There’s a lot of despair going around the conservative blogosphere this morning about Trump’s larger-than-expected victory in New York last night. Definitely, it would have been better if Trump had lost 20 or 25 delegates instead of the 3-5 he actually lost, no question about that.
I furthermore expect that next Tuesday will be an equally bad day for the not-Trump forces. I would expect that Trump will get either all or nearly all the delegates that are on offer in the slate of New England states that vote in one week. I expect that Wolf Blitzer and John King might have a literal crown made, complete with precious jewels, and will place it on Trump’s head on live television, during next Tuesday’s post-primary coverage.
Of course, CNN and the other networks have been calling this thing over since Trump won South Carolina – but Republican voters have always had other ideas. And the simple fact is that if you had looked at the primary calendar on day one, you could easily have predicted that April 19th and 26th would be Donald Trump’s biggest days in the entire primary. And yet, even if he sweeps or nearly sweeps next Tuesday, he’s still going to be sitting around 950 delegates, or 970 at most.
Here’s why you shouldn’t despair: the month of May is likely to be a bloodbath for Trump. Ted Cruz has done an admirable job of locking down Washington, and Oregon is likely to follow suit. Trump isn’t even meaningfully contesting Nebraska. West Virginia is a wildcard, because no one knows how the South would have voted in a three-man race. The key lynchpin of the entire month will be Indiana, where Trump will be running against an extremely strong headwind. It’s entirely possible that Trump gets 20 delegates or less in the entire month of May.
The end result of this is that Trump is going to go into the final contest of the primary still needing to get about 80% of the delegates that are up for grabs on that day. And given that he is likely to get blanked in Montana and South Dakota, his chances of achieving that look increasingly slim.
The most likely result right now, even after last night’s voting, is that Trump ends up somewhere between 1100 and 1200 pledged delegates. The decision, then, is still likely to be made at the convention, even after all is said and done.
So don’t buy the hype. This thing isn’t over, not by a long shot.