What Comes After Wisconsin For Republicans? The Candidates Look Toward The Empire State

The remaining Republican presidential candidates are preparing to face off once more in Wisconsin this Tuesday, with an unexpectedly heated contest in the land of cheese. The bitter media war between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz has now taken both men's wives as victims, and John Kasich is horrifying critics with his pizza-consuming behaviors, not to mention the actual politics — Wisconsin governor and former presidential candidate Scott Walker recently endorsed Cruz, who is maintaining just a slight lead over Trump. But Wisconsin is a small state with a relatively small number of delegates, and it's relatively unimportant in the big picture of primary season. What comes after Wisconsin for the Republicans is what will really decide the future of the race.

First up is the New York primary on April 19. Assuming Trump wins, as the polls currently predict that he will, he could add most or all of the Empire State's 95 delegates to his collection. New York's Republican primary features a winner-take-most system with eligibility thresholds and a winner-take-all threshold. Every candidate must get at least 20 percent of the statewide vote in order to receive a portion of the allocated delegates, and to activate the winner-take-all threshold, one candidate has to get 50 percent of the statewide vote. In this case, polls indicate that Cruz might be susceptible to falling under the eligibility threshold, but Trump might actually activate the winner-take-all threshold. Anyway you spin it, it seems unlikely that Trump will lose his home state — it just remains to be seen by what margin his victory will be.

A week later on April 26, another Super Tuesday will see elections in five mid-Atlantic states, including the perennially important Pennsylvania. The five states, Pennsylvania plus Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, and Rhode Island, have a decent number of delegates between them, 172 to be precise, but the value of the whole is much greater than the sum of their parts. If Trump takes every delegate available in New York and Super Tuesday Part Four: This Time It's Personal, he'll be within inches of the delegate count to automatically win the nomination at the convention. There are a lot of caveats to this prediction — Rhode Island has a proportional primary so it's unlikely Trump will get enough of the vote to take every delegate and the polling data is outdated so there's no clear picture of who is predicted to take each state. However, this is Trump, so anything is possible.

After that, a handful of primaries are scattered throughout May, but the last big hurrah for primary season comes on June 7, when California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, and South Dakota all elect their preferred presidential candidate. If no candidate has garnered the requisite 1,237 delegates to automatically win the nomination, it may lead to a knock-down drag-out open convention in July.