Donald Trump's extraordinary Tuesday evening in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Delaware got me thinking: if this GOP presidential process were a prizefight, the referee would have stopped it last night. The announcer would have exclaimed, " Donald Trump, winner by knockout."
The impressiveness of Donald Trump's clean sweep of the "Acela Primary States" on Tuesday isn't in the victories themselves. Everyone knew that Trump would do well on Tuesday in the more moderate northeast. It's the margin that's notable. This was a shellacking. The knock on Trump was that he had a ceiling or that when other candidates dropped out, his numbers would stay static and the other contenders would flourish. It hasn't panned out, at least not enough to significantly change the contours of the race.
Rather, what we've seen throughout this entire GOP presidential primary process is that Trump is winning all around the country. Thanks to evangelicals, he's won in the Deep South; thanks to moderates, he's winning in the northeast; and thanks to "Reagan Democrats" he's winning in the industrial Midwest. The only place he really hasn't done well is in the Mountain West but even out there, he did win Arizona.
Trump has been the consistent national front-runner for nearly the entire race. And even after suffering tough defeats (Iowa and Wisconsin), he's bounced back and shown a resiliency to actually get stronger as the process moved along. He may be getting beat at the insider delegate game but when it comes to actually securing Republican primary votes, there's no argument to be made against the fact that Trump has shown to be the most popular candidate out there. The anti-Trump pundits love to take the total percentage of the candidates running against Trump and exclaim that the majority of republican voters don't want Trump. That's a silly argument. For example, if Trump gets 40 percent of the vote in a state and Cruz gets 35 percent and Kasich gets 25 percent, the argument is that 60 percent of GOP Primary voters in that state are against Trump (35 percent plus 25 percent). But using that logic and math, then it would reason that 65 percent of GOP Primary voters in that state are against Cruz (40 percent plus 25 percent) and 75 percent of them are against Kasich (40 percent plus 35 percent)! I mean, come on.
Here's the point: Trump has a compelling case to make to the unbound delegates in Cleveland if he arrives short of the 1,237. He's on his way to having more Republican votes than any other candidate in modern GOP Primary history; he has more delegates than any candidate; he's shown a propensity to win all around the country and he can point to how he clearly has crossover appeal to democrats and independents. It's enough verification to make a General Election case. Will it be easy? No, this is no slam-dunk but the degree of difficulty isn't as high as people think.
I think Trump's "real" magic number sits at about 1,150. That means he'd be less than 100 delegates away from securing the nomination. He'd have between June 8 and the first ballot in Cleveland to secure the rest of those unbound delegates. That's certainly doable and what it means is that the time between June 8 and July 18 in Cleveland will be crucial and really be when Trump will need to display, The Art of the Deal. He has the body of evidence on his side, not to mention the fact that if he doesn't get the nomination everybody knows that Trump and his delegates will make things rough for the GOP in a General Election. All of this gives him, "leverage" which he talks about extensively in, The Art of the Deal. He says without it, you're in trouble when it comes to the negotiating phase.
It all leads back to the fact that Trump is poised for a big knockout punch by the time delegates' vote in Cleveland. There are really just two big boxing rounds left: Indiana and California. Trump needs to finish it off there. If he performs poorly, he opens himself up to coming into Cleveland more than 100 delegates short of the nomination. Then it gets much more dicey and the underdog challenger has a chance for an upset.
The Cruz campaign operation has been stellar in this regard and they are poised to capitalize if Trump's team stumbles at the finish line. Think of it this way: In a boxing match, if a boxer isn't knocked out, then it comes down to a decision by the three boxing judges. Well, if Trump doesn't knock Cruz out by the first ballot, then those three "boxing judges" (delegates) will give Cruz a controversial split decision.
© 2016 Christian Broadcasting Network. All rights reserved.
David Brody is an Emmy Award winning 23-year veteran news journalist who is currently the Chief Political Correspondent for CBN News. David has interviewed many prominent national figures during the course of his career. His recent one on one interviews have crossed the ideological spectrum.
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