Sunday, February 21, 2016

Why Trump May Runaway With the GOP Nomination

If you just look at the returns of the South Carolina Republican primary, the numbers showed Donald Trump with 33 percent of the vote, followed by Marco Rubio at 23 percent and Ted Cruz at 22 percent. The other candidates combined for the remaining 22 percent, including Jeb Bush's underwhelming 8 percent, prompting the once "presumptive" nominee to "suspend" his campaign.

But where it counts, Trump won all 50 of the state's available delegates. Why? Because in South Carolina, delegates are awarded based on congressional districts. Win the district, pick up the delegates of that district - ALL of the delegates. Trump ran the table in every district. Hence he swept the state. Fair? Maybe not. But who said politics was fair?

As it stands now, Trump has 61 delegates. The rest of the remaining candidates have a combined total of 29 between them; Cruz has 11 of those 29, and "establishment" candidate Rubio 10. According to rules that the GOP set up in 2014, following an excrutiatingly long 2012 primary season, from March 15 on, the winner of a state's primary or caucus gets all of that state's delegates. Prior to that, delegates will be awarded proportionally.

What that means is that if Rubio or Cruz or any of the other Republican candidates haven't managed to catch Trump by the 15th, or at least slow him down a bit, he might very well be unstoppable. It is quite conceivable he could runaway with the nomination. In that event, Donald Trump, the guy nobody took seriously last summer and who everybody thought would fizzle out, will likely face either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders in the general election. Incomprehensible you say? Hardly, and here's why.

Beginning March 15, there will be 29 states that will hold their primaries or caucuses, some of them - Florida, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, New York and California - among the largest in the country. At stake are 1350 delegates. Okay, so Rubio wins Florida. That's 99 delegates. Not bad. Except that the odds are that Trump could win 20 of the remaining 28, including New York (95), Pennsylvania (71), North Carolina (72) and California (172). Assuming he wins a majority of the Super Tuesday contests - and that's pretty much a given according to the polls - Trump could clinch the nomination before the June 7 California primary, maybe even as early as late April.

I said it as far back as last August. Donald Trump can win. Well, here we are in late February and the numbers don't lie. Think about it; he calls Mexicans rapists and nothing happens; he goes after the handicapped and nothing happens; he calls his fellow candidates liars and nothing happens; he publicly rips the Pope and nothing happens. No matter what this man does or says, it never seems to stick to him. He is the ultimate teflon candidate. And if things continue to go as they've been going, in about two months he will do the impossible and, with it, redefine national politics for a generation to come.

A reality TV show producer and media mogul with no political experience might very well be the next president of the United States. Only in America.

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