This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, March 11, 2016:
Next Tuesday, 367 delegates are up for grabs. According to the brightest people in the room, The Donald is likely to take most, if not all, of them. On top of his present 458, that would bring him to over 800. All he needs is 1,237 to win on the first ballot. This would leave his closest challenger, Ted Cruz, in the dust, with perhaps 500 by the time the champagne is gone Tuesday night. And there are still 1,000 more delegates to be awarded.
Professional prognosticators and statistical wonks have been working overtime and Trump keeps coming out on top. Reuters picked Trump to win two weeks ago based upon its own analysis, giving him a 95 percent chance of winning the GOP nomination. Said the editors, “We have always been bullish on a Trump nomination. Indeed, in September we gave Trump a 45 percent chance of being nominated.” Reuters’ editors counted the reasons why: 1) Trump’s leads in nearly every poll taken up to that point; 2) Trump lost no ground when Jeb Bush ended his campaign; 3) Trump has proven to be “the Teflon candidate – few would have survived a fight with the Pope and a series of overt policy reversals. Trump has not only survived but flourished.”
Just a week later the highly respected pollster Nate Silver wrote (albeit somewhat reluctantly) in his FiveThirtyEight blog, “If Trump continues to meet or exceed [our] targets through the remainder of the primaries, he’ll end up with just enough delegates to secure the Republican nomination.”
Silver added that although Trump hasn’t won a majority of the delegates awarded so far, he’s won enough of them to put him five percentage points ahead of where he needs to be to win in July. Wrote Silver: “If Trump hits his targets in the remaining contests, he’ll end up with 1,276 delegates out of 2,472 – 52 percent.”
The latest conclusion came from the Washington Times on Wednesday, which calculated that Trump will fall short of that number by just 74 delegates: close enough to win on the first ballot thanks to unbound delegates in states like Colorado and Wyoming. As the Times noted:
Donald Trump is on track to hand the Republican establishment an unprecedented defeat at their national convention in July, despite being outspent 3-1 by party leaders and their associates in their all-out effort to turn primary and caucus voters against him.
As explained by James Bopp, former RNC vice-chairman and rated one of the 100 most influential lawyers in America:
I cannot imagine [Trump] not getting a majority on the first ballot if he’s only 74 delegates short of a majority. Even if he were 174 short, if he had a substantial lead in delegates, it would likely be politically unacceptable for the anti-Trump forces to deny him the nomination.
The only state where Trump is being seriously challenged is Ohio, where he holds just a 2.5 percentage point lead over John Kasich, the state’s governor. It’s going to be close there, says Jim Ellis, a political activist and delegate allocation analyst: “To win a first-ballot victory on the basis of delegates bound to him on the basis of all primaries and caucuses, Trump will need to sweep the two March 15 winner-take-all states of Florida and Ohio.”
If Kasich is able to pull out a win, thanks to being the state’s governor and consequently its favorite son, it’ll put 66 delegates into Kasich’s pocket, bringing him to just 120 delegates, not enough to matter. All that will do is delay the inevitable: Trump takes the win on the first ballot in Cleveland in July.
About the only way the GOP establishment can keep this from happening is by changing the rules at the last minute, just as they did in 2012 to keep Ron Paul from presenting at the convention. Such blatant disregard for voters’ preferences, however, could irreparably damage the GOP. Besides, any rule change (unless that rule is also changed) must be approved by three-quarters of the delegates.
About the only thing the Ohio contest will do is make the day interesting. Beyond that, the numbers are persuasive. The sooner the GOP establishment recognizes that, the better.
The Washington Times: Donald Trump to storm convention just shy of delegate threshold for nomination
FiveThirtyEight.com: Donald Trump Is Just Barely On Track To Win The GOP Nomination