Donald Trump Less Than 80 Delegates Short Of Securing Republican Nomination, Ted Cruz Makes Desperate Attempt To Rally Support

Donald Trump is whipping his detractors into defeat as results of the latest votes showed he is only 70 to 80 delegates short of grabbing the Republican presidential nomination.

The plan of the Republican establishment, led by 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney, to install Marco Rubio or John Kasich is quickly falling apart.

Winning Michigan, Mississippi, and Hawaii Tuesday night made it politically impossible for the anti-Trump body to deny him nomination.

Republican lawyer James Bopp Jr. agrees.

“I cannot imagine him not getting a majority on the first ballot if he’s only 74 delegates short of a majority.”

He adds that even if he is 174 short, it would be objectionable to not nominate Donald Trump, given his big lead in delegates.

State laws and rules of state parties demand that delegates vote the winning candidate of the primaries or caucuses on the first ballot, and most of the 2,472 delegates are bound by this obligation.

Republican presidential candidates need 1,237 delegates to secure a nomination, and Barry Bennett, a senior adviser to Mr. Trump, claims they are the only one who has a good shot at it. The adviser said, “The clock is ticking, not necessarily on us.”

A first ballot victory is guaranteed if Donald Trump sweeps winner-takes-all in states of Florida and Ohio on March 15. This would earn him an additional 165 delegates to his name.

More than getting a majority, however, March 15 would be a turning point that would define the election as a two-man race, between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, who trails the real estate mogul in the race.

Donald Trump’s camp is not threatened. Mr. Bennett said, “If we win both those states, Cruz will be 300 delegates behind.”

Ted Cruz is apparently aware of the difficulty of overcoming these numbers as he rallies Republicans to support him.

“If you don’t want to see Donald Trump as the nominee, if you don’t want to hand the general election on a silver platter to Hillary Clinton and the Democrats, then I ask you to join us.”

He has been expressing this sentiment for weeks, but the latest figures have obviously given him a new urgency to convince his party that he is the only one with a real chance of beating Trump.

The others are doubtful. Katie Packer, a GOP operative who heads the anti-Trump PAC Our Principles PAC, expressly said that the key to denying Trump the win is not by eliminating favored candidates Marco Rubio and John Kasich.

She believes that their best chance of ensuring Trump does not win Ohio and Florida is by strengthening votes for Rubio and Kasich in their home states.

Veteran GOP strategist Charlie Black agrees that it is unwise to rally behind a single candidate before March 15.

Black is also not confident that Cruz can win in the general election. He thinks the party should support either Rubio or Kasich.

On the other hand, Lindsey Graham, a supporter of Jeb Bush and a critic of Cruz, has grudgingly acceded that “Ted has the most persuasive case thus far.”

The South Carolina senator, who has been constantly insulted by Trump, is fixed in denying Trump the nomination, even if he disagrees with Cruz.

He does not believe Rubio or Kasich can defeat Trump and when it comes down to Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, he is in favor of Cruz as he thinks he is more conservative.

Carly Fiorina, a former presidential GOP contender, has also endorsed Cruz on Wednesday. She is evidently against a Trump nomination and said she is “kind of horrified by Donald Trump.”

Others believe it’s still too early in the race to build a coalition around Cruz just to defeat Donald Trump. The numbers could change and as with all things politics, everything is fluid.

[Image by Sean Rayford, Getty Images]