There May Be No Stopping Trump
Super Tuesday is right around the corner (on March 1, twelve states will hold primaries or caucuses). And despite my hopes otherwise, it looks like Trump is in position to pick up a whole lot of delegates. While these states are all technically proportional states, many may set up like South Carolina where Trump wins an overwhelming number of the delegates (or even sweeps the delegates) because of each state party’s unique rules. This is a very week attempt at gaming it out.
Here’s the basic run down of how each of the Super Tuesday states award delegates, with the most recent poll numbers in parenthesis:
Alabama has 50 delegates, 21 district delegates, 26 at-large, and 3 RNC delegates. Alabama awards delegates proportionally at the district and state level. But there’s a catch - there’s a 20% threshold and it becomes winner take all with a majority. (Trump 37, Cruz 21, Rubio 18)
Alaska has 28 delegates, 3 at the district level, 22 at large, and 3 RNC. It’s a proportional primary with a 13% floor. (T 28 C 24 Carson 9 R 7)
Arkansas has 40 delegates, 25 at large, 12 district, and 3 RNC. There’s a 15% floor for at large delegates (if you get 15% you get one delegate, if someone else gets a majority they get the rest of the delegates, otherwise delegates are awarded proportionally). At the district level it’s a majority winner takes all, otherwise it’s two for first place and one for second. (C 27 R 23 T 23)
Georgia has 76 delegates, 42 district, 31 at large, and 3 RNC. It’s proportional both district and statewide, unless someone gets a majority. There’s also a 20% floor for at large delegates and at the district level it’s similar to Arkansas 2-1 if nobody gets a majority. (T 23 C 18 R 18)
Massachusetts has 42 delegates, 27 district, 12 at large, 3 RNC. All are proportionally awarded based on the statewide vote. There’s a 5% floor. (T 50 R 16 Kaisch 13)
Minnesota has 38 delegates, 24 district, 11 at large, 3 RNC. 10% floor for proportional (by district and statewide) with a 5% floor. (R 23 C 21 T 18)
Oklahoma has 43 delegates, 15 district, 25 at large, 3 RNC. They are proportionally awarded with a 50% winner take all threshold. There’s a 15% floor. (T 30 C 25 R 21)
Tennessee has 58 delegates, 27 district, 28 at large, 3 RNC. They are proportionally awarded with a 66% winner take all threshold and a 20% floor. There’s a 2-1 district rule as well. (T 34 C 26 Carson 11 R 10 - December poll)
Texas has 155 delegates, 108 district, 44 at large, 3 RNC. There’s a 20% floor for proportional awards, with a 50% winner take all threshold (district and statewide). (C 30 T 25 R 12)
Vermont has 16 delegates, There’s a 20% floor for delegates awarded proportionally with a 50% winner take all threshold (all based on statewide voting). (T 32 R 21 C 15 - December poll)
Virgina has 49 delegates, 33 district, 13 at large, 3 RNC. Delegates are awarded proportionally with no qualifying floor and entirely based on the statewide vote. (T 33 R 19 K 14 C 12)
Wyoming has a caucus that is apparently non-binding.
We’ve got relatively recent numbers in most states (9 of the 12 states have polls in the last two months, two more have polls from December, and nobody cares about Wyoming).
The bad news, as you can see from the polling numbers above is that Trump leads in 8 of the 11 states we have numbers for. Cruz leads in 2. Rubio leads only in Minnesota (within the margin of error).
Most states play out with either Trump sweeping because nobody else reaches the minimum or the delegates getting pretty much evenly split between Trump, Cruz, and/or Rubio. Trump has the best chance of sweeping Alabama and Georgia - there’s also a chance he could sweep Tennessee if Cruz slips and Carson’s support holds.
Unless something changes in the next week, Trump is going to have a monster lead come March 2. The amazing thing is that he’ll have done it without winning more than 40% anywhere other than Massachusetts (which isn’t likely to vote for Trump in the general, unless Massholes decide to support a kindred spirit en mass). That leads to the question of whether we will see significant Republican voters defect in the general election. We saw this recently with Senate elections (Missouri, Nevada, and Indiana are good examples of a Republican nominee losing Republican voters at the last minute). It doesn’t have to be 20%, 5-10% of Republicans voting for the Democratic nominee might be enough.
Of course, this is complicated by the fact that Hillary Clinton is the likely Democratic nominee (a page for another day is the topic that we could be looking at a general election where both parties nominate candidates with negative favorability ratings). We may, instead, see Republican voters stay home or undervote the presidential election (abstain). The long shot would be significant numbers of Republicans voting for Gary Johnson, but since the overwhelming majority ignored him when he was a Republican, the odds of them voting for him as a Libertarian are less than good.
Basically, this was a really long way of saying that shit is about to get interesting. And despite having a degree in political science, I’ve no clue what is going to happen.