I should really stop writing horse race posts. Norm Ornstein’s got this.
Here are his five possibilities:
- Trump gets 1,237 delegates by June 8.
- Trump falls short of 1,237 in June, but gets to the majority before the convention in July.
- Trump falls short and Cruz trails—but Cruz wins on the second ballot.
- Trump and Cruz form an alliance against the chicanery and evil of an establishment bent on choosing someone else.
- The establishment has enough muscle and support to choose an outsider who does not have the negatives that are evident for Trump and Cruz.
Looking down the barrel of the remaining calendar, and at how Cruz continues to strengthen in California, I think scenario #1 is now relatively unlikely. If Trump gets a big boost after wins in New York and elsewhere in the northeast, that could change – but if nothing changes, Trump is going to fall short.
Scenario #3 is still quite plausible – Nate Silver and Ross Douthat do a good job of explaining why and how Cruz could well prevail on the second ballot. The thing is, the more people understand that to be the case, the more incentive any unbound delegates who loathe Cruz but could tolerate Trump have to prefer scenario #2, and vote for Trump on the first ballot. We just don’t know how many delegates there are who feel that way, or who could be persuaded to feel that way.
I have been arguing for weeks, if not months, that scenario #4 is the reason why scenario #5 simply will not happen.
So I believe the most-likely scenarios are #2, #3 and #4. And which one transpires depends on how well Cruz does versus Trump in the remaining primaries – particularly in Pennsylvania, Indiana and California.
That’s about it. I’ll try to write about something else for the next while.