An article over at POLITICO by Eli Stokols is formally clarifying what many of us have begun to suspect in recent days and weeks – namely, that if Donald Trump finds himself within even reasonable striking distance of the 1237 delegate total heading into the July convention in Cleveland, he will indeed emerge as the GOP standard-bearer.
To clarify, 1237 delegates is still the minimum number needed to secure the nomination; whoever emerges as the nominee will had to have accumulated at least that number, and, for Trump, the surest way to arrive at that figure is to win outright enough of the delegates remaining up for grabs in the final contests between now and June 7. Following his landslide win in New York, Trump has 845 delegates to Cruz’s 559, and is heavily favored in many of the primary battles left to go. There is a growing feeling within the party that Trump’s anticipated number of victories in the remaining contests, as well as the margins therein, may actually grow, now that more Republican voters are reconciling themselves to the idea of Trump as the nominee.
However, if he doesn’t reach the 1237 number by the time primary season ends, then things become a little less certain...but only a little less certain. Now that Trump appears to have turned a corner, partially helped by his recent outreaches to Republican Party bigwigs, as well as his efforts to appear more “presidential,” it is becoming highly unlikely that if his delegate count is within, say, 100 of the 1237 needed going into the convention, that he will fail to capture the nomination. The Republican “insider” thinking, according to the POLITICO article, is that Trump will likely see about half of the 200 or so unbound delegates come his way, and so if he is around 1137 by convention time, he will have it sewn up.
Of course, if Trump does not secure the nomination on the first ballot, his claim to it becomes immediately weakened, but, even in that case, it’s now unlikely he will exit the convention as something other than the Republican nominee, assuming he has something close to the needed 1237 by July. While some observers speculate on Republican “kingmakers” meeting in secret during the convention to help broker the selection of someone other than the presumptive nominee, the possibility of that actually occurring is practically zero – there is no chance, in this day and age, with media eyes and ears everywhere, that any sort of “backroom” deals would actually take place, and positively no chance they would fly with the Republican electorate if they did occur.
By Robert G. Yetman, Jr. Editor At Large