Is A Contested Convention Likely? Donald Trump Just Upped The Odds
Tuesday's election results give the 60 percent of America who don't like Donald Trump a bit of good news — if not as much of it as they were hoping. Marco Rubio couldn't cut it in Florida, but John Kasich pulled out a significant win in Ohio, saving the state's winner-take-all delegates from going to Trump. Thank you, Mr. Kasich. There are no guarantees in politics, but your odds of seeing a contested convention just got a little bet higher. The outcome now rests on six key states.
If you have an old United States map place mat from your childhood, you might want to take it out at the breakfast table again. There are about 20 states left to hold primaries. It will all come down to how they allocate their delegates, and the percentage of the vote that Trump takes home. According to FiveThirtyEight, right now Trump has 652 delegates — although he'll take home some from Missouri too when the results are finalized (he's about tied with Ted Cruz). That's a little under the 53 percent of the total 1,237 needed to secure the nomination.
That puts him behind John McCain and Mitt Romney at this stage in the game, and he might be too far behind to win outright. Most of the remaining states award delegates proportionally. After Tuesday, 1,012 are still up for grabs. He'll need somewhere around 55 percent of the remaining delegates to win outright, depending on how many of Missouri's delegates he wins. This math was done with him taking home half, or 26, of them. Winning 55 percent of the outstanding delegates might be a stretch.
If they were all allocated proportionally, then he'd have no hope. Nationwide, Trump's polling at 36 percent when you average the most recent polls. He might pick up some Rubio supporters, but not many. Even if he took them all, it wouldn't place him at 55 percent support. He'll have to win a number of winner-take-all states. The remaining ones are Arizona, Delaware, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, and South Dakota. To hold him off, Cruz and Kasich will have to perform well in these states to ensure a contested convention. Remember Cruz telling his Ohio supporters to vote for Kasich? There will be more of that.
As unlikely it is for Trump to take home the nomination outright, it's even less likely for Cruz and Kasich. Kasich would need more than the remaining 1,012, so it's literally impossible for him. His only hope is a brokered convention. Cruz could do it, but he would need to win about 57 percent if he takes home half of Missouri's delegates. That's even more of a long shot than Trump.
So in the coming weeks, pay attention to these six winner-take-all states. They hold the GOP's future — and potentially that of the whole country — in their hands. Arizona has the most delegates of the group, and it's the next to vote, on Tuesday, March 22. There are no recent polls that have been done there, so there's no telling how Republicans in the state could vote. Back in November, Trump was in second place — behind Ben Carson.
What happens at the convention is another story. Let's just hope Trump's musings on the matter are not a threat.