The Donald had a big night in New York, inspiring a lot of big talk about momentum. Ignore it. The math is pretty ruthless.
We are about to enter the best few weeks of Donald Trump’s life. He can expect to perform very well in Republican contests across the Northeast over the next few weeks. Look closely and you’ll notice two small losses folded into that string of wins.
Indiana (5/3) and Nebraska (5/10) are the contests that tell the real story. Trump has been performing quite well recently in places that don’t have any Republicans. Almost as many people voted for Ted Cruz in Wisconsin as the total number of Republican voters in the New York primary. That matters, because it tells a story about what to expect from the process behind the primary.
Trump can sweep all of the Republican delegates in the following states – CT, DE, MD, RI, WV, PA – and still go into the final June 7 primaries with the nomination effectively out of reach. And then even a win in NJ won’t be enough. He would have to sweep the races on June 7 to get past the 1237 mark, and that simply isn’t going to happen.
Ted Cruz has been dominant in the Plains and Mountain states. California offers some hope for Trump, but Cruz is strong in the Central Valley and the North. It is very unlikely that Trump can sweep the state in all of its Congressional Districts. It’s far more likely that California ends up being either a loss or a stalemate. Anything other than a complete sweep of California’s delegates almost certainly leaves Trump short of the nomination.
When the dust settles on June 8th, Trump will still be holding a first-ballot delegate lead. There will be about 125 uncommitted delegates he could theoretically recruit to his side prior to the convention. He might be close enough that he would only need 70-100 of them. Chances are a majority of those delegates will have been recruited to their positions by the Cruz campaign, but who knows. At any rate, it looks like we’re in a for a long, hot summer.
See the delegate math play out with this calculator from 270-to-win.