About Trump’s ‘Big Win’

Final delegate counts are still coming in, but the short story is this: Texas delivered the firewall necessary to blunt Trump’s momentum. Though he finished first in a lot of states, his overall delegate haul was just over 40%. This pattern is likely to continue.

Trump didn’t top 50%, the figure necessary in most states to trigger a winner-take-all result, in any of yesterday’s contests. His early burst of success has left him with only about 45% of the delegates assigned so far.

Over the next couple of weeks this split should continue, though he is likely to win all of Florida’s delegates. His next opportunity to pull away will be Ohio’s winner take all contest on March 15th.

If Kasich can hold his home state, and he is polling almost even there, then the delegate math for Trump gets very difficult. Almost all of the remaining states are proportional. He’ll need to poll in excess of 37-40% in each state to gain delegate majorities. As the resistance begins to coalesce that looks increasingly unlikely.

So far, it continues to look like a deadlocked primary.

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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48 comments on “About Trump’s ‘Big Win’
    • 1mime says:

      Hi Doug, here’s an educated analysis from a Very smart Republican political operative. He was interviewed on MSNBC about how the GOP Establishment could work around a Trump win at the Convention.


    • goplifer says:

      Nobody knows for sure what will happen, but a projection that starts with “if this curve continues” starts with one strike.

      There is no flat voting pattern across the country. Cruz is surprisingly strong in California, for example, where the demographics should create a two-way race between Trump and Rubio (I have no explanation for this, by the way).

      I expect that when we look back Super Tuesday will have been Trump’s high-water mark. This past weekend is the first time that Republicans have shown any spine in confronting him. It won’t take him out of the race, but it’s going to be enough to put a 3-7% damper on his numbers in a very competitive race.

      Plus, with a little over a hundred uncommitted delegates at the convention, he needs to go into the convention with about 55%. I can’t see a way to pull that off, even if he takes Ohio.

  1. Griffin says:

    Damn, Robert Reich’s open letter to the Republican Establishment is pretty good. Lifer I know you were asking why so many people were angry, maybe this can provide part of the answer (even though I suspect you’re not a Robert Reich fan it’s still worth a read).


  2. Creigh says:

    OT, but still election news: http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/01/politics/donald-trump-hillary-clinton-bernie-sanders-poll/

    Clinton’s electability advantage is not showing up in polling. She beats Trump but loses to both Rubio and Cruz. Sanders beats all three and by larger margins.

    Clinton will be attacked by Trump, at least, on the grounds of being establishment, and therefore responsible for current economic conditions. In her favor, Trump also has high negatives and she might be better at exploiting those than Sanders would be.

    I don’t think Sanders is particularly vulnerable to the “socialist” label or on economic grounds in general. The big attack will be “Old Man Yells At Clouds.” Sanders would need a VP who could bore in on Trump’s personal negatives. He’ll do just fine himself pointing out that all three R tax plans are more of the same, i.e. tax cuts for the rich. How about Harry Reid for VP?

    • 1mime says:

      I think it’s probably too early to draw electability conclusions but I concur that Trump would be the easier candidate. I have always worried about Cruz and Rubio, principally not because of their qualifications, but because of their base.

      Here’s something more to worry about for Clinton supporters:


      • Titanium Dragon says:

        People love to shout about that stuff in the primaries, but it is unlikely to amount to much.

        In any case, Sanders will ask them to vote for Clinton.

      • Creigh says:

        People have been drawing electability conclusions on the D side loud and clear since this thing started.

        As I’ve said before, I’ll support the democratic nominee whoever she turns out to be. I expect the great majority of Bernie’s supporters to do the same. I worry more about Hillary’s negatives affecting people who are appalled by Trump or Cruz but won’t cross over for her. That number might be very small, I don’t really know.

      • 1mime says:

        It would take some digging, but I wonder what percentage of Republicans crossed over for Obama? The difference this year, I think, is the addition of the enthusiastic working White base who is engaged for Trump. Those are votes that Obama probably didn’t get either, but I suspect they just didn’t vote in ’08 and ’12. Could be wrong but not interested enough to do the research. It will be what it will be. The Dem GOTV is going to be YUUUUGE this year and the VP pick will be heavily influenced by this motivational need. If Dems can rally Hispanics, Blacks, Asians, and women, they have a real opportunity to turn the Senate, if not capture the Presidency. But – you can bet that the GOP is similarly motivated and they’ve got mega-donors in their hip pocket. The money that will be spent in this year’s campaign is going to be obscene.

  3. johngalt says:

    And Carson is out.

  4. Chris D. says:

    It’s a technical deadlock due to the ridiculousness of the state primary processes, but the spirit of the GOP primary electorate is clearly behind Trump. He’s clearly the most popular candidate they’ve fielded since Reagan based on vote totals. In some ways, I hope the convention robs Trump. I, like many voters, want to take a wrecking ball to the system. But, Trump is not the best first option. He might have blazed the trail for a far more formidable politician to follow his path to even more fruitful results.

    • goplifer says:

      Mitt Romney in 2012 racked up larger primary wins (about 15% greater margin overall) than Trump has, and he did it in a larger field. Not that facts matter.

      • 1mime says:

        Mitt Romney racked up bigger primary wins in ’12…..

        But, Romney was running as a conservative against a Black man………


      • objv says:

        Which primary candidate was black? Gingrich, Santorum or Paul?

      • objv says:

        Note: Herman Cain dropped out before primary voting began.

      • 1mime says:

        You are correct and I am wrong, Ob. Cain did drop out even though at a certain point, he was the front-runner, although never considered a serious contender for the Romney nomination.

      • Chris D. says:

        Okay, wiseguy. Prepare to get served. Romney’s field was down to only four candidates after the Jan. 10. NH primary. So, Trump has faced a much stouter field than Romney ever did. Here are the vote totals for the two races where Romney faced six opponents (IA) and five opponents (NH). In terms of candidates who polled better than the write-in total (all credible candidates), Trump had ten opponents in IA and eight opponents in NH.

        IA: Romney 29.8K – Trump 45.4K
        NH: Romney 97.6K – Trump 100.4K (Romney was considered a regional favorite, having been Gov. of MA.)

        In SC and NV where Trump faced much larger fields than Romney, his numbers destroy Romney’s. And Romney was generating so little enthusiasm among the GOP when he was set to face the devil-incarnate in Pres. Obama. Now, tell me the facts.

    • 1mime says:

      Your comment raises a valid and interesting question, Chris D. IF the GOP establishment “meddles” with the popular primary process because the “popular” Republican candidate is unacceptable, IOW, they actively work behind the scenes to influence the state delegate process, are they “allowing the American People to speak”?

      It’s been noted and stated that the Republican Party has benefited tremendously by the excitement and active participation by yuuuge numbers of people. Yet, Trump, himself, is unfit. He cannot, will not be able to be controlled, and, further, he is not a true conservative as if that term has generally accepted meaning anymore.

      • Chris D. says:

        Thanks for the courteous comment. In American politics, the only people who are not allowed to speak (via either party) are the white working class. Keep in mind, I’m saying this as a Democrat who grew up working class and has never voted for a GOP presidential candidate. I watch Trump and realize what a huge opportunity the Democrats have missed this cycle. So, much pent up energy ready to be channeled constructively…and we gave them Hillary. No wonder the white working class are flocking to Trump.

      • Chris D. says:

        Although, I do regret not voting for G.H.W. Bush in 1992.

      • 1mime says:

        As did I, Chris D. One of the few Republican Presidents i have voted for in over 50 years.

  5. Sir Magpie De Crow says:

    Just to remind everyone the nature of David Duke, that guy Donald Trump stunningly failed to condemn quickly and forcefully (along with his former best buds, the KKK) here is a little quote I found in the New Yorker about Duke’s disdain for those of African-American ancestry

    “White people don’t need a law against rape, but if you fill in this room up with your normal black bucks, you would, because ni**ers are basically primitive animals.”

    Nice, huh?

    Please, someone… tell me how it doesn’t matter to minority voters if someone like David Duke supports a presidential candidate? Tell me how it doesn’t matter that Trump retweets comments by white supremacists named “White Genocide” or choice bits by dead fascists like Benito Mussolini.

    Interesting fact: Despite a history of making comments like that (not unlike Donald Trump) he still won 50% of the white vote. Food for thought as Donald Trump continues to be dominate in the Republican nomination battle.

    Anyways, here’s that minority ad the GOP released like two days ago. I don’t think it will help.

  6. Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

    Lifer, I get your point, but in a race with three viable candidates and two sitting senators, Trump won a clear plurality of the vote and a majority of the contests.

    Losing Texas to Cruz was a given, with Oklahoma being a bit of a surprise. The establishment lane favorite got one state.

    Although it wasn’t a game ending win, it was still a “Big Win”.

    Had Rubio or Cruz won last night like Trump did, it would have been huge.

    I still think the GOP will find a way to stop Trump, but this was a big win.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      We are still in denial.

      • Indeed, and at a much larger scale than just this election. Interesting piece by Holman Jenkins to that point: http://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-voters-need-a-mirror-1456874770

        “We’ve run out of the ability credibly to promise ourselves more goodies than a non-growing population in a non-growing economy can supply. The resources aren’t available because we don’t produce them—either because we can’t or won’t work productively enough or because we decline to labor under high enough tax rates.

        “It turns out government cannot spare us collectively from having to adapt and compete in an economy. It can’t suspend the reality principle. Not the biggest lie of the electoral season but a characteristic one is Bernie Sanders’s claim that huge sums will be discovered by taxing “Wall Street speculation.” Guess what? Many of the transactions his “speculation” tax aims to tax won’t take place if taxed. There will be no gusher of revenues with which to continue the expansion of government goodies.

        “One party, the Democrats, wants to keep winning by offering free things—free health care, free college. Their bet is they can extract satisfactory political rents from being the go-to party for groups seeking to protect their spending.

        “The other party, the Republicans, is stuck being the reform party—if it has the nerve, which is highly doubtful.”

        Not to mention this item by Richard K. Vetter: http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-transformation-of-economics-1456875011

        “• A disconnect between economic reality and public policy. Three examples come to mind. First, the Keynesian orthodoxy of fiscal stimulus of the 1950s and 1960s, with its Phillips curves and the like, was shown to be spectacularly wrongheaded. The U.S. experience of the 1970s and the Japanese “lost decade” of the 1990s are two demonstrations. Second, centrally planned authoritarian states with no private property or free markets (e.g., the former Soviet Union or North Korea) have been shown to be monumentally inefficient and not permanently sustainable. Third, nations with some free-enterprise capitalism but with growing redistributionist welfare states start stagnating economically—Europe beginning after 1970, the U.S. after 2000. Yet many economists (including at the Federal Reserve) still champion Keynesian policies and welfare-state expansions such as ObamaCare.”

        “• A major cause of America’s economic malaise: the government’s war on work… If the price of something rises, people buy less of it—including labor. Thus governmental interferences such as minimum-wage laws lower the quantity of labor demanded, while high taxes on labor reduces labor supply, as do public payments to people for not working.”

        (Sorry about the paywall, but maintenance of the thin veneer of civilization requires subscriptions to the WSJ and the NYT…)

      • 1mime says:

        The WSJ and the NYT – the yin and the yang of critical thinking, Tracy?

      • johngalt says:

        ““• A major cause of America’s economic malaise: the government’s war on work…”

        This is about the dumbest thing I’ve read today. The government is in no way, shape or form at war on work. That’s right-wing lunacy. The most significant cause of today’s economic “malaise” (which is an odd term to use given the 72 consecutive quarters of growth) is political paralysis, largely caused by an intransigent Republican party. This leads to an uncertain culture in which American companies, sitting on the largest horde of cash every recorded (which is itself a sign of economic success), are reluctant to invest that money in expanding capacity, entering new markets, or developing new products. This means that hiring has been relatively low and wages have not increased. Certainty provided by a medium-term fiscal plan, tax reform, immigration reform, and understanding what the future of energy taxes looks like would release a dam-burst of activity. That this has not happened is a travesty.

      • 1mime says:

        “Certainty provided by a medium-term fiscal plan, tax reform, immigration reform, and understanding what the future of energy taxes looks like would release a dam-burst of activity. That this has not happened is a travesty.”

        And, Republicans won’t allow it to happen unless they can take credit for it. Therein lies the problem.

      • flypusher says:

        “The other party, the Republicans, is stuck being the reform party—if it has the nerve, which is highly doubtful.”

        And what sort of “reform” are the GOP Presidential candidates offering us? Stop me if you’ve heard this before: another tax cut for the rich!!

    • 1mime says:

      Homer, I wasn’t surprised by OK going for Cruz….after all, this is the state that returned Sam Brownback as Governor when they had a fine alternative….OK is pretty well “joined at the hip” with TX on a range of issues, and common interests.

    • Titanium Dragon says:

      There aren’t three viable candidates.

      There are zero.

      That’s the problem that the Republican party is suffering from this year. Trump is winning because his competition sucks.

      Rubio is a paper tiger; he is too conservative, too new, and too “first term senator with no experience which we just spent eight years pointing out was a bad idea to make president.” He has little enthusiastic support. Basically, everyone was hoping he’d be their hope after Jeb floundered, but he, like Walker, appears to be a non-starter. He just was less of a non-starter than his competitors, so he’s still around.

      Cruz is a typical far-right evangelical sort who can’t win the Republican presidential primaries.

      Kasich is decent on paper, but he’s got no money and he’s been a non-entity in the media. He’s doing terribly everywhere but the Northeast.

      That’s why there were 17 candidates this year. The idea was that there were tons of awesome people in the Republican party. The reality was that there weren’t any. Indeed, one poll suggested that had Romney jumped in, he would have won New Hampshire just based on being Mitt Romney.

      In all fairness, expecting Rubio AND Walker AND Jeb AND Kasich AND Christie to all be such failures was a bit unreasonable (though after Bridgegate, Christie was toast), but it is obvious now in retrospect that none of them were really good candidates.

  7. 1mime says:

    For those who enjoy digging into the bowels of political punditry, there’s this blog-thread on 538 by pundits chronicling the events of Super Tuesday in real time. If you read it, scroll down to the bottom and work your way up to follow the evening’s remarks sequentially.


    • fiftyohm says:

      Mime – You asked me how I felt about the inevitable election of HRC. Here’s about the best I can do:

      I go to my favorite restaurant, mouth watering, only to find my favorite chef and friend has had a nervous breakdown. Well, the sous chef is a vegetarian. I look at the menu choices, and, of course, they’re all crap. The bright side is that at least there’s a single item with some goddam cheese! It’s fair to poor, and I leave the restaurant knowing things could have been so much better. I will also return to the restaurant at some future date, secure in the knowledge that my buddy the chef will emerge from his session of electro-convulsive therapy right as rain.

      • 1mime says:

        Fifty, I understand exactly where you’re coming from! Sometimes when I need to “jazz up a dish” to make it more enjoyable, I employ a little Tabasco or cayenne….We’ll have to see if Hillary spices up her casserole by the addition of a ‘hot’ VP (-;

  8. 1mime says:

    A deadlocked GOP convention – just as Ginsberg stated. It’s how the establishment will change the outcome of this race to a candidate they can exert more control over. The moves are already happening – 7-figure donors are being tapped, rules are being studied, and that stalwart issue that never fails to mobilize the GOP base – national security – is in play. The Hill reports that defense hawks – both current and retired – are speaking out, joining the establishment to bolster their flank with a proven motivator.


    The GOP establishment offense is both overt and subtle, but it is active – both against Trump, as the first order of business, and then against Clinton, as the final “coup de grace” to ensure a Republican victory in the General.

    It is also worth noting, and I am paraphrasing Rachel Maddow’s observations last night, that the odds of the incumbent political party winning the next election are not good. This plays well for the GOP in so many ways. If they take the Presidency as percentages suggest is the greatest likelihood, and they hold the Senate, they also win the SC.

    Sobering. Not to be a defeatist, because I don’t see Trump going quietly into the night, but the big players are looking for the long game here and they absolutely know the odds are good for Repubs to take the Presidency based upon historical records. Of course, as Ginsberg noted, there is always the chance for the errant political event, such as a tied electoral college (he stated with a little smile around deadly serious eyes), and a brokered convention such as we’ve not seen since the Whigs.

    I know it appears to be negative thinking, but there is so much riding on this election that we all need to be keenly aware that the “normal” process just isn’t going to happen. The GOP will do what ever it takes to take the Presidency….including bringing HRC down over email and Trump down over Fraud…..After all, if one thinks back to Bush/Gore, there should be no surprises about the lengths to which the GOP will go to achieve their end. I have no confidence that they will simply “let the American people speak”. That’s only a means to an end. Knowing it in advance doesn’t change a thing.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      Keeping things in perspective is important, and to that end I can appreciate the difficulties of a political party being able to keep the presidency for three elections in a row, but if there’s one thing about 2016 I think we can all agree on, it’s that this cycle is anything but conventional.

      If someone wants to argue that Republicans have an honest chance at taking the WH, then explain to me how they don’t lose minorities by a landslide with someone like Trump or Cruz at the top of the ticket. Lose minorities and you’ve lost the WH.

      Tell me how they pierce the Blue Wall.

      Tell me how they win women, a majority of voters in this country with an asshole like Cruz at the top of the ticket. Same goes for Donald Trump.

    • I suspect you’re right, 1mime – contested convention time. If that occurs, perhaps a Cruz/Rubio or Rubio/Cruz ticket to oust Trump. Then Trump goes 3rd party, and the Hildebeast takes the White House. So that ought to make you happy! 😉

      • Of course, Trump will do everything he can to pull in either Cruz or Rubio as veep. (He was awfully nice to Cruz in his press conference last night…) The upside of that scenario is that the fat creep from NJ will be left swinging in the breeze. 🙂

      • 1mime says:

        Or, Christie may be the next US AG (-:

      • 1mime says:

        I’m picky, Tracy. I recognize that Hillary is a flawed candidate, just the best of the lot on both sides. She is competent, and will mostly be a place-holder for the rejuvenated (and, hopefully improved) Republican candidate in 2020…when I fully expect a Paul Ryan candidacy and win.

        So, a qualified “yes”.

    • Titanium Dragon says:

      If the GOP was effective anymore, they would have torpedoed Trump already.

      I think the obvious answer is that they’re not. Romney’s loss damaged them badly. They weren’t supposed to lose in 2012. They thought they were going to win.

      They didn’t.

      They don’t have what it takes anymore. In 2000, they knew what they were doing. In 2016, I think their tricks are old hat, and they lack the coordination. I’m pretty sure that Romney’s donors tore apart and consumed the flesh of Rove after the 2012 debacle and breakdown, as I haven’t heard anything from him since.

  9. tuttabellamia says:

    The obvious way to break the deadlock would be for more people to drop out of the race. I’m glad they’re all still in there, nipping at Trump’s heels, spreading out the votes and keeping him at under 50% everywhere. I wonder how long they can keep it up.

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