Trump, Clinton continue rolling toward nominations

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were the big winners in Tuesday's primaries, with Trump taking winner-take-all contests in Illinois and Florida and Clinton sweeping five Democratic contests.  The victories for both candidates sent them well on their way to first ballot nominations at their respective conventions later this summer.

In addition to winning Illinois and Florida, Trump also beat Ted Cruz in North Carolina and is poised to pick up Missouri as well.  With 99.9% of precints reporting, Trump is leading Ted Cruz by 1,700 votes in the Show Me state.

Trump's victory in Florida – a two-to-one thrashing of home state Senator Marco Rubio – drove the establishment favorite from the race.  And Cruz, who was shut out on Tuesday night, managed to pick up only 26 delegates.  Trump now has amassed just about half of the 1,237 delegates he needs for the nomination.

The Kasich victory in Ohio doesn't give him a path to winning 1,237 delegates via primaries and caucuses.  But it slightly increases the chance that Trump will not be able to reach that magic number prior to the Cleveland convention, turning the quadrennial event into a free-for-all that could doom the party to a massive defeat in November.

Now, the question turns to whether Trump can amass the 1,237 delegates needed to avoid a contested convention and win the nomination outright. 

With only two winner-take-all states left until the end of April, winning Florida’s 99 delegates outright gives Trump an advantage over his competitors, who would need many huge showings to net that total over their rivals. 

It also served the dual purpose of knocking out Marco Rubio, who lost to Trump handily in his home state. That could make it easier for Trump to hit the threshold, as one less candidate will now be competing to split the delegates, which will mostly be awarded proportionally. 

John Kasich’s victory in Ohio deprives Trump of 66 delegates in that winner-take-all state, making it that much more challenging for the front-runner to find that many delegates elsewhere at one time. 

The Kasich victory only keeps the Ohio governor alive toperhaps, get to a contested convention—he was already mathematically unable to win the nomination no matter whether he held his home state.   

Cruz stands to be the only candidate with any shot of defeating Trump before the convention, but his chances at reaching 1,237 delegates remain even more unlikely than Trump.   

As of Tuesday night, Cruz has lost at least four of the races of the night, he sits more than 200 delegates behind the front-runner and would need more than 80 percent of outstanding delegates to finish with the delegate majority.  

That hasn’t stopped Cruz supporters, as well as other Republicans hell-bent on depriving Trump the nomination by any means necessary, to call for the GOP to coalesce around Cruz, the senator whose made his name refusing to unite with his party’s establishment.  

Avik Roy, a former Rubio health care adviser, immediately called for “Rubio supporters—and all conservatives—to united around [Ted Cruz]” in a post on Twitter. 

Former Cruz aide Rick Tyler agreed. 

“If John Kasich stays in the race, he may as well contribute all the money he spends in-kind to Donald Trump because he will make it so that Cruz cannot compete with him in the winner-take-all states,” he said Tuesday night on MSNBC. 

Bernie Sanders is dead in the water after losing all five contests Tuesday night.  He will pick up some delegates, but Clinton will take home the lion's share.  She is now about two-thirds of the way to winning on the first ballot at the convention.

Kasich will probably get enough anti-Trump money to stay in the race to the bitter end.  And Ted Cruz has proved himself adept at raising money from his supporters, so he can continue campaigning well into the future.  He also will benefit from anti-Trump efforts by the establishment.

Can a party-destroying bloodbath be avoided at the convention?  As long as Cruz remains competitive and Kasich keeps getting 10-15% of the vote, the nature of the primaries makes it more and more likely that Trump will get close but probably not surpass the 1,237 delegates needed to prevent a contested convention.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were the big winners in Tuesday's primaries, with Trump taking winner-take-all contests in Illinois and Florida and Clinton sweeping five Democratic contests.  The victories for both candidates sent them well on their way to first ballot nominations at their respective conventions later this summer.

In addition to winning Illinois and Florida, Trump also beat Ted Cruz in North Carolina and is poised to pick up Missouri as well.  With 99.9% of precints reporting, Trump is leading Ted Cruz by 1,700 votes in the Show Me state.

Trump's victory in Florida – a two-to-one thrashing of home state Senator Marco Rubio – drove the establishment favorite from the race.  And Cruz, who was shut out on Tuesday night, managed to pick up only 26 delegates.  Trump now has amassed just about half of the 1,237 delegates he needs for the nomination.

The Kasich victory in Ohio doesn't give him a path to winning 1,237 delegates via primaries and caucuses.  But it slightly increases the chance that Trump will not be able to reach that magic number prior to the Cleveland convention, turning the quadrennial event into a free-for-all that could doom the party to a massive defeat in November.

Now, the question turns to whether Trump can amass the 1,237 delegates needed to avoid a contested convention and win the nomination outright. 

With only two winner-take-all states left until the end of April, winning Florida’s 99 delegates outright gives Trump an advantage over his competitors, who would need many huge showings to net that total over their rivals. 

It also served the dual purpose of knocking out Marco Rubio, who lost to Trump handily in his home state. That could make it easier for Trump to hit the threshold, as one less candidate will now be competing to split the delegates, which will mostly be awarded proportionally. 

John Kasich’s victory in Ohio deprives Trump of 66 delegates in that winner-take-all state, making it that much more challenging for the front-runner to find that many delegates elsewhere at one time. 

The Kasich victory only keeps the Ohio governor alive toperhaps, get to a contested convention—he was already mathematically unable to win the nomination no matter whether he held his home state.   

Cruz stands to be the only candidate with any shot of defeating Trump before the convention, but his chances at reaching 1,237 delegates remain even more unlikely than Trump.   

As of Tuesday night, Cruz has lost at least four of the races of the night, he sits more than 200 delegates behind the front-runner and would need more than 80 percent of outstanding delegates to finish with the delegate majority.  

That hasn’t stopped Cruz supporters, as well as other Republicans hell-bent on depriving Trump the nomination by any means necessary, to call for the GOP to coalesce around Cruz, the senator whose made his name refusing to unite with his party’s establishment.  

Avik Roy, a former Rubio health care adviser, immediately called for “Rubio supporters—and all conservatives—to united around [Ted Cruz]” in a post on Twitter. 

Former Cruz aide Rick Tyler agreed. 

“If John Kasich stays in the race, he may as well contribute all the money he spends in-kind to Donald Trump because he will make it so that Cruz cannot compete with him in the winner-take-all states,” he said Tuesday night on MSNBC. 

Bernie Sanders is dead in the water after losing all five contests Tuesday night.  He will pick up some delegates, but Clinton will take home the lion's share.  She is now about two-thirds of the way to winning on the first ballot at the convention.

Kasich will probably get enough anti-Trump money to stay in the race to the bitter end.  And Ted Cruz has proved himself adept at raising money from his supporters, so he can continue campaigning well into the future.  He also will benefit from anti-Trump efforts by the establishment.

Can a party-destroying bloodbath be avoided at the convention?  As long as Cruz remains competitive and Kasich keeps getting 10-15% of the vote, the nature of the primaries makes it more and more likely that Trump will get close but probably not surpass the 1,237 delegates needed to prevent a contested convention.