Donald Trump remains, despite two very rough weeks, atop the GOP race for the nomination with 736 delegates. 1237 are needed to win. Ted Cruz has 463 and John Kasich 143 delegates. Only Trump can realistically win the nomination before the convention in Cleveland.
Right now he is on the ropes. The Republicans have gone after him with unprecedented fury; never has a leading candidate received so much vitriol, insults and anger. The conservatives over at Red State have made attacking Trump their primary focus. It seems the entire party is out to stop Trump. Will they?
Despite my last post predicting a Kasich-Rubio ticket, let’s go through the numbers and see what Trump’s chances are. Here are the remaining contests:
April 5: Wisconsin – 42 delegates, winner take all
April 19:New York — 95 delegates, proportional
April 26: Connecticut — 28, proportional
Delaware — 16, winner take all
Maryland — 38, winner take all
Pennsylvania — 71, winner take all
Rhode Island — 19, proportional
May 3: Indiana — 57, winner take all
May 10: Nebraska — 36, winner take all
West Virginia — 34, direct election
May 17: Oregon — 28, proportional
May 24: Washington – 24, proportional
June 7: California — 172, winner take all
Montana — 27, winner take all
New Jersey — 51, winner take all
New Mexico — 24, proportional
South Dakota — 29, winner take all
It doesn’t take a genius to realize that it is likely to come down to California – a winner take all state with 172 delegates. The latest poll from the LA times shows Trump and Cruz neck and neck – and that was taken way back on March 23rd. A Cruz victory looks likely if Trump doesn’t gain back momentum.
Assuming Cruz wins Wisconsin, what next? If Trump keeps his comfortable 30% lead in New York, he’d likely get about 55 delegates. He has a good lead in Pennsylvania, which is winner take all with 71 delegates. There’s no real good polling on the rest, but let’s assume that Trump can win Maryland with 38 and New Jersey with 51. Those states alone would give him 951.
Removing California for now, there would be 322 seats left. So if Trump loses California, he would need 286 of those 322 seats. That’s not going to happen. If he were to win California he’d need 114 of those 322 seats. That is very likely to happen.
From Trump the job is pretty straight forward. Stop the bleeding, win where you’re expected to, and then win California.
His main challenger, Ted Cruz, may be on a quixotic mission. He could deny Trump the nomination, but if you deny it to the guy with the most delegates, it’s hard to justify giving it to the guy with the second most. The smart money would be on finding someone who can unify the party, perhaps John Kasich or Paul Ryan.
The anti-Trump blitzkrieg from Republicans is an amazing spectacle to behold. It’s rare to see a candidate so mercilessly and personally lambasted, especially a leading candidate could be the standard bearer this fall. If Trump can withstand this barrage and come out on top, Republicans will have no choice but to line up behind him. He’ll have taken all they can give and withstood it – despite committing so many of his own unforced errors.
Bottom line: Trump has to stop his free fall, win where expected, and then win California. If he does win Wisconsin on Tuesday then path becomes much easier – and he’ll have momentum back. For those wanting to dump Trump: California on June 7th will either be your victory or your Waterloo. Then the fun begins.