The GOP Territories — a #maximumtrump explanation
In the 2016 Republican Primary all 50 states get to vote, as do 6 “Territories” — American Samoa, Guam, the Marianas, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and Washington DC
In a normal year the “Territorial” votes wouldn’t mean much. There aren’t many of them, the rules which govern the selection of the Territorial Delegates are arcane, and hotly contested primaries tend to keep candidates from making long trips far away from the news cycle.
But this year is different and this year the Territories are likely going to matter. If Donald Trump is not able to get “out of the box” of 35% (+/- 5%) and if Cruz, Rubio or Kasich is able to beat him in “Winner Take All” state Primaries, Trump is going to get to the last day of the Primary campaign without the 1,236 Delegates he needs to win the nomination on the first ballot. On that day California holds it’s primary which is nominally a “Winner Take All” contest and the #maximumtrump calculation assumes that Trump wins all those Delegates. But in fact, California’s primary is more complex than a simple “first past the post” contest. Instead, each of California’s Congressional districts awards 3 Delegates to whichever candidate gets the plurality in that District. Which means given California’s diverse politics, that a hard fought campaign in California might not be decisive.
What’s At Stake?
Puerto Rico already had its primary. Marco Rubio won it outright, and gained all 23 of its Delegates.
Washington DC and Guam hold their primaries on Saturday March 12th.
Guam will award 6, and 3 “RNC” Delegates will remain unbound.
Washington DC will award 19 Delegates proportionately to candidates who get more than 15% of the vote. That’s more than Vermont and the same as New Hampshire!
The Marianas award 9 Winner Take All Delegates on March 15th, and the Virgin Islands award 9 Winner Take All Delegates on March 19th.
American Samoa uses a convoluted scheme involving the selection of Delegates in a closed party conference which means effectively they’ll be unbound. That event is on the 22nd of March.
Collectively, the Territories will send 59 Delegates to the National Convention.
Handicapping the Winners
As previously mentioned, Rubio won Puerto Rico. There are numerous reports in the media that Cruz’ team has been working hard out in the Pacific to secure the votes in the Marianas and Samoa. Rubio’s success in Puerto Rico may give him an advantage in the Virgin Islands but Cruz will also run strongly there.
Neither Trump nor Kasich figure to have much chance at any of these Delegates.
The remaining big prize, Washington DC, is a tossup. Rubio did very well in the parts of Virginia that are near the capitol but the city itself has a very different demographic mix than the surrounding area. This could be a place where either Rubio or Kasich gets a lift from urban voters who aren’t like Cruz’ standard base. And of course Trump is likely to have a following although its very hard to say how strong.
Adjustments to #maximumtrump
The model currently assumes that Trump wins a plurality in the Territories although that’s unlikely.
We have Trump winning the 6 Delegates in Guam. It’s more likely that Cruz wins them than Trump.
He’s assumed to win 8 Delegates in DC. I think it’s more likely he wins substantially fewer, maybe even none.
He’s assumed to in 9 Delegates in the Marianas. I believe that he’ll get zero in the Winner Take All event which will likely be won by Cruz.
I think he’s also likely to get zero in the Virgin Islands although a Trump win in the VI would not be a total shocker. They’re currently assigned to no candidate in the model
American Samoa isn’t allocated to any candidate in the model either.
That could be a 23 vote swing for #maximumtrump between tomorrow and the 15th, or a quarter of the Delegates he might win if he beats Rubio in Florida.