Trump's Precarious Path to the Nomination
Winning the GOP nomination is hard enough for a traditional candidate who doesn't rock any establishment boats. But The Donald is about as "traditional" a candidate as William Wallace was an English royalist. Trump is a quintessential rebel antagonist. Thus his run for the nomination must be far stronger than those of the past if he intends to win.
What this means is that Trump must get the necessary 1,237 delegates before Cleveland. If he does not get them ahead of time for an automatic first ballot victory, he has little chance to get the nomination.
This is because after the first ballot is taken, most of the delegates will then be free to vote for another candidate. A second ballot will encompass immense arm twisting and bargaining. All the forces of the GOP will be pitted against Trump at this point. All bargaining will be geared toward drawing supporters away from Trump and committing them to Ted Cruz or John Kasich, which would keep Trump from getting 1,237 votes on repeated ballots and create a deadlocked convention. It is then that a compromise establishment candidate (e.g., Paul Ryan with Kasich as his VP) would be offered to solve the dilemma. Weary Republicans would give in and accept such a compromise to break the deadlock.
This would be a disaster and divide the party, thus guaranteeing a Clinton victory in November. It doesn't have to happen, however. In light of Trump's impressive start in the primaries he does have a clear path to the needed 1,237 delegate majority and the nomination before he gets to Cleveland.
What follows is a breakdown of each of the remaining 20 primary states, how many delegates they represent, and what Trump's prospects are for getting them. He presently has 678 delegates after the March 15th primaries. This means he must get 559 more delegates to reach the needed 1,237. There are 946 delegates left to win, which means Trump needs to get 59% of them.
Here's how he can do it with some to spare. Rubio's supporters will split mostly between Cruz and Kasich in the upcoming primaries. But Trump is leading handily in almost all these states, many by double digit numbers, which will allow him to win most of them despite the fact that Rubio's supporters will be lining up behind Cruz and Kasich. Six of the states are winner take all based on the state-wide vote. Five are winner take most, which means that the winner in each of the state's districts takes all the delegates in each district that he wins.
The totals below for Trump are, of course, my opinion based on an assessment of each state's demographics and type of primary. Some primaries are open to crossover voters; others are closed only to registered Republicans. Trump does better in the open form; Cruz does better in the closed. But Trump has won five closed primaries (Nevada, Kentucky, Louisiana, Hawaii, and Florida), so he has demonstrated he can do well in the absence of Democratic and independent voters crossing over. In addition, momentum is factored in also, which is building for Trump with each state that he wins. Trump and Cruz will pick up 98% of the unbound delegates; Kasich's count will be neglible.
Arizona (58) is winner take all. Trump wins and picks up 58 delegates.
Utah (40) awarded proportionally. Cruz wins. Trump gets 15 delegates.
American Samoa (9) sends unbound delegates to the Convention.
North Dakota (28) sends unbound delegates to the convention.
Wisconsin (42) is winner take most. Trump wins and gets 28 delegates.
New York (95) awarded proportionally. Trump wins and gets 55 delegates.
Connecticut (28) awarded proportionally. Trump wins and gets 18 delegates.
Delaware (16) is winner take all. Trump wins and picks up 16 delegates.
Maryland (38) is winner take most. Trump wins and picks up 28 delegates.
Pennsylvania (71) is winner take most. Trump wins and gets 45 delegates.
Rhode Island (19) awarded proportionally. Trump wins and gets 12 delegates.
Indiana (57) is winner take most. Trump wins and picks ups 40 delegates.
Nebraska (36) is winner take all. Cruz wins.
West Virginia (34) awarded proportionally. Trump wins and gets 20 delegates.
Oregon (28) awarded proportionally. Cruz wins. Trump picks up 10 delegates.
Washington (44) awarded proportionally. Cruz wins. Trump gets 15 delegates.
California (172) is winner take most. Trump wins and picks up 120 delegates.
New Jersey (51) is winner take all. Trump wins and gets 51 delegates.
Montana (27) is winner take all. Trump wins and picks up 27 delegates.
New Mexico (24) awarded proportionally. Trump wins and gets 14 delegates.
South Dakota (29) is winner take all. Cruz wins.
Trump wins 15 states and Cruz wins 5. If the above delegate estimates take place, Trump gains 572 delegates. When added to his present 678, it will give him a total of 1,250 delegates and a first ballot victory.
The GOP establishment will then have to resign itself to a Trump nomination. Hopefully Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, Lindsey Graham, Karl Rove, etc. (and their media cheerleaders such as Rich Lowry, Charles Krauthammer, and Steve Hayes) will be men about it, not crybabies.
What will then be needed is for a crucial unification to take place between June 7th and July 18th among all opposing GOP factions prior to the convention. Trump's attitude will be important here. He must be magnanimous toward those who opposed him so viciously. And the adamant Trump haters (Romney, Rove, Graham, et al) will have to pipe down and recede to the background. Most importantly, the RNC will have to reject any underhanded rewriting of the rules to deny Trump his rightful nomination. The voters will have spoken. Without such a unifying acquiescence on the part of the elites, America will be lost to the Dragon Lady, Hillary, and her collectivist "world government" oligarchs.
Nelson Hultberg is a contributing author to the ARRA News Service. He is a freelance writer in Dallas, Texas and the Director of Americans for a Free Republic and author of The Golden Mean: Libertarian Politics, Conservative Values.
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