I’ve been keeping an eye on the Bloomberg delegate tracker because it summarizes the data in an interesting way. Four thoughts related to the Republican race:
- As somebody who thinks Donald Trump would be an absolutely disastrous president, I find it a relief (albeit a temporary one) that Trump did not perform as well as the expectations seemed to suggest and that his total delegate count is currently less than the combined Cruz-Rubio vote.
- The debate for those who share my concerns about Trump is whether it’s now better to keep multiple candidates in the race in order to prevent Trump from capturing half of all delegates before the convention or that strategy would backfire by splitting the non-Trump votes in winner-take-all states and push him over the finish line. The answer depends a great deal on the individual candidates and how they’re likely to perform.
- A key question or variable in that decision is whether the anti-Trump push can be sustained and remain effective. I suspect that it can, because Trump is such an obvious conman with a long history as a slippery public figure. If the push does not succeed, it will likely be because the mainstream media wants to keep him viable in order to blow him up on Hillary Clinton’s behalf during the general election.
- Anybody who sees Trump’s taking nearly 50% of the Republican vote in Massachusetts as evidence that he’s got crossover appeal may be misconstruing the local dynamic. For one thing, Republicans in New England absorb so much negative commentary about all Republicans, at least on the national stage, that they may be more likely to see Trump as no worse. And to the extent that there were crossover votes, a few talk-radio callers notwithstanding, I’d worry a good portion of them were strategic Democrats who think he’ll be an easy target for either Democrat.
One additional thought, in general:
- While browsing through the delegate counts for states that have and have not held their primaries, yet, it struck me that (if I’m reading the chart right, it’s more important for presidential candidates to win Puerto Rico than Rhode Island, and a few island nations that most people don’t even know to be part of our electoral system could swamp the Ocean State.