Donald Trump and his family. Saturday February 20, 2016.
Why Donald Trump is overestimated
Every other Republican candidate—and probably both Democratic candidates—would love to be in Donald Trump's shoes. Dominant, in control of most news cycles, Teflon to scandal and his own gaffes, connecting with should-be-out-of-reach demographic groups with ease, and trouncing the competition. Despite that, the reports of Donald Trump’s coronation as the next Republican nominee are quite premature. He may well end up the GOP nominee. Yet, there are several reasons why he may not.
The GOP race remains a crowded field. There are four other candidates of varying success and even if you discount Carson (you should), Cruz and Rubio are serious contenders. So long as that many candidates remain in the race, it becomes difficult for Trump to amass a majority of delegates heading into Cleveland. Cruz and Rubio may not be able to beat Trump in many of the states to come, but they can be enough of a nuisance to keep him from the type of "clinch" we have seen in previous years after a handful of primaries and caucuses. That moment usually comes early (or early-ish) when it becomes clear someone will march to the convention and the race effectively ends. This year is not one of those years.
Party rules make it hard for Trump to clinch. While some states are winner-take-all in their allocation of delegates. Many are not. Many allocate strictly proportionally or function as a winner-take-all if and only if a candidate receives a supermajority (between 66 percent and 85 percent depending on the state). Trump is "winning" by pulling 30-40 percent of states' votes, making those winner-take-all-thresholds far out of reach. It also makes securing the nomination formally (winning a majority of delegates) or informally (broad support being so obvious that further competition is seen as fruitless) that much more difficult.
Party leaders don't like Donald Trump and they're scared to death of his candidacy. The GOP brass see themselves—right or not—to be in a very strong position this year. Secretary Clinton's candidacy exists in the shadow of scandals and investigations and her primary competition is a self-described socialist. They think their chances to retake the White House are quite good, but only if they have the right candidate. They believe Donald Trump is not that candidate. The Republican primary contest has "uncommitted delegates" (Democrats call them "superdelegates") who are able to cast convention votes without input from voters. There are fewer of them than Democrats have, but in a close primary contest, they may make a difference. These unpledged delegates tend to be state party leaders.
If Republicans head to Cleveland with no candidate securing a majority of delegates (every political pundit’s daydream), and a brokered convention comes to fruition, the uncommitted delegates may play an outsized role. So, too, may the party brass—the baron-like establishment that Trump and his supporters rail against. It would be a risky proposition to strip the man with the most delegates from being the nominee, but the party may see it as their only avenue to beating a Democrat in November and thus make it a reality. For the GOP leadership the calculus is easy: if we nominate Trump we absolutely lose; if we give the nomination to someone else, Trump's supporters will be angry, but we at least have a chance of winning. Economists' expected value calculations make that decision a no-brainer. The politician's calculations make it more difficult.
That said, if Republican leadership have any opportunity to usurp Trump's momentum and keep him from being the 2016 Republican Party nominee, they will do it. The crowded field, the primary rules, and the preferences of many in the party mean it's a real possibility. Trump and, in a similar way, Ted Cruz have built campaigns and candidacies based on running against and explicitly spitting in the face of the party brass. They work well with angry voters, but in a brokered convention it is a death knell. A brokered convention is great news for party leaders afraid of Trump, for more mainstream candidates like Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, and for the health of the Republican Party. But at the end of the day, the almost unbelievable state of the Republican primary could be salvaged on the floor of Cleveland's Quicken Loans Arena. If it takes that long, the man or woman chosen in a smoke-filled room may bask in the glow of being the Republican nominee. But the real winner in that situation will be the person Democrats select as their nominee a week later in Philadelphia. In that way, the only thing worse for the Republican Party than Donald Trump would be an establishment-led overthrow of Donald Trump.
For those making absolutist predictions based on the South Carolina results, take a deep breath. This race is nowhere near over. We have no idea who the nominee will be. The only thing Trump's unbelievable win in South Carolina tells us is that the Republican primary will continue to be an unbelievable mess...maybe even a YUGE one.
//This is why we who Blog for Trump can and will make a YUGE difference. Ever vote counts and the more we who actively blog can address this issue by forwarding this blog and others to not only pro Trump FB sites, but other sites with uncommitted votes such as millennials, Hispanics, Latinos, Asians, African Americans, libertarians, and yes Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders supporters sites may push our leader over the top. You will get a lot of flack from posting on some of these sites (each one listed may have multiple sub sites to post to) but that only show you how angry you have made them. Do not post back unless you want to fight. I no longer do. God Bless you all. Let's all BLOG for TRUMP!