At the end of the day, there are going to be just over 100 unbound delegates at the Republican convention in Cleveland. If I had to put money on Trump’s total of pledged delegates when this thing is over, I would say he will likely finish between 1150 and 1210. Obviously, then, he probably needs at least some small portion of these unpledged delegates in his pocket.
Pennsylvania will be electing the largest pot of them by far tomorrow, and will represent the best chance for Trump to pick up the handful he will need, but there are still some other opportunities out there for Trump to convince the unpledged delegates to vote for him. Unfortunately, that isn’t going very well so far.
Exactly how “not well” is it going? Well, the delegates for most of the American territories (including American Samoa) are unpledged, and have already been selected. In all, 63 unpledged delegates have already been named or elected. Trump has gotten the commitment of exactly one of them to vote for him on the first ballot. By way of contrast, 26 of them have gone on record stating that they will definitely not support Trump on the first ballot.
The most damning piece of news is that one of the delegates that has been selected in American Samoa is Trump’s campaign chair for American Samoa – and even he won’t commit to voting for Trump on the first ballot:
Of the 63 unbound delegates who have already been named, 26 have told TIME or other news outlets that they are either committed to support Cruz, lean towards supporting Cruz or refuse to support Trump on the first ballot. By contrast Trump has the public support of only one delegate in North Dakota. Another delegate in American Samoa is Trump’s local campaign chair, but he declined to confirm to Time that he will support Trump on the first ballot. Fifteen others declined to tell TIME their preference, and 15 more could not be reached for comment.
Amazingly, people who want the Republican party to succeed appear to have concluded that pissing off the Trump supporters (many of whom are marginal voters and/or Democrats anyway) is a small price to pay in order to avoid the party-wide bloodbath that would ensue if Trump were the nominee. I know a lot of pundits are predicting that if Trump gets really close on the first ballot – say, anything over 1,200 – they will give him the nomination.
From what we are hearing now, that is not something I would bet on. Trump has to get 1,237 pledged delegates from voting, or he’ll be screwed. Thankfully, he has John Kasich in the race to help make sure that happens.