Putting much of the recent doubts about his slowing momentum to the side, Donald Trump roared to a major victory in New York last night, collecting over 60% of the vote which will see him come away with a huge haul of delegates that moves him closer to the GOP presidential nomination.
Trump began the night with 756 delegates, according to The Associated Press. He appears poised to take 89 of the 95 delegates that were up for grabs in New York. That would bring Trump’s total to 856 delegates, putting him 68 percent of the way to the 1,237 needed to clinch the nomination before the Republican National Convention in July.
With his latest 845 delegates, he remains some 392 short of the 1,237 needed for the nomination. There are only 674 delegates still up for grabs in contests between now and the last day of elections on June 7, and Trump would need to win about 58 percent of them to secure the nomination.
As the WSJ adds, the sweeping victory across the state, Trump is below the critical 50% threshold in just four of the state’s 27 congressional districts, eliminated rival Ted Cruz from having any mathematical chance of winning the nomination outside of a contested convention. It left Trump as the only candidate who can become the party’s nominee without a floor fight in Cleveland.
Trump would claim all of New York’s delegates if he won 50% of the statewide vote, a mark he surpassed easily, and 50% of the vote in each congressional district, a threshold he will nearly meet.
However, going forward it's not all smooth sailing: regardless of his final delegate haul in New York, a series of potential potholes remain on Trump’s road to the GOP nomination. He must win 64% of the bound delegates, those obligated to support a particular candidate on the first convention vote, that remain in the 15 states yet to hold primaries.
If Cruz prevails in a series of May contests in Indiana, Nebraska, Washington and Oregon, he can stop Trump from reaching 1,237 delegates and send the Republican contest to a desperate scramble for unbound delegates and a multiple-ballot scenario unseen since Thomas E. Dewey won the party’s 1948 nomination on the third ballot.
Even with his convincing win in the New York primary, Trump will be forced to fight state-by-state for delegates through the end of the GOP nominating calendar on June 7, when California’s 172 delegates will be at stake. Trump just began hiring California staff this month, once new top aide Paul Manafort took control of most campaign operations.
Whether Trump hits 1,237 is likely to remain uncertain until the final day of elections on June 7, after all of the votes are counted at the congressional district level in California, the largest delegates prize on the map. If Cruz is successful in blocking Trump, according to the Hill he’ll become the favorite to emerge as the party’s nominee at a contested convention.
The Texas senator has proven far better than Trump at getting his supporters elected as delegates, even in states that Trump won, such as Georgia and South Carolina. These delegates will be bound to Trump for the first vote at the convention in Cleveland in July. But if Trump fails to win the nomination on that first ballot, many will be able to move their support to Cruz, potentially pushing him across the 1,237-delegates threshold.
In his victory remarks Tuesday night, Trump acknowledged that he has been outfoxed by the Cruz forces and warned unbound delegates who could swing the nomination away from him not to do so. "Nobody should get delegates unless they get those delegates from voters and voting,” Trump said. “It’s a crooked system; it’s a system that’s rigged. We’re going to be going back to the old ways: You get votes and you win.”
At the same time, Trump’s campaign is preparing to put up a fight for unbound delegates in Pennsylvania, a task that Trump’s allies have failed to accomplish in a series of states in the last month. The jockeying over the Keystone State’s convention-goers is expected to be fierce, because 54 of 71 delegates to Cleveland won’t be bound to any candidate. Potential delegates’ presidential preferences won’t be noted on the Pennsylvania ballot.
Meanwhile, John Kasich, who stands to get the remaining New York delegates, has been eliminated from winning outright for months but is also sticking around in hopes of blocking Trump from the nomination.
He has argued that polls show he is the only Republican candidate who can beat likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
Meanwhile, when looking at Trump's market-based odds, after slumping as low as the mid-40s one month ago, according to PredictIt his chance of grabbing the GOP nomination is back to recent highs, with some 63% odds.