Thursday, April 21, 2016

The 2016 Primaries: It's Almost Over Except For the Tears

Yeah, I know. Counting chickens, and Plus-size women at the end of operas, and what not.

But the funny thing about a game based on who gets the biggest set of numbers is that sooner or later the math can only go one way. With regards to the Republican 2016 primary, it's pretty much down to one reality with the delegate count and two ways this can end. From MSNBC's First Read:

as of the New York primary
Trump needs to win 57% of remaining delegates to reach 1237 magic number (was 61%)
Cruz needs to win 98% of remaining delegates to reach 1237 magic number (was 86%)
Kasich needs to win 158% of remaining delegates to reach 1237 magic number (was 140%)

Kasich simply can't reach the 1237 cutoff, while Cruz's chance to reach that delegate majority relies entirely on Trump falling into one of the biggest collapses of all time.

The only reason for this horse-race to continue is to stop Trump from winning outright: keep him from that 57 percent count. But that involves Cruz winning enough states or at least winning enough delegates in the proportional ones, which is becoming harder to see happening. Trump's polling in too many remaining states - especially the big prize California - is still too strong.

Cruz has his other advantage - that he's swiping control of the delegates themselves to have them on hand if the convention goes to second ballot* - but that only comes into play if Trump can't win outright. So in that regard, the Republican primary is still on, it's just that the likelihood of Trump being the winner is becoming too close a reality.

As the First Read article also notes, the Democratic race is almost wrapped up as well:
Clinton must win 29% of remaining delegates to reach 2383 magic number (it was 33%)
Sanders must win 71% of remaining delegates to reach 2383 magic number (it was 67%)

Being a two-player race pretty much from the get-go - Sorry O'Malley - there's still a lot of delegate numbers behind Sanders that gives him good reason to stay in this fight. But the numbers are getting too high against him. Bernie pretty much needs to win two states to Hillary winning one, but the polling for the upcoming primaries have Clinton ahead in the next five states - she's thumping him in Pennsylvania - while Bernie is struggling just to even get tied with her in even one of them. In the proportional states Bernie can still garner delegates, it's just Hillary can garner even more and increase her lead.

There's a reason why Bernie's people - well, Jeff Weaver - are openly talking about going after the Superdelegates - the very party leaders that they disdained early in the race - to try and flip this to them. But that's impossible: the very nature of Superdelegates is to do what's best for the Democratic Party, and if Hillary's winning the party's majorities, then they'll side with her.

So we're pretty much wrapping this thing up. All that's left is the Five Stages of Ending a Campaign: Blaming the media, Blaming the ground crew, Blaming the managers, Blaming the voters as you Quit, and Praising the eventual winner so you can grovel for a Cabinet seat later.

I'm pretty much with Charles Pierce at Esquire here: we've got the two nominees for the Republicans and the Democrats now. Deal with it.

I'd like to pay attention to other things, but there's still the whole car-wreck appeal this election cycle has... Morbid, yet engrossing.

*I need to learn how to add footnotes to a blog, but anyway as a dark thought to have here: there is a possibility of a delegate revolt at the convention even if Trump wins the majority. If Trump proves that unpalatable in Cleveland - if say he sticks to his vulgar campaigning style, or keeps polling under 40 percent for the general election, or if he chooses Palin (again?) to be his Vice President - there's a chance Cruz or the RNC can convince enough delegates to fight the rules that say they HAVE to vote first ballot for Trump. That will, of course, destroy the entire convention: But if it gets THAT bad... or if Cruz is that self-obsessed to use "his" delegates that way...

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