War of the Vote Sponges: the Battle of Indiana

by Dr Swaggins

For some time now we’ve known that the sole purpose of Kasich being in this race is to sponge up enough delegates from Trump to keep him from the magic number of 1237. Two points on that:

1) How dumb must Kasich voters be? Do these people really want to elect someone who does that? That’s not just a sleazy thing to do: that’s spending several months doing nothing but that one sleazy act, gathering donations for it, and doing it on national television.

2) It seems that Ted Cruz has become a delegate sponge as well, after the satisfying Trump victory in New York. In order to catch up to Donald Trump, he needs to get 286 more delegates than Trump does, which is about 39% of the remaining delegates.

The math on this one is really funny. Donald Trump has over 40% of the popular vote among Republicans now nationwide, so Cruz would need to get 79%, for a total between them of 119% of the actual delegates remaining.

Cruz catching up to Trump would require Trump’s numbers magically dropping down to 30.5% despite his considerable momentum and the well known loyalty of his supporters, and it would also require Cruz’s numbers to magically jump up to 69.5%.

And this is assuming that Kasich is smart enough to see this insane turnaround coming, and drops out early enough to avoid sponging up a single delegate from Cruz.

The odds of this are about as low as Cruz winning the election in the first round, which is impossible now. I would be less surprised if I encountered a flamboyantly gay albino midget walking his pet grey wolf through town, but then I live in the sort of place where you might see that.

For his part, Trump needs 53.2% of the remaining delegates now. A conservative estimate on his current support is 40.3%, and by conservative I mean that it leaves out polls like this one pegging him at 48%.

I think that his odds of reaching 1237 are pretty good. One week from now we have Super Tuesday 3 or 4, I don’t know or care which, and it consists of Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, and Rhode Island. Now, nobody cares about Rhode Island because there’s 19 delegates and they’re awarded proportionally. Seriously, the most recent RI polls I can find are from when Rubio was in the race.

Delaware has only 16 delegates but they matter because it’s winner take all. This is the closest thing I could find to a Delaware poll. Trump scrapes up 16 delegates.

Trump is crushing his opponents in Connecticut, where 13 of the state’s 28 delegates are allocated to the winner, with the rest doled out proportionally.

Trump is winning in Maryland, where 14 of 38 are allocated to the winner in the same way.

As for the 71-delegate titan Pennsylvania, he’s gonna make us sick of winning. And he’s going to rake in 17 more extra delegates when he does so.

In total there are 172 delegates up for grabs on Tuesday and 60 of those will be won by simply winning the states, all of which he has over 40% in. This means that there are only 112 delegates that are really up for grabs, and he’ll grab at least 40% of those in addition to the 60 he grabbed by making us sick of winning. We’re talking about a conservative estimate at 105 delegates, putting him at 952, with 561 delegates remaining in total and 285 between Trump and incontestable victory.

After Super Tuesday (boring name- let’s call it Trump Tuesday), his remaining needed delegate share goes down from 53.2% to 50.8% or lower. His odds go up not only thanks to that, but also thanks to the fact that many of the people supporting Kasich will give up their Quixotic endeavor after Trump Tuesday. That’s actually a pretty big deal: if Kasich drops out, then Trump will simply have to beat Cruz in the remaining states in order to get over 50% of the remaining delegates.

Better yet, this effect keeps going. Look at the three biggest states remaining:

California, where Trump leads by nine points, allocates an extra 13 of its 172 delegates.

The closest thing to an Indiana poll is this, but I have a few reasons of my own to believe that he’ll do well there:

  1. The recent outsourcing fiasco with Carrier is going to be in the minds of Indiana voters, and he’s going to take full advantage of that.
  2. Indiana has an open primary, which Trump generally does well in.
  3. Trump won in all of the surrounding states other than Ohio.
  4. Trump is up by 9 points nationwide anyway, so Indiana will vote for him unless it’s one of the states which likes him the least.

Trump should sweep up an extra 30 of Indiana’s 57 delegates.

New Jersey, coming in third place, will give all 51 of its delegates to the winner, which will be Trump. Besides that wide lead, he has an endorsement from a recent, popular governor of that state, and if New York is Trump’s home then New Jersey is his back yard. Assuming he does as expected on Trump Tuesday and wins New Jersey, he needs only 45.9% of the remaining delegates.

Of the other seven states, three are winner take all, three are proportional, and one is hybrid. If you’re interested, I scribbled up a pastebin about them.

Assuming he wins 105 delegates next Tuesday and 51 in New Jersey, subsequently needing 45.9% of the remaining delegates, I’m going to make a few predictions:

  1. If Kasich drops out, Trump wins, because all he’d have to do is tie or beat Cruz, something he’s generally successful at. Kasich will likely stay in the race regardless of how indescribably far behind he is for this reason, but Trump Tuesday will take the wind out of his sails either way.
  2. Indiana will be the last stand of the GOP establishment. It’s Oregon and South Dakota rolled into one from a delegate standpoint, and it gives more extra delegates to the winner than California does. If he wins Indiana with 37%, he gets around 40 delegates; an Indiana win would mean that he only needs 42.8% of the delegates from then on out (New Jersey excepted).
  3.  The GOP already knows what I just told you: they can’t win without Indiana. I’m not the first person to recognize its strategic importance. Trump’s advisors have also told him this, and that’s why he’s already there, playing the outsourcing card, exactly as I predicted when I started this post yesterday night. Ads on both sides are being planned, written, possibly recorded right now. After Trump Tuesday, the Battle of Indiana will begin- if it hasn’t already started.

Cruz was mathematically eliminated yesterday, and after next Tuesday I can hope that there won’t be a single voter dumb enough to think that Kasich has a good reason to be in the race. If Trump wins Indiana, his momentum going forward will be such that a lot of the #nevertrump buffoons are just going to give up and stay home. Cruz, possibly with the help of Kasich, would have to beat him by a margin of 14.3 points in the 8 remaining states, in spite of Trump’s 9 point national lead, and in spite of the aforementioned momentum. That simply won’t happen.

If they pull another Colorado somehow or other, it’ll just piss off the voters who still actually have votes. If they send an army of smelly people, it’ll just raise his numbers: Soros tried that in Arizona, Illinois, and New York, and Trump did better than expected in all three states by 9.1 points, 2.8 points, and 7.4 points respectively.

I believe that Trump will sweep next week and that he has New Jersey in the bag. Rubio used to say that the winner of the Florida primary will be the nominee, but I’m placing my bets somewhere else.

Don’t screw this up, Indiana.

War of the Vote Sponges: the Battle of Indiana

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