Things have changed since my last post on this. Last time, I thought it was relatively certain that Trump would be the Republican US Presidential nominee. I am not so sure now. First, we had Mitt Romney’s extraordinary, unprecedented excoriation of Trump. Then we had that unheard of event: the Trump gaffe machine gun finally fired a round which rebounded on him – I refer to his rapidly recounted suggestion that women who have abortions should be punished (which, lest we forget, was followed by a casual grunt to confirm that he thought it inconceivable that the men involved should even be considered for equal treatment).
The maths behind the Republican nomination race is interesting. What appears to be happening, is that, as the field narrowed from Snow White, the seven dwarves, Uncle Tom Cobbly and all down to just three candidates, Trump has carried on getting about forty percent of the vote in states where he needs more. In other words, he has reached a ceiling which is just not high enough for him to sew up the Republican nomination before the national convention. His Waterloo, in retrospect, may turn out to have been Wisconsin. It’s a state where they make a lot of cheese and a lot of people of Norwegian descent live. Those canny Scandinavians were having none of Trump.
And indeed, Trump is exceptionally unpopular across the US populace. But he has managed to do fantastically well by running, interestingly, an “insurgent’s” campaign where he “ripped up the playbook”. If you’re interested, I would encourage you to read this article in New York Magazine, which describes the Trump campaign at length. I love this bit:
I was well aware that Trump runs a bare-bones operation, but college-newspaper offices have more robust infrastructure than his national campaign headquarters—to say nothing of Hillary Clinton’s 80,000-square-foot headquarters in Brooklyn Heights.
One of the article’s conclusions was interesting:
One explanation for all this raggedness is that the Trump team is simply burned out. People who know Trump say they’ve never seen him so tired.
Ted Cruz has stashed away enough delegates for the convention, so that it seems Trump could be stopped. It looks increasingly unlikely that Trump will win enough delegates to win the nomination on the first ballot at Quicken Loans Arena, Ohio. Then delegates become “unbound” and anything could happen. But those couple of sentences don’t do full justice to the labyrinthine, amorphous, shape-shifting beast known as “the Republic convention rule book”.
Ted Cruz also seems to have the edge in getting his delegates on the slates for key states. In the last few days, Trump has been outmanoevred in Indiana, before a vote has been cast in their primaries. In addition, CNN reports:
…the Texas senator is dominating the complex, behind-the-scenes race for delegates at state conventions like the recent one in North Dakota. Colorado’s state convention appears to be following that pattern.
It’ll get extremely messy. Trump won’t go quietly. I give you Roger Stone – practictioner of the Black Arts of politics, who worked on the Re-elect Richard Nixon campaign (see Watergate). He’s a Trump ally or “surrogate”. He’s threatening to disclose the hotels and room numbers of delegates who help to nobble Trump’s chances. He’s also threatening that Donald Trump will go round to some of those rooms with his “hairdryer”. All this nonsense will send the Republican party into even more turmoil. The whole Tea Party rump will feel, if it’s possible, even more angry. It won’t end prettily. Some form of schism or civil war seems likely.