Peak Trump Hypothetical
And here's the bedrock obstacle to Trump's success: there are simply not enough struggling, resentful, xenophobic white people in the US to constitute a national majority sufficient to win a presidential election.
Super Tuesday is March 1st. Obvious to all, Trump has been getting hammered on multiple fronts this past week. I won't bother to go into the details, other than to say that it's getting to crunch time serious, and I think there are a lot of Republicans taking a moment to reflect if they really want to go down with Trump.
From my perspective, the GOP contest is very volatile. Even though Trump has gone up, trendwise, with his numbers in each of the four states (24, 35, 33, 46), he may have already peaked. If so, we'll see it in some sort of Monday-Tuesday polling. Here's what I'll use as a marker into Tuesday.
Of the delegates to date post-Tuesday, a poll-driven result would yield:
Trump - 354
Cruz - 213
Rubio - 98
Kasich - 16
Carson - 12
I don't think we'll get enough polling to really get a feel if it drops, but that should at least give a post-election feel of if there was a shift.
I'll give a reason why I think it's volatile. Take Vermont. The recent poll shows Trump is leading with 33 percent. Marco Rubio and John Kasich are tied for second with 14 percent.
Compare that with the Democratic side, where it shows an 83 - 9 lead by Sanders.
Notice the difference? Only 8% undecided among Democrats and a staggering 39% left unaccounted for among Republicans. You could assume that divides evenly, but who knows!
To the states:
Alabama Primary (50 total delegates/47 bound)—Proportional with 20% threshold
Alaska Caucuses (28/25)—Proportional with 13% threshold
Arkansas Primary (40/37)—Proportional with 15% threshold
Georgia Primary (76)—Proportional with 20% threshold
Massachusetts Primary (42/39)—Proportional with 5% threshold
Minnesota Caucuses (38/35)—Proportional with 10% threshold
North Dakota Caucuses (28/0)—The state does not have a presidential preference poll and all delegates are officially unbound. Caucuses can be flexibly scheduled
Oklahoma Primary (43/40)—Proportional with 15% threshold
Tennessee Primary (58/55)—Proportional with 20% threshold
Texas Primary (155/152)—Proportional with 20% threshold
Vermont Primary (16/13)—Proportional with 20% threshold
Virginia Primary (49/46)—Proportional
Wyoming Caucuses (29/0)—The state does not have a presidential preference poll and all delegates are officially unbound
Predicting who wins what state doesn't really matter. Well, it does for media, but it's more the percentage they reach, and how many candidates are above the threshold, to decide the delegate math. The more the merrier cadidates reach the threshold if you are trying to keep Trump from a majority.
The thing I'd look for is Trump at over/under 30 in each state, and cumulative. Above he wins, below, he loses. Texas is the biggest contest, and I expect Rubio, Cruz and Trump to be above 20 and divide the delegates. I'm gonna have to go with Cruz winning his homestate, given a machine, and its early voting period, but that its close, and all 3 within 10 percent of the others.
I do believe that Peak Trump has happened. I actually think he peaked about 3 days before the SC primary, in the low 40's, and lost momentum. Then the Nevada caucus a soft aftershock given its geo & cultural bent, but looking back, we will see it as a headfake.
And with the delagate count, after Tuesday, that Trump is right about 300, Cruz about at 200, and Rubio is higher, at about 175. Give or take a dozen each.
That's a pretty sharp move from the above, especially against Trump and for Rubio, and it points toward a brokered convention. The odds of it being right are doubly removed, given the toss-up nature of Texas.
If either Rubio or Trump wins Texas, Cruz will have to fold his tent. If its Trump, then all that really remains are Ohio vs Kasich and Florida vs Rubio, for it to be over. Regardless of whether he has a majority at that point, it will be close enough that he makes some deals.
If Rubio wins Texas... it seems highly unlikely. Well, who knows, as a pre-debate poll by Emerson put it at 29-28-25 for Cruz, Trump, Rubio. That would really signal a turnaround.
But this is all hypothetical. If nothing has changed, Trump is likely to win a few states by majorities, and a near sweep overall of the states. I'm leaning against that being the case, based on the way the terrain shifted, the tenor changed, and that a second (more serious about the implications) look happened over the past few days, but we shall see how it goes Tuesday.
I'm looking forward to the voting; it seems like it's really up in the air at the moment. The ramifications are massive in terms of long-term party affiliation and stability. It's a political junkie's best case scenario, with crazy real-world implications. The best case scenario for Clinton is obviously for it to keep on going as-is, and I think that is exactly what will happen.