Donald Trump has taken a stranglehold of the Republican primaries to this point, but the big question is — can Trump reach 1,237 delegates to lock up the Republican nomination? If Ted Cruz, John Kasich, and the rest of the Republican party had their way, the answer would be no. But if the party is going to prevent Donald from getting the nomination and head to a brokered convention, then things are going to have to change in a hurry.
“If things continue on the same trajectory that they are on right now. Trump is going to get to 1,237 delegates or awfully close to 1,237,” said University of Georgia Professor Joshua Putnam, an expert of the delegate math.
According to CNN‘s projections, Trump currently sits at 741 delegates with Cruz at 461 and Kasick at 165. In order to reach the magic number of 1,237 delegates, Donald only needs to win 55 percent of the remaining delegates while Cruz has to win 86 percent and Kasich 121 percent, which means Kasich’s only chance of winning is reaching a brokered convention.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) March 19, 2016
Part of the problem for the Republican party is the two differing views of Cruz and Kasich on how to take down Donald. Cruz believes Kasich needs to drop out so that the voters that oppose Trump will then be able to get behind one candidate instead of spreading votes between Cruz and Kasich.
“You can’t lose every state and expect to be the nominee,” Cruz told CNN‘s Chris Cuomo. “Right now, Kasich’s role is really being a spoiler. Kasich benefits Donald Trump.”
Kasich, on the other hand, doesn’t believe that either Donald or Ted will reach the 1,237 mark as long as he stays in the campaign. His feeling is that as long as he is in the race, any votes for him are votes that don’t go to Trump.
“I am not going anywhere, am I a spoiler, of course I am not a spoiler,” Kasich said on CNN on Monday.
With the way things stand, Cruz essentially has to run the table the rest of the way in order to defeat Donald. With that being nearly impossible, the Republicans have to hope that Trump finishes well short of the 1,237 and they can head to a brokered convention without ticking off millions of Trump supporters.
Another disadvantage for Cruz and Kasich are the remaining states yet to hold their primaries. Donald is considered a strong favorite in states such as California, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Maryland as they possess more of the upper-class voters.
“No one has yet been able to reduce Donald Trump’s percentage of the vote,” said Henry Olsen, an elections analyst at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. “Assuming that continues, “Cruz either needs to start appealing to moderates, or Kasich needs to start appealing to conservatives. Neither has been able to do that at all. Neither seems to be showing an inclination to really try.”
Olsen says there’s also the concern that neither Cruz nor Kasich have the crossover appeal to take on Donald Trump head-to-head if one or the other drops out.
“The fundamental problem is that Kasich does not appeal to conservatives in a two-person race — there are a substantial number of conservatives that prefer Trump to Kasich. Then, moderates in places like Wisconsin that permit non Republicans to vote tend not to like Cruz.”
Cruz believes that he can take down Trump if Kasich were to drop out.
“Trump has a hard ceiling of 35 to 40 percent that he has real trouble crossing and (in) the head-to-head, we not only beat Donald, we beat him badly. We beat him by double digits. What Kasich can do is — is pull enough votes away to let Trump win with a plurality.”
In order to have any chance to beat Donald Trump, Cruz is going to have to win Wisconsin on April 5 — a state Ted called “a battleground” on Thursday. If he is victorious in Wisconsin, then he would need to run the table out West to have any thoughts of taking down Trump.
— Capital Journal (@WSJPolitics) March 17, 2016
As for Kasich, his only hope of gaining the nomination at this point is to get to a brokered convention. In order to do that, he will have to pull strong numbers in the Northeast to keep Trump from sweeping most of the delegates. It’s unlikely that Kasich will win any states in the Northeast, but his goal will be to win some congressional districts.
All in all, it will be a long shot for either Cruz or Kasich to take down Trump. The reality is that Donald Trump has likely built an insurmountable lead and will be the odds-on favorite to be the Republican party’s candidate in the national election, whether they like it or not.
[Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images]