Donald J. Trump might just sew this thing up today. If you took “this thing” to refer to Donald J. Trump’s mouth, we wish right alongside you that it might get sewn up today. “This thing,” rather, refers to the Republican Party’s nomination for President of the United States of America.
In other, less orange-tinted news, Hillary Clinton could put the Democratic race away with big wins in Florida, North Carolina, and Ohio, although the stakes are not quite as high. Why is that? Starting today, many of the Republican contests are winner-take-all affairs. Ostensibly, a candidate could get well below a majority of votes and still walk away with 100% of the state’s delegates.
So, without further ado, let’s talk turkey.
THE REPUBLICAN CONTESTS
–1,237 delegates needed to clinch
Of the four men left standing in the Republican race, two of them face voters in their home states today: Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Ohio Governor John Kasich. They are, respectively, third and fourth so far in the delegate standings, and there’s no real argument that either could win 1,237 delegates. It’s kind of unclear what they’re doing in the race, other than helping Trump become president.
That said, each has conceded that he can’t continue if he loses his home state today. By all accounts, today is, therefore, blessedly the final day of the exercise in abject humiliation also know as Marco Rubio for President.
Kasich, on the other hand, stands a reasonable chance of winning his home state. Let’s be clear, though, if he wins, he’ll be one-for-twenty-eight in state primaries and zero-for-five in other primaries like DC and Puerto Rico. So, like, we’re not really sure what he’s trying to do, but one thing he ain’t trying to do is become President.
Donald Trump — the aforementioned Orange Menace — currently has 469 delegates, and his only real challenger, Ted Cruz, is not terribly far behind with 370. There are 358 delegates at stake, with winner-take-all contests in most of them, an entirely unnecessary winner-take-all-esque system in Illinois, and proportional delagate awarding in North Carolina. Donald Trump is favored to win all those contests, save Ohio.
It’s conceivable that, if Rubio and Kasich drop out after today, Ted Cruz could pick up their voters and walk into this summer’s Republican convention with more delegates than Trump, but it’s unlikely. In other words, the two remaining possibilities are that Trump wins the nomination outright — and there’s a stampede toward the Canadian border — or there’s a contested convention where Mitt Romney’s cockamamie dream of losing a third straight election in a row might come true.
In the final analysis, Trump is poised to have a good day. The world, on the other hand, is poised to have a bad day. (If you needed another reason to be appalled with Trump, have a look at this.)
THE DEMOCRATIC CONTESTS
–2,383 delegates needed to clinch
Wait! We’re not done! Yes, this is the part where we talk about the race where nobody’s punching anybody and there are literally zero references to the candidates’ genitalia, but this is important. So, pour yourself a cup of coffee. We’ll try to be brief.
There are two delegate counts in the Democratic race. Pledged delegates are those awarded through votes in primaries and caucuses, and those delegates are — duh– pledged to a particular candidate. So far, Hillary Clinton has secured 768 such delegates to Bernie Sanders 554. Clinton is pulling away a little bit. Super delegates are party grandees who can support whomever they want. Hillary Clinton “has” 467 such delegates to Bernie’s puny 26. These delegates, however, can change their mind, and there’s no way they’d throw the election to Clinton if Sanders ended up with a majority of pledged delegates. Many, many of Clinton’s super delegates switched to Obama in 2008.
All Democratic contests award delegates proportionally because of fairness, and feelings, and blah blah blah. What that means for today’s contests is that it’s unlikely that the dynamic of the race will change, although Bernie is looking to capitalize on momentum from a stunning upset in Michigan earlier this month.