It is crunch time in the race for the Republican Presidential nomination.
The next 8 days could very well determine whether Donald Trump is going to go to Cleveland with enough delegates in hand to win a first ballot nomination…Ted Cruz surges to an upset in the delegate count…or we end up seeing a process that requires two or more ballots to select a nominee.
Here are the current delegate counts pointing to the 1,237 delegates required to garner the nomination.
To this point, 887 delegates have been selected with another 1,585 not yet allocated. Therefore, a little more than one-third of the delegates have been chosen but two-thirds are still in play.
Trump has received 43% of the delegates thus far, Cruz 34%, Rubio 17% and Kasich 4%.
Trump can get what he needs for the nomination by winning 54% of the remaining delegates at stake.
Cruz needs 59%. It would appear to be feasible for Cruz to reach that number in a two-way race with Trump. It would seem impossible if he is splitting votes with Rubio and Kasich.
The numbers also show that it is all but impossible for either Rubio or Kasich to win enough delegates in the remaining primaries to get to the 1,237 necessary.
Rubio needs an impossibly large 69% of the remaining delegates and Kasich needs a completely insurmountable 76%. There is no logical reason for either Rubio or Kasich to remain in the race when you crunch the numbers.
Presumably both Rubio and Kasich want to see how they do in their home states next week, which are both winner take-all, and could give them a boost in delegates.
However, even if Rubio wins Florida, he would still need over 66% of the remaining delegates.
Assuming Kasich wins Ohio, he would still need 75% of the remaining delegates!
It is not going to happen. It is Mission Impossible for those two. It is not for Cruise Cruz if Rubio and Kasich face reality and drop out of the race.
The best hope for the Republican Party to avoid Donald Trump as its nominee is for both Kasich and Rubio to have a disappointing night this evening.
This would hopefully cause Kasich and/or Rubio to get out of the race and not risk an embarrassing defeat on their home turf. At the same time, they would gain valuable political capital with the Party.
If they proceed, they could ruin their reputations and provide a clear path for Trump to the nomination even though they have no realistic path themselves.
The performance of Ted Cruz in Kansas, Maine, Kentucky and Louisiana on Saturday is also interesting from a numbers perspective.
Cruz got 230,209 votes combined in those four states on Saturday. Trump had 230,443. In effect, Cruz battled Trump to a draw even with Rubio and Kasich on ballot.
Cruz garnered 37.55% of the votes to Trump’s 37.59%.
The remaining 25% was split between Rubio (13.9%) and Kasich (11.0%).
What was especially interesting in the numbers from Saturday was how Cruz surged much higher than the polls had him heading into election day. This was also apparent in a comparison of the early voting in Louisiana compared to the voting on election day.
Trump beat Cruz 47%-21% among those that voted in the several weeks before the election in Louisiana.
However, Cruz beat Trump 41%-40% of those who voted on election day.
That is a huge shift in voter sentiment in a short period of time.
Is this the beginning of a trend?
Is Trump standing atop a fault line?
Have we reached a tipping point for Trump?
Or is this just further evidence that Trump’s ceiling is right around 40% and not much higher?
Are the considerable number of Republicans who do not have a favorable opinion of Trump realizing that Cruz is much more viable than Rubio or Kasich?
My advice to those voters who do not want to see Trump as their preferred GOP nominee is to not squander their vote on Rubio or Kasich.
They are wasting our time and your vote by staying in the race.
They have no chance at this late date.
The numbers do not lie. Crunch the numbers yourself if you do not believe me.
Voting for them is either voting for Trump or for chaos at the convention.
It is crunch time and that means it is also now Cruz time.