Only Trump has any chance at winning the Republican nomination

Hillary Clinton, as many analysts say, faces an uphill battle against Bernie Sanders now that the Southern primaries are over. She just barely won in Iowa, Missouri, Illinois and Massachusetts. She lost in New Hampshire, Michigan and Minnesota. For Clinton, the further north she goes, the more her fate will be in the hands of super delegates.

A similar story plays out in the Republican side but without the change in direction. Whereas for the Democrats the front-runner will have a tougher time fending off the underdog, the Republican underdogs will have a tougher time overtaking the GOP front-runner.

Had Sen. Ted Cruz (TX) and former candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (FL) not split their vote, it’s very likely that he could have shut out Donald Trump in the South leaving him with only New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Vermont. But for Cruz, the easy states — Texas, Arkansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, etc. — are over and the tough states are next. Cruz won solidly in Wyoming and Kansas. He virtually tied in Iowa and Missouri. He has lost in every state eastward except Maine. Even if he wins the rest of the primaries between the Mississippi and the Rockies, there simply aren’t enough delegates left for Cruz to match Trump, let alone overtake him. As for Gov. John Kasich (OH), he will remain a non-entity.

First will be the American Samoa caucus. Like all U.S. territories, American Samoa has a fixed number of delegates (9). There will also be the winner-take-all states of Arizona (58) and Utah (40). After them will be Wisconsin (42), a third winner-take-all state. Even if Cruz sweeps through Utah and wins all of the state's delegates (throw in American Samoa for good measure), Trump could walk away from the Arizona and Wisconsin conventions with a combined 100 delegates.

Next, there will be New York, which is a winner-take-most state with a threshold (the minimum percentage of the vote a candidate must receive if they are to win delegates) of 20 percent. According to Real Clear Politics, Trump maintains a formidable double-digit lead in his home Empire State and neither Cruz nor Kasich have managed to clear the threshold. This means that he could conceivably carry all of the state’s 95 delegates

After New York, there will be five winner-take-all northeastern states — Connecticut (28), Delaware (16), Maryland (38) and Pennsylvania (71) — as well as Rhode Island (19), which distributes its delegates proportionally. As in New York, Trump has a strong lead in Connecticut and Pennsylvania. Though Cruz has been rising in recent polls in Maryland, he still trails Trump by nearly 10 points.

Nestled between Massachusetts and Connecticut, Rhode Island is all but sure to go overwhelmingly to Trump. Leading by double-digits, Trump will likely win all of Pennsylvania’s 71 delegates. But for the sake of argument, assume that Cruz will be able to close the gap between him and Trump. Even so, if he carries Maryland and ties in Rhode Island (round up for Cruz), the Senator would win a combined 48 delegates while Trump, with Connecticut, Delaware and Pennsylvania, would win 124.

Just north of D.C. and northern Virginia, where Sen. Marco Rubio (whose supporters Cruz courted the evening Rubio suspended his campaign) performed very well. Cruz would do well to campaign in Baltimore rather than wasting time in New York City, whose former mayor, Rudy Giuliani, is thought to be on the verge of a Trump endorsement

If Cruz runs the table in Utah, if he overtakes Trump in Maryland and if he ties with Trump in Delaware, he will finish up April with another 88 delegates. If Trump manages to hold onto the rest of his leads both in the West and the Northeast, he will end April with another 319.

For any Republican candidate to clinch the nomination, they must win at least 1,237 delegates. Some might rightly caution that Trump could still fall short. The math, however, is soundly on Trump’s side. But between the winner-take-all states of Indiana (58), New Jersey (51) and California (172), as well as West Virginia (34), which, though not winner-take-all, is all but sure to go overwhelmingly to Trump. Trump would more than reach his 1,237-delegate goal. In fact, he would be 70 delegates over it.

Even if Cruz won every delegate from every other state — Nebraska (36), Oregon (28), Washington (44), Montana (27), New Mexico (24) and South Dakota (29) — he would still be 550 delegates short of his goal.

When Cruz loses the nomination — and he will — the loss won’t be due to one state or another. Even if Cruz manages to close a 10-point gap in Maryland (which is highly unlikely), even if he ties with Trump in the heart of New England (which isn’t going to happen) and wins every delegate from Oregon, Washington and New Mexico (which Nevada also make unlikely), Cruz still loses. By winning in Wisconsin, Cruz could conceivably deny Trump the nomination, but only if he goes on to win in Maryland, New England, Organ, etc. For Cruz, the delegates simply aren’t there. A more likely scenario is that Trump overshoots his goal not by 70 delegates but by more than 160.


Comments powered by Disqus