one would expect Ted Cruz to have a fair shot at beating Donald Trump based on endorsements, amounts of evangelicals and other demographics. Throughout April on the other hand we move north to more blue collar and/or liberal leaning states that should be tailor made for Donald Trump to inch very close to the magic number with wins in say Delaware, Connecticut, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and New York.
In the April contests the contender to look out for would presumably be a reinvigorated John Kasich backed by the entire GOP establishment in his attempts to take away wins from Donald Trump. Yet again we have too little solid polling data in most of these states to make any kind of predictions. Particularly since most of the polling is from times with a massively larger field of contenders. However, one thing we can note by looking at some of the polling we do have is that Donald Trump will not be a no-show in any of these contests.
Pennsylvania Polling (from Real Clear Politics) – RCP Average (3/2): Trump 28,5, Rubio 18,5, Cruz 16,5, Kasich 13
New York Polling (from Real Clear Politics) – Siena 3/3: Trump 45, Rubio 18, Kasich 18, Cruz 11
Maryland Polling (from Real Clear Politics) – Baltimore Sun 3/8: Trump 34, Cruz 25, Kasich 18, Rubio 14
Wisconsin Polling (from Real Clear Politics) – Marquette 2/22: Trump 30, Rubio 20, Cruz 19, Kasich 8, Carson 8
As you can see the polling is less than convincing for the April contests. Look out for better pointers in coming days and weeks. If Trump pulls ahead in the big winner-take-all states or in certain regions it could all essentially end in late April. If on the other hand it tightens against Kasich in the north and Cruz elsewhere, we could be counting single delegates till the day of the convention
Could Trump Blow It ?
You might be sitting there thinking Donald Trump has every possibility of winning those 60% of the remaining delegates he needs. The map does seem to favor him. But remember the field has narrowed and the opposition to Trump has solidified to an extent where GOP establishments are willing to back former pariah Ted Cruz.
Tactical voting has come to the republican races, meaning Cruz supporters are likely to vote Kasich in areas where the latter threatens Trump and vice versa. Further plenty of Super Pacs will be flooding American TV screens with negative advertising aimed at Donald Trump. Non stop. In every upcoming state.
So. The race is actually Trumps to loose by now. At first sight it sounds hard to win 60% of remaining delegates. But plenty of huge winner-take-all prizes in places that favor him are coming up. He could still end up falling short of 1237 delegates. It is very hard to see anyone else getting there though meaning it is basically Trump or a contested delegation.
Does Trump Lose A Contested Convention ?
Does Trump Lose A Contested Convention ? Lets say Trump turns up having won say 1100 delegates and a majority of states and the highest % of the popular vote (which is a fairly likely bet if he misses the outright path).
Right now there are no rules for the coming convention. As they havent been written yet. There are no “standard” or “ongoing” rules for the conventions. Last time they were worried about Ron Paul so they put in the 8 state rule to avoid him putting his name in the hat on the convention floor. This time, given the committee is filled with GOP establishment you can be pretty sure the rules will favor whatever plan they have. In this (imagined) case the rules for the convention will probably be something like allowing anyone holding a GOP position to put in a bid for the nomination and setting everyone free on second vote. Thus the establishment will hope Paul Ryan, John Kasich, Mitt Romney or whoever they are plotting grabs the win on the second vote.
If that happened defeat in november would be more or less guaranteed (you do not stick a finger in the eye of 30-40% of your voters without losing some to the sofa) … and Donald Trump + supporters would go nuts and the convention might well dissolve into madness. In fact, Donald Trump has already started prepping for exactly such a situation by declaring it would lead to “riots“, “a GOP civil war” and similar.
However, Trump is a chess player too. If he has 1100 delegates in his own pocket – nothing is stopping him striking a deal with say John Kasich for VP – or with those uncommitted after the drop-outs of Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush etc … to clinch 1237 on the first or second vote by including those.
So no. The establishment might blink first and hand him the nomination if he is close enough. To avoid a convention war. Alternatively Donald Trump might do the work himself by collection enough extra delegates on top of his own wins to clinch it. A future president Trump would have plenty of cabinet posts and other goodies to throw on the table to do the latter.
Will Donald Trump Be The Nominee ?
Yes. If I had to put my money anywhere it would be on Donald Trump becoming the Republican nominee. Donald Trumps path to nomination is neither simple nor easy but it is doable, realistic and the only possible outcome save a contested convention.
And a contested convention does not equal a Donald Trump loss either. He can fall short of 1237 delegates and still clinch the nomination by striking deals, bullying the establishment and a variety of other ways. He is far from a certain winner. But he has a path. He is the likely winner.