I Come to Bury Cruz, Not to Praise Him

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

“Friends, Republicans, Pulse readers, lend me your ears; “I come to bury Cruz, not to praise him.”

Last night, Donald Trump won everywhere. The margins were absolutely staggering: 29 points in Connecticut. 31 points in Maryland. 35 points in Pennsylvania. 39 points in Rhode Island. 40 points in Delaware. He didn’t finish below 55 percent in a single state.

These are not margins that can be explained away by geography or demographics. These margins are a symptom of a campaign that has now concluded.

Delegates

Trump won 109 of 118 pledged delegates available last night, not counting Pennsylvania’s 54 unpledged delegates, bringing his delegate total to 954. He is now just 283 delegates away from clinching the nomination (1,237) with 488 delegates remaining, and again, that is assuming Trump wins none of Pennsylvania’s 54 unpledged delegates, which is a faulty assumption to make.

More reports on the allegiances of Pennsylvania’s 54 unpledged delegates are likely to emerge in the coming days, but a CNN report yesterday gave us some insight. CNN interviewed most of the delegate candidates, and of the candidates, 25 percent said they would support Trump, and 42 percent said they would support their district’s choice. If this polling holds true with the 54 elected delegates, Trump should win approximately 36 of the 54 delegates’ votes on the first ballot at the Republican convention. That would bring his total delegate total to 990, needing just 247 of the 488 remaining delegates to clinch the nomination. Continue Reading

Trump Isn’t Wrong When He Says Process Is “Rigged”

Donald Trump (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

By nearly every metric, Donald Trump is expected to win big tonight in Pennsylvania. With 71 delegates up for grabs, one would think that Trump would win a vast majority of the delegates — 40, 50, maybe even 60 delegates.

But that will not be the case. When Trump wins Pennsylvania tonight — and he is leading by 20-plus points in all the polls — he will be guaranteed just 17 delegates. The remaining 54 delegates are elected by congressional district, which sounds reasonable on the surface, but there’s a catch — the delegates that appear on the ballot are not required to announce who they will support at the convention, nor are they bound to the winner of the statewide race.

This means that Pennsylvania, essentially, has a large swath of wild card delegates that aren’t beholden to the results of the voting. In fact, the Cruz campaign recently bragged to NBC News that, even if Senator Cruz were to finish in a distant third in Pennsylvania, “[t]hey’re looking at more than 30 [delegates].”

This nonchalant dismissal of the will of the voters is staggering and will only add to the frustration many have with the Republican establishment, and what they see as a “rigged system.” While a winner-take-all system of awarding delegates isn’t perfect, it seems preferable to a system of winner-take-some-vague-amount-determined-by-political-insiders.

Joshua Pinho is a Digital Communications Associate for the American Principles Project. Follow him on Twitter @Josh_Pinho. Continue Reading

Donald Trump Wins New York. What Now?

From left: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Ohio Gov. John Kasich, and Donald Trump

Last night, Donald Trump won New York in emphatic fashion. Not only did he win with more than 60 percent of the vote, but according to current results, he managed to win 90 of 95 delegates in the state, exceeding even the most optimistic of expectations. John Kasich won the other 5 delegates, and Ted Cruz won zero.

After several bad nights in a row, Trump is back to being a winner. So will New York help him get to the magic number of 1,237 delegates?

Here’s where we stand currently:

Pre-New York Delegate Count (via RealClearPolitics):

  • Donald Trump: 756
  • Ted Cruz: 559
  • John Kasich: 144

Updated Delegate Count:

  • Donald Trump: 846
  • Ted Cruz: 559
  • John Kasich: 149

Trump needs just 391 delegates to hit the magic number. There are 664 delegates remaining. That means he needs to win 59 percent of them to secure the nomination. Can he do it?

It’s certainly not impossible, but he would need an impressive showing next Tuesday. Five states vote on Tuesday — Connecticut, Delaware, Rhode Island, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. 172 delegates are up for grabs.

Here’s how it will go down:

Connecticut (28 delegates)

Connecticut awards 15 delegates winner-take-all by congressional district (3 delegates from each of 5 districts), and awards its remaining 13 at-large delegates proportionally, unless one candidate wins a true majority (50 percent + one) of the popular vote.

That’s complex, so I’ll give you a couple examples. Continue Reading

Cruz Collapses on the Eastern Seaboard

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Just over a month ago in the first week of March, Donald Trump was at just 34 percent in the state of Maryland, while Ted Cruz was in striking distance in second with 25 percent and John Kasich had 18 percent.

Fast forward to the latest Monmouth poll in Maryland, which has Trump commanding 47 percent of the vote, with Kasich second at 27 percent and Cruz fading to just 19 percent.

Maryland is not the only state where this is happening: in mid-March, a Franklin and Marshall Pennsylvania poll had Trump with just a third of the vote, 3 points ahead of Kasich, with Cruz trailing at 20 percent. The latest Fox News Pennsylvania poll has Trump surging to 48 percent of the vote, with Cruz still stuck at 20 percent.

A new Emerson Connecticut poll has Trump at 50 percent, with Cruz at 17 percent.

This is a Cruz campaign in trouble: his message of beating Donald Trump appears to be backfiring with voters who want a candidate who stands for something and think Donald at least does that.

The Northeast was always better territory for Trump — a culture in which they do not mind their politicians brash, brassy and swaggering.

Still a month ago, Trump was hovering around a third of the vote. Now he is at 50 percent.

Cruz’s message of “Trusted” was always narrowly focused on internal conservative politics, not outwardly focused on what electing him will do for the American people. Continue Reading

Can Trump Still Avoid a Contested Convention?

Donald Trump (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

After Donald Trump’s recent losses in Wisconsin and Colorado, there has been increasing talk of a contested GOP convention in Cleveland and how such a scenario would play out.

However, such talk is still premature. Trump still has a difficult, but not impossible, road to reach the 1,237 delegates necessary to win on the convention’s first ballot. As Jon pointed out earlier, a big win in the New York primary next Tuesday (which is looking quite possible) would greatly improve those odds.

Once voting concludes in the Empire State, the race then moves to a handful of east coast states the following week, including Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, and Rhode Island. However, the most important for Trump’s chances might be Pennsylvania with its 71 delegates, though not for the reasons one might expect.

NBC News’ Steve Kornacki explains:

Officially, only 17 delegates are directly at stake in that contest. They will go to the winner of the primary statewide. The other 54 are unbound delegates. They will run under their own names on the ballot, and if they are selected as delegates they will be free agents in Cleveland, free to vote for any candidate they want. Because Cruz has done well with unbound delegates in other states (like Colorado and North Dakota, where there was a premium on organizing), many are assuming that Pennsylvania’s unbound delegate bloc will be a problem area for Trump. It actually could be a major source of strength for him.

Continue Reading

A Cruz Crash in Pennsylvania?

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

The latest Fox News poll shows a big gain for Donald Trump in Pennsylvania, to 48 percent support, but perhaps most worrisome of all is a big slump for Ted Cruz, who has dropped to 20 percent from around 30 percent. Electorally, the Cruz campaign is moving in the opposite direction from where it needs to be, perhaps a response by voters to his campaign’s competent success in denying Trump delegates, which is perceived (not without justice) as circumventing the will of the people.

Cruz and the entire Republican Party’s biggest problem, however, remains the lack of a clear, coherent, and persuasive economic message: an explanation for why Main Street has been in an economic slump for at least a decade while Wall Street keeps getting richer.

The entire free enterprise system is now endangered by the failure of the GOP to address voters’ principal concerns.

Trump has an explanation: its China’s fault, it’s Mexico’s fault. And he has a “solution”: a big bad hombre negotiating tough things with these bad guys hurting us.

The explanation and the solution are both false, but Trump is at least addressing voters central concerns.

Bernie Sanders’ explanations and solutions are equally false — witness his most recent ignorant suggestion that banks should not be in the business of making money, they should just lend it to people who need it. But the Democrats’ campaigns are all about people’s economic pain.

Cruz needs to step up his game. Continue Reading

My Prediction: Trump Won’t Break 1,000 Delegates

Donald Trump (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Donald Trump is headed to victory in New York, but the question is: can he can break the 50 percent barrier? I think not because lately he’s been underperforming his polls.

But looking ahead, things start to get really tough for Trump, who continues to face massive resistance for a front runner and who has refused to invest in an actual campaign infrastructure to fight for delegates.

Two polls show Trump ahead in California and Maryland (by 7 and 10 points, respectively), but Trump is polling at only 39 percent in California and 40 percent in Maryland.

Meanwhile, the rich delegate pile in Pennsylvania (where Trump is also at 39 percent, 9 points ahead of Ted Cruz, who typically outperforms his polls by around 5 percentage points) is going to depend on getting voters to vote not for your name in the primary but for the delegates who will actually vote in the convention, and whose names are not matched with any candidates on the ballot.

Who would bet against Cruz pulling off the massive share of actual delegates in Pennsylvania? Trump will threaten to sue, again. But the delegates will vote for Cruz.

It’s a messy system, but nobody has ever had a Pennsylvania GOP presidential primary vote that mattered. Winning requires more than appearing on TV for free. Trump has exhausted that strategy. He’s going to see diminishing returns — yes, even in New York.

Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project and can be followed on Twitter @MaggieGallaghe. Continue Reading

New Polls: Cruz Surging in Wisconsin, Trump Trouncing in N.Y. and Pennsylvania

From left: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Donald Trump

The latest poll shows Ted Cruz is up by 6 points in Wisconsin, a winner-take-all primary on Tuesday. And Donald Trump’s terribly bad week — attacking Heidi Cruz, wriggling around on abortion, attacking Scott Walker for balancing the budget without raising taxes, and assorted policy missteps — appears to be hurting him in a national poll.

For the first time in a month, Trump dipped below 40 percent of GOP voters, down to 38 percent in the latest Investor’s Business Daily poll, just 7 points ahead of Cruz.

But there was some good news for Trump in the northeast. He is close to 50 percent in Pennsylvania (47 percent), with Cruz and John Kasich splitting the un-Trump vote, and, despite a bad week, he is still over 50 percent in New York (52 percent), with the same Cruz and Kasich split giving him a massive double digit lead.

Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project and can be followed on Twitter @MaggieGallaghe. Continue Reading

The Kasich Surge in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

All the fighting about wives between Ted Cruz and Donald Trump appears to be hurting both, while John Kasich is swooping in to claim the moderate/liberal lane in a divided GOP.

A new Wisconsin poll has Trump slumping to 31 percent, just two points ahead of a surging Kasich, who is in turn two points ahead of Cruz. That’s a drop of 3 points for Trump and of 9 points for Cruz. You cannot out-Trump the Trump. Headlines detailing the spat over wives, whomever started it first, are turning off voters who want a president who will make their lives better, not further degrade their daily experience.

By staying outside the feuds and relatively unknown, Kasich is putting himself in contention to block Cruz in Wisconsin and possibly Pennsylvania, where a new poll shows Trump stuck at 33 percent and Kasich surging to 30 percent.

Cruz’s super PAC has responded with this attack ad, finally focused on Cruz’s economic message and emphasizing that Kasich is not an economic conservative:

(Since Kasich has boldly seized the moderate lane, as Patrick Ruffini just tweeted, I’m not sure that emphasizing he’s not that conservative economically helps).

The divisions in the GOP are now boldly on display. The DC GOP establishment should be getting a clear message: the standard Republican economic message is not connecting with voters — not even GOP base voters. This is the true divide Trump is exploiting — he has conceded and adopted social conservative positions and has driven a stake into the standard Chamber of Commerce pro-business Republicanism. Continue Reading