What’s known as the “Acela primary” is taking place today. Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania offer 125 winner-take-all delegates, while Connecticut and Rhode Island combine another 47, for a total of 172, coincidentally the same number of delegates California has. The great majority of these will go to Donald Trump.
The main question is if Trump will exceed the 50 percent threshold to get all of Connecticut’s 28 delegates, or will he split them with John Kasich. At this point, it’s a toss-up, although I believe Trump will pull it off.
With an additional 165 or so delegates, Trump has a fair chance of landing within spitting distance of 1,237 by the Washington primary on May 24–then it’s up to New Mexico and California. [Update: it’s been noted that Trump won’t pick up all of Pennsylvania, which is not winner-take all, but a “loophole primary”, so it’s very possible Cruz will pick up a significant number of delegates from that ballot.]
So we’ll call this Trump Tuesday, or Trump Day, because it’s going to be a massacre with Donald as champion. We’ll see him act presidential (the key word is “act”) from the podium then beat his chest on Twitter afterward. Then the pundits will rehash the numbers again and again all week, with banter about “presumptive nominee” and all that, while the mystery of the Cruz/Kasich alliance is peeled like an onion, layer by layer.
That will be Trump week.
And then Indiana. Trump is leading just outside the MoE in the latest polls, but those have Kasich at 16-22 points. The question is, obviously, will the Cruz/Kasich deal move those voters over to Cruz?
Cruz is going all in. “For the supporters of John Kasich in Indiana,” Cruz said. “If you don’t want to see Hillary Clinton as the president, and nominating Donald Trump ensures Hillary wins the general, then I would ask Governor Kasich supporters to stand with us.”
Indiana is going to be the battleground–the Mother of All Primaries. Who would have predicted that last August? But here we are.
Indiana is an open primary, so Democrats, Republicans, and independents are all eligible to vote in the GOP primary. The voter registration deadline was April 4, which is 29 days before the May 4 election. Early voting has already begun, with more than 64,000 GOP ballots cast according to the Indiana Secretary of State’s office.
Could the Kasich deal come too late? Some think so.
“Had we known this several weeks ago, I would have been able to do what John is asking us to do, which is to support Ted Cruz,” said Indiana State Rep. David Ober (R-District 82), who voted early for Kasich.
Indiana will now become the #NeverTrump referendum–either Kasich support will remain strong, rejecting Cruz’s plea, or Cruz will take the state in a definitive #NeverTrump moment, like he did in Iowa and Wisconsin.
This week is Trump week, and next week will either be Cruz’s redemption, or it will be Trump all the way to Cleveland. If Trump isn’t stopped in Indiana, it’s going to be extremely difficult to stop him in California.