What’s even more tragic than the hysteria of the #nevertrump crowd is how the establishment is using Ted Cruz and his supporters to stop Trump, with no intention of helping him win a single additional vote at the Republican convention in July.
The more I study this race and observe the power players, the more I’m convinced that we’re in for multiple ballots resulting in John Kasich or some well-known Republican pirate who hijacks the convention winning the nomination.
Donald Trump has a very narrow path to obtaining the 1237 delegates needed to secure the nomination before the Cleveland convention in July. Trump may win all of the delegates in New York on April 19. Pennsylvania, on April 26, also appears to be very friendly. April 26 is Maryland, Delaware, Connecticut and Rhode Island. In the month of April, there are 213 delegates up for grabs. In early May (if the momentum continues) Trump could pick up as many as 40 to 50 delegates with a win in Indiana. If Trump later wins in California and New Jersey, as polls suggest, that could add as many as 175 delegates.
In order to secure the nomination before the convention, Trump would also have to win at least three of West Virginia, Nebraska, Washington, Montana, and South Dakota. Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska are very unlikely; I believe Cruz wins those three.
What does all this math mean? More than likely Trump enters the first round of the convention with between 1160 to 1200 delegates. This leaves him between 37-77 delegates short of the nomination.
But, all hope is not lost for Trump in this scenario. This scenario has happened twice before, and the party’s front-runner still secured the nomination in the first round of the convention. Gerald Ford (1976) and Democrat Walter Mondale (1984) won the first round of their conventions.
Roughly 200-400 delegates will be unbound or uncommitted in the first round of ballots. The closer Trump is to the 1237 majority, the more likely he is to be able to get some of those delegates to vote for him on the first ballot. While most of these un-bound delegates are going to be Republican Party elites highly populated by the #nevertrump crowd, he still has a clear path to victory in the first round by securing a minority of them. If he plays the game (others will play), these delegates will be staying at Mar-a-Lago, Trump Hotels and flying beyond first class on Trump’s 757 as they “discuss” the future of our country.
On top of the delegate “hunger games,” there will likely be massive demonstrations and protests outside Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. Hundreds of thousands of Trump supporters are likely to converge, leaving a substantial message in their wake. Protests at the convention may sway the delegates by creating a situation where they choose a peacemaking measure favoring Trump. While this won’t be a large number of delegates, it will only take a few to make a difference.
If I’m wrong, we’ll proceed to a second round of the contested convention. In this situation, approximately one-half of Trump’s original, bound delegates become un-bound. It is likely Trump and Cruz will be virtually tied in a second round ballot, leaving Kasich surging into a much stronger third place. It’s at this point a fourth candidate could magically emerge. While this is less likely, it’s still very possible.
It appears Trump has true support of 30-35 percent of the delegates at the onset. For each new ballot, I believe Cruz’s support will erode to a floor of 20 percent. This means that there will be a huge opening for a candidate like Kasich (or an unknown candidate) to build a consensus of the rapidly increasing number of uncommitted delegates. If Trump can’t win in the first round and Cruz can’t win in the second round, both of them will find their delegate support continuing to erode (mostly Trump’s) until the third or an unknown candidate is the nominee of the Republican Party.
Struggling to catch up in delegates and hoping to win at the convention, the Cruz camp and its supporters are being used as pawns by the establishment. Knowing that Cruz can’t reach 1237 delegates prior to the convention, it is very safe for establishment leaders to support him solely for the sake of limiting Trump to a plurality and not a majority
The most important component of this election is to make certain we nominate an insurgent candidate like Cruz or Trump who will reshape the Republican Party and put pressure on Washington.
Most staunch #nevertrump people are far more concerned about Donald Trump’s tone or which Democrat he supported a decade ago. We should be united in recognizing the unprecedented opportunity we have to purge the massive influence of big business, crooked politicians and bureaucrats from the Republican Party so we can lead the effort to heal the damage created by President Obama and/or block its continuation by Hillary Clinton.
The Republican Party’s ‘house’ has a lot of deferred maintenance, outdated features and is generally not marketable in 2016. After all, it’s been over 30 years since Ronald Reagan first renovated the Republican Party. It’s time we do it again.
And, whether they like it or not, Trump and Cruz are already in the same boat, so they might as well start rowing. Otherwise, the big yacht of the Republican Party is on its way planning to sink both of them.