So, it seems more and more likely that Trump will fall short of a true-majority, and thus will not win the nomination via primary-vote.
Even if he wins Arizona, he still falls further ‘behind the curve’ according to 538’s ‘path to the nomination’ (he is 2% below-track as of the 15th) unless he gets 12+ delegates out of Utah & American Samoa – and thus the likelyhood of ‘going to the convention’ gets stronger.
However, no one is really forecasting that Trump will be so-far-down as to not allow for a ‘first ballot decision’ if sufficient numbers of unbound delegates break his way.
There are ~200 unbound delegates every year – these are not party grandees, ala Dem ‘Superdelegates’, but rather representatives from states where some or all of the regular-delegates are not allocated by a primary or caucus result. Colorado is one example of this phenomenon. So are North Dakota and Wyoming. And even out east, 54 of PA’s delegates are UNBOUND.
Plus, some states release the delegates of dropped-out candidates completely, making them unbound as well. Other states do not release them until a certain number of ballots (usually between 1 and 3), but none the less there will be enough ‘unbound’ delegates floating around between these 2 groups to potentially give Trump a majority even if he didn’t win it in the primaries.
What does all this mean?
If we are going to stop Trump, STATE LEVEL activism is critical, not just in the primaries, but also in the subsequent caucus/convention activities which actually decide WHO will go to Cleveland.
Many states hold a district level convention or caucus (separate from the primary) that decides which specific individuals will go to the state-wide convention, which then nominates the slate of delegates. In these states, if the district conventions are full of Cruz supporters, the state convention will be full of Cruz supporters, and the delegation to Cleveland will be full of Cruz supporters (both bound and unbound).
Granted, this doesn’t work everywhere – in some states the delegates are picked by the Republican politicians of that state (and thus delegate selection may be done as a favor rather than based on who that person wants to be the nominee)… But it works in alot of places…
If all 200 unbound delegates are Trumpkins, we are screwed. OTOH, if Cruz can get his supporters into those slots (And into the delegations of dropped out candidates), he can ensure there is more than 1 round of voting, which will likely doom Trump.
Further, even in ‘bound’ states, packing-the-slate is how you win that second round of voting.
Something to think about (unless your state has already had it’s district-level votes)… It’s important…