All right, let’s break down the Republican math, since the mainstream media appears determined to avoid analyzing the numbers in any manner that is even remotely relevant to future events. I’m using a corrected and updated version of the spreadsheet created by a reader here, Frank B. Luke. According to the latest reports on CNN, Trump has 385 delegates and Cruz has 298.
There are the following delegates up for grabs in the next 10 days. The next seven “states” are proportional:
Let’s be conservative and give both Trump and Cruz a minimum of 40 percent of the delegates apiece, or 108. (On Saturday, the day of his big “loss” to Cruz, Cruz took 57 percent and Trump took 44 percent). Now the score is: Trump 493 and Cruz 406. Next comes the big showdown on March 15, winner-takes-all for three states and one territory.
09 (Northern Marianas)
If Trump takes all four, which is currently more likely than not, thhis minimum expected delegate count to 719. Trump will then only need 518 more, 193 of which he can expect to get in a worst-case proportional distribution. (Remember, he can reasonably anticipate more than 108 we assigned him from the 271 available proportional-state delegates; based on the polls, 162 would be a more reasonable estimate.) So, that means to clinch the nomination, he will need somewhere between 271 and 325 delegates from the 606 that remain in the winner-takes-all states, 172 of which are in California.
TL;DR: If Trump wins Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and California, plus one state from the following list (Arizona, Missouri, Indiana, Wisconsin), he wins the nomination. Period. Nothing else matters.
This is why Cruz should spend the week telling his supporters to vote for Rubio in Florida and Kasich in Ohio. But he won’t, because his so-called strategists are far more concerned with what they call optics than they are about actual tactics.
It should be amusing to see how many pundits and analysts suddenly start talking about the significance of the difference between winner-takes-all and proportional states without ever mentioning the source. Because despite all of their endless opining, none of them have bothered to work any of this out.