Despite what Trump and his acolytes crowingly believe, the Republican presidential nominating race is not over. Not yet. Why? Because, just as with New York last week, he won the States that he was supposed to win last night, and may not have won Pennsylvania, as he only took the seventeen Statewide delegates, the other fifty-four being allocated by congressional district and under the delegate candidates' names, not the candidates'. That is where the Cruz campaign expects to pick up half or more of the Keystone State's delegates with their crushing organizational and ground game advantage. We'll see.
Let's start with the Democrat update.
POPULAR VOTE: Rodham 57.5%, Sanders 42.5%
EARNED DELEGATES: Rodham 1,632, Sanders 1,299
TOTAL DELEGATES: Rodham 2,151, Sanders 1,338
"MAGIC NUMBER": 231 (18.1% of remaining attainable total delegates)
"MAGIC NUMBER" MINUS SUPERDUPERDELEGATES: 394 (35.2% of remaining attainable earned delegates)
Suffice it to say, Weekend Bernie is even more cooked. He lost four out of five contests in his own backyard, barely eking out a win in Rhode Island. When you start losing "home games", that's when the fat lady starts warming up her vocal cords. And I'd really rather not hear Hillary try to sing.
And now, the numbers Trumpers are being so gosh darn presumptuously premature about - though there is a valid strategy behind it for their hero.
POPULAR VOTE: Trump 41.8%, Cruz 28.5%, Kasich 15.3%, Rubio 14.4%
DELEGATES: Trump 954, Cruz 562, Rubio 171, Kasich 153
That's 51.8% of the delegates off of 41.8% of the popular vote, for those not keeping score at home, or BLATANTLY "UNFAIR"....in favor of Trump. Which means that the only way in which the nominating process is "rigged" is in favor of frontrunners, regardless of from what wing of the party they come - or, in this instance, from which PARTY they come.
"MAGIC NUMBER": 283 (44.8% of remaining attainable delegates)
Last and this Tuesday were, in baseball terms, a "home stand" for Trump. Now the primary campaign returns to Cruz-friendly territory and formats where his organizational and ground game advantages return to the fore, and the gap will once again narrow. The only question is whether it will narrow sufficiently to deny Trump a delegate majority. All indications are that it still will, especially with Biff throwing out the political pros and returning to "winging it".
The one counter-mitigating factor is the bandwagon effect I referenced a week ago. In sports terms, "the Big Mo" - momentum. The inherent tendency of human nature against individualism, against bucking the system, to conform, to want to be on the winning side, to "bow to the inevitable," even when it's not. "Front-running" is another term for it. And Trump was doing, smartly, everything he could to fan those flames in his victory rant last night, as befits a man whose "brand" is "winning," regardless of how that manifests itself for anybody else besides Trump. The latter point of which I've been pointing out and will continue to cite because it's the truth, and consequently why so few "GOP" voters want to hear it. Which is also consistent with human nature, come to think of it.
Here's a migraine-inducing indication of how far the poison of "Trumpopulism" has sunk....
....into the collective "Republican" psyche:
Looking ahead to the convention, across all three States with exit polls, broad majorities say the Republican Party should nominate the candidate with the most support in the primaries and caucuses if no one gets to 1,237 before the convention. Roughly three in ten would prefer the delegates to support the person they think would make the best candidate.
The (D)emocratic mob mentality at work. Except that (1) America is supposed to be a republic where the "will of the people" is checked and balanced and limited as much as that of the federal government and the States. The Founding Fathers didn't trust pure democracy, remember....?
....and (2) political parties are private organizations entirely free to make their own rules, and do so federalistically from State to State to State. Those rules are not subject to popular vote, and as long as they are set before the campaign begins and do not change, they are entirely legitimate. And those rules at the parties' national conventions state that in order to clinch the nomination, a candidate must have a delegate majority. Period. This isn't horseshoes or hand grenades. Being "close enough" isn't enough. You have to actually win as the party rules define victory. If the delegate leader doesn't attain that majority, his lead is irrelevant, and after the first ballot the delegates determine the nominee, not primary voters.
And that favors Ted Cruz, not Donald Trump.
But that is also why Trump is pushing this "populist" poison as well. Facing the prospect of not being able to overwhelm the GOP with his hostile takeover, he has added bullying subversion to the mix. And if that still doesn't work and he falls short on the first convention ballot, there's always....
At any rate, Indiana next week will be the tipping point, and California on June 7th will be the backstop. Just as they always were.
Nothing about the Republican nominating race, in other words, has changed. Not yet.
But if it does, The Donald gave us a sneak-preview of the fun I'm going to have covering that sorry-ass campaign from the #NeverTrump sidelines:
“She is a flawed candidate. She is a candidate that, frankly, is I think…she’s not going to do very well in the election and I look forward to showing that,” Trump told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos in an interview on GMA.... [emphasis added]
|Poll||Date||Sample||MoE||Clinton (D)||Trump (R)||Spread|
|RCP Average||3/29 - 4/24||--||--||49.0||40.5||Clinton +8.5|
|USA Today/Suffolk||4/20 - 4/24||1000 LV||3.0||50||39||Clinton +11|
|GWU/Battleground||4/17 - 4/20||1000 LV||3.1||46||43||Clinton +3|
|NBC News/Wall St. Jrnl||4/10 - 4/14||1000 RV||3.1||50||39||Clinton +11|
|FOX News||4/11 - 4/13||1021 RV||3.0||48||41||Clinton +7|
|CBS News||4/8 - 4/12||1098 RV||3.0||50||40||Clinton +10|
|McClatchy/Marist||3/29 - 3/31||1066 RV||3.0||50||41||Clinton +9|
And remember that Trump has done very poorly in the primaries among late-breaking undecided voters.
Mrs. Clinton will reach whatever heights to which Trump propels her. And that will be lofty, indeed.
The New York businessman also defended his comment that [Mrs.] Clinton is playing the “woman card” to get elected as president.
“It’s not sexist. It’s true. Just very, very true statement. If she were a man she’d get 5%. Women don’t like Hillary and I did well with the women,” he said on GMA. “She gets up and all she’s saying is, ‘I’m a woman, I’m a woman’ and she didn’t play that card too much with Obama, probably made a mistake not doing it but she’s playing it against us.” [emphasis added]
The bottom line common thread is that everything he says about Mrs. Clinton is even more true of him.
Perhaps that's why Chris Christie's wife was rolling her eyes last night.
At least one member of the Christie household still has their balls.