The Republican primary season has reached the pole at the final turn and entered the home stretch. Donald Trump, as expected, took New York and took it big.
Trump should nearly sweep the state’s 95 delegates. Cruz will get zero delegates, essentially evening the race to add delegates since Rubio dropped out.
Trump still has a very difficult path before him. The New York win won’t necessarily give him a bounce in swing states Indiana and California, and even if he takes all the delegates in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island, he will still be short of the 1,237 needed for a first ballot victory.
But the most interesting tell of the night for Trump is his reference to “Senator Cruz.” In a more toned-down, short victory speech, Trump said. “”We don’t have much of a race anymore.”
“Sen. Cruz is just about mathematically eliminated,” he added. Not Lyin’ Ted. Now it’s Senator Cruz. He’s trying to make the long-awaited pivot to “so presidential, you won’t even recognize me. You’ll be falling asleep, you’ll be so bored.” As my mother said, From his mouth to God’s ears.
Nothing has really changed. Cruz is steadfastly gathering delegates to his banner from every state, even states where Trump won in open primaries. So either Trump is able to win on the first ballot, or Cruz will have enough support to win on the second, or third, or however many it takes.
For Trump to win, he’ll have to pull off the greatest political pivot in modern party history, and persuade enough unbound delegates to side with him on the first ballot (should he be close enough), or keep Cruz from getting enough support from the floor. The absolute worst thing that can happen for Trump is for his more aggressive supporters to resort to actual violence or delegate suppression, but that very well may be beyond Trump’s control at this point.
One Trump supporter, Gary Forbes, wrote a blog post entitled “Wanted: Teams to Stop Colorado/Wyoming Delegates from Attending Cleveland Convention in July!” In it, he encourages these teams to “be creative.” He admonishes them to “find any legal means,” and then lays out all the illegal ones.
Build a team of aggressive pro-Trump groups including bikers, truckers, unions, support groups, etc. and DO NOT LET THESE PEOPLE MAKE IT TO CLEVELAND IN JULY.
I don’t see what could go wrong with that? Trump himself promised the RNC a “rough July” if the delegate process doesn’t work out to his liking. Those words are hardly presidential.
But now we’re in the home stretch and Trump can’t afford to come off like a tin hat dictator. The question is: Can he help himself?
P.S. John Kasich may have gotten a few delegates in New York. The man is so irrelevant that when he’s in the room, GEICO can save you 15% on your car insurance in only 10 minutes instead of 15.