So yes, at the end of April, Cruz will be mathematically eliminated from attaining 1237 delegates prior to the convention. The projected delegate count would be Trump 894, Cruz 683, and Kasich 164. There will be 502 delegates remaining to be apportioned. There will be another between 40 and 50 that have remained uncommitted publicly at this point.
Of the actual delegates to be awarded, Trump would need 68 percent of them going forward. This is where his math gets hard. Not only is it predicted that Cruz will win 190 delegates, to Trump’s 141 in April, but the calendar gets increasingly harder for Trump in May and beyond. By the end of May, Trump will be effectively eliminated from attaining 1237 delegates.
Trump’s campaign is trying to make a moral equivalence between calls for Kasich to drop out when mathematically eliminated and calling on Cruz to drop out. Over the weekend Trump even started to call for Kasich to drop out. The Trump campaign is laying the groundwork to call on Cruz to drop out post April 26, 2016. There is no moral equivalence though. Here’s why:
Under the current rules of the Republican Party, you need to have the majority of delegates from eight states for your name to be placed into nomination. If unchanged, that means only Cruz and Trump will have their name placed into nomination, on every ballot. The Trump campaign understands this, and is posturing to try and prevent a second ballot. Trump currently has met the eight state threshold. Cruz has a majority in Texas, Kansas, Maine, Idaho, Utah, and North Dakota, for six states. It is projected that he will win majorities in Wisconsin and Colorado by the end of this week, for his eight state total.
Kasich will not get to the eight state threshold and his name will never be in nomination. That is the key difference. Kasich would not even qualify under the pre-2012 rules which required a plurality in five states.
The projected delegate total after May 24th would be Trump 964, Cruz 774, and Kasich 178. Trump would need to win 273 of the remaining 303 delegates, or 90 percent. This of course assumes that the unbound delegates are establishment types and part of the #NeverTrump movement.
The remaining 303 delegates are awarded on June 7th. Trump needs 273 of them. The states of Montana and South Dakota are winner-take-all for a total of 56 delegates. Cruz has won every demographically similar state to those two by large amounts this election season. He should win both of those states. If he does, that leaves 246 delegates on June 7th. Even if Trump won every single remaining delegate he could not get to 1237. Due to no chance of winning Montana and South Dakota, Trump is effectively eliminated at the end of May.
Trump’s campaign staffers have done this math. That is why they are increasingly laying the groundwork to call for Cruz to exit the race when he is eliminated from a majority. They know Cruz is the second ballot favorite, and that Kasich is a non-factor.
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