Call Him Anything but Inevitable

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Trump won big in Nevada last night, somehow cracking 35%, but that was a caucus state, and late voters in primaries have been breaking against him. That said, many of the same pundits who didn't take Trump seriously earlier are now anointing him as the front-runner. I am cautiously optimistic that Lou Cannon of RealClear Politics and John Fund of National Review are right to say, "Hold your horses!"

Fund reminds us that the nomination process isn't quite a rubber stamp for Trump's Blind Rebellion:

Sources close to Trump say that as the front-runner, he stands to clean up in states with winner-take-all rules. That will propel him to the nomination, they believe. But not a single state is winner-take-all until Florida (99 delegates) and Ohio (66 delegates) vote on March 15. With Jeb Bush's dropping out, Marco Rubio probably has an advantage over Trump in his home state, as does John Kasich in Ohio. Kasich is likely to stay in the race in hopes he can use his delegates to become a power broker at the GOP convention in Cleveland in July. After Florida and Ohio, there are only seven other states that are winner-take-all, making it all the harder for an early nominee to emerge before the convention.

The race goes on from Florida and Ohio. New York will allocate 95 delegates by congressional district on April 19, at which point 68 percent of the delegates will have been awarded. That's the traditional point at which the GOP nomination race has concluded in the past, but this year it is very likely to go on. The primaries end on June 7, when California will use a congressional-district allocation method to divvy up 172 delegates.

The calendar and the way the state contests are organized basically mean that in order to win a majority of delegates by the beginning of June, a single candidate would have to have won more than 45 percent of the popular vote...
Trump, who had been averaging in the mid-thirties until last night's 46%, may be the favorite, but he is hardly inevitable.

-- CAV

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