Donald Trump no doubt had a big win in New York. He’s on track to claim nearly all of the state’s 98 delegates in a victory that saw him not only smash the 50 percent mark – which allowed him to gain extra delegates – but win nearly every region of the state.
But according to the widely respected Nate Silver, writing for his political website, FiveThirtyEight, Trump is still also on track to come up short at the convention. The main question is, will he get close enough to required 1,237 that he can maneuver his way over the top with uncommitted delegates, or do we go to a second ballot, in which case Ted Cruz is in good position to win.
If Trump finishes with 90 delegates from New York and matches the panel’s projections in the remaining states, he’d eventually finish with 1,191 delegates — close enough to 1,237 that he might be able to get there with uncommitted delegates, especially uncommitted delegates from Pennsylvania . . .
I’m not sure we’ve learned as much about how Trump will perform outside the Northeast. It’s been a highly regional campaign so far, and Trump will probably still need to win both Indiana and California to clinch 1,237 without uncommitted delegates. If he loses both states, we’re probably headed for a multi-ballot convention, which would be trouble for Trump. If he splits Indiana and California, Trump will be right on a knife’s edge — that’s the case where the extra two or three dozen delegates he’ll pick up in the Northeast tonight and next week could be the most helpful to him.
Trump has been very smart to discipline his message. People already get that he’s a tough guy and would be a strong leader not cowed by the demands for political correctness. His main problem is that there are many who fear he might be, uh, too strong a leader, and one who hasn’t particularly thought the issues through. By cooling his rhetoric, Republicans may slowly forget Bad Donald and feel more comfortable voting for him.
And given that he toned it down considerably since losing Wisconsin two weeks ago, that might be part of what we saw in New York – in addition to hometown boy makes good and Texan denigrates New York Values and then asks for New York Votes.