Why Ted will Trump Donald

‘If you can’t spot the sucker at the table, it’s probably you.’ — It’s a poker expression, but it could easily apply to the race for the republican presidential nomination. Donald Trump has, up until now, known, with clarity, who the sucker at the table is; he has ruthlessly targeted the weak player, whether it be ‘George’s brother’ Jeb or ‘little’ Marco, through ultra-aggressive tactics, forcing them to fold so many times they simply faded from the game. But now there are only three players left, and things have changed.

The Wisconsin Primary on Tuesday suggested a power shift at the table. Ted Cruz outperformed the polling data and won comfortably, securing 36 of the 42 delegates on offer, with 48% of the vote. Cruz did significantly better, in Wisconsin, than in its neighbouring mid-western states, and this change could represent an altering in voting patterns. Previously, when Marco Rubio was still in play, the mid-western states had split the anti-Trump vote, allowing Trump to win in Illinois and Michigan with voting percentages in the mid-30’s. But, with a consolidated, single candidate, anti-Trump vote, as in Wisconsin, it seems it will no longer be possible for Trump to win states with this level of support. This now means for Trump to win states he is likely to need over 45% of the vote. To achieve these sorts of results will be extremely problematic, for Trump, as it appears as though his support base is not growing as candidates drop out.

Although Trump still has a strong hand to play in the next primary, in his home state of New York, where he is likely to achieve over 45% of the vote and storm to victory, it is deeper into the game that he is likely to encounter unassailable resistance. The consolidation of an anti-Trump vote behind one candidate, as mentioned, combined with the increased alienation of both the Female and the Hispanic sections of the electorate, suggest there is almost no way that Trump can now secure the majority of delegates (1,237) required for an automatic presidential nomination. This means that there is likely to be a contested Republican convention.

The exact rules surrounding a contested Republican convention are, for now, unknown. But there will likely be different rounds of ballots, until a majority candidate is chosen, in which delegates, depending on state-by-state rules can unbind themselves from their original bound nominee and, instead, vote for the presidential candidate of their choosing. This is a problem for Trump; delegates are likely to be local party members, representatives of the conservative section of the party; the section of the party that detests him. Cruz, however, unlike Trump, has been playing the long game. Since the start of the campaign Cruz has been preparing for a contested Republican convention, ensuring he has strong support with life-long local Republicans; people who are likely to be chosen as delegates at local part meetings and committees. His tactics could turn out to be exemplary.

Donald Trump is continuing to look round the table, and now he has no idea who the sucker is.

Jack

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Originally published at jackjb1989.wordpress.com on April 8, 2016.

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