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Thursday, January 17, 2019

States don’t win nominations, delegates do. Which is why today could easily be the most important day in the Republican presidential primary thus far: while there were technically more delegates at stake on Super Tuesday than there are today, winner-take-all rules mean candidates have a much better chance of making huge net gains over their opponents in today’s contests.

Every state that’s voted up until now rewarded their delegates proportionally, but that changes today. Florida, with 99 delegates, and Ohio, with 66 delegates, will award all of their delegates to the candidate with the most support. In addition, Missouri and Illinois use forms of winner-take-most rules that award some delegates to the overall winner and some to the winner in each congressional district. The rules should result in the vast majority of delegates from these states going to whoever wins the statewide popular vote.

To fully understand what a big difference these rule changes make, look back at the result in Texas, the most populous state to vote so far. Ted Cruz beat Donald Trump by almost half a million votes in his home state. As a result, the AP projects Cruz will get 104 delegates and Trump will get 48 delegates, since Texas awards them proportionally. That is a net gain of 56 delegates for Cruz over Trump. Yet if Trump wins Ohio by just one vote (polling shows him tied with John Kasich), he will win all 66 of the state’s delegates. That would dramatically increase Trump’s delegate lead over second-place Cruz.

To put Florida’s importance in perspective, consider this: Cruz has done better than Trump in nine contests so far, eight of which Cruz actually won. As a result of all these contests, Cruz is projected to pick up roughly 99 more delegates than Trump over those nine states.

As far as the delegate math is concerned, a Trump victory in Florida would effectively cancel out every Cruz victory to date.

At the moment, Trump only holds about a 90-delegate lead over Cruz, but if he wins every state today, his delegate lead over Cruz could easily grow to over 370. If that happens, it would not only be mathematically incredibly difficult for any candidate to get more delegates than Trump, but also very tough to stop Trump from getting the delegates he needs to secure the nomination outright — even if all the other candidates worked together on it.

The delegate rules and math make tonight a real turning point. Any #NeverTrump effort needs at least one of the other candidates to beat him in one of the states voting today to remain viable. That’s why John Kasich, who’s running neck-and-neck with Trump in Ohio, has invested so much time in his home state. Mitt Romney is there stumping for Kasich now, and Marco Rubio’s campaign even floated the idea that his supporters should vote strategically for Kasich in Ohio.

It might not make much difference. Despite Romney’s earlier plea that #NeverTrumpers “vote for Marco Rubio in Florida, for John Kasich in Ohio, and for Ted Cruz or whichever one of the other two contenders has the best chance of beating Mr. Trump in a given state,” voters seem reasonably wary of voting against their own preferred candidate.

As does at least one candidate. As Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols said recently of the “strategic voting” scheme to stop Trump: “We were going to win in Ohio without his help, just as he’s going to lose in Florida without ours.”

 

Photo: A person holding a Ted Cruz sign stands in a voting booth with a child in Bedford, New Hampshire, February 9, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri 

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9 responses to “Why Today Is More Important Than Super Tuesday”

  1. Dominick Vila says:

    I think Trump and Hillary will win Florida easily. The same is true for North Carolina. I am not so sure about Ohio. Kasich and Sanders have a good chance to pull an upset there, and in Illinois.
    If Trump wins Florida, Rubio is out of the picture. If he wins in Ohio, Kasich is out. The same is not true for the Democratic race. I expect Bernie to go on all the way to the convention, regardless of how many delegates he has. Part of his candidacy is based on his conviction to remind Democrats of what our true values are, and what our expectations or preferences ought to be.

    • FireBaron says:

      I would still really like to see Little Marco pull off an upset. Not because I like the little snot. Just to sort of make THE DONALD’s campaign go on a little skid.

      • plc97477 says:

        Unfortunately little marco has not done the job florida sent him to do and some parts of florida remember that.

        • dpaano says:

          Yes, but someone needs to take down Trump…..even Rubio! We can’t let ANY of the GOP candidates win the presidential election or we’ll all be in serious trouble and this country will go down the tubes quickly.

      • dpaano says:

        If I had my druthers, and if I were a Republican (heaven forbid), I would vote for Rubio. Cruz is dangerous….he wants to do away with many of the departments in the government that are needed; i.e., IRS, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Commerce Department, and the Energy Dept…..probably also the EPA! This shows me that this candidate does NOT care about the citizens of this country and ONLY about the people who “own” him (like the Koch Bros, et al). It’s pretty sad that people just do NOT see the damage this individual (and the other GOP candidates) will do if they are elected. Even Trump…..read an article today about how he would grow the deficit tremendously and cause major chaos with health care, which will end up costing the taxpayer more money than they are paying now! Why don’t these idiots voting for these people understand the damage the GOP will rain down on this country? It’s downright scary!!!

        • @HawaiianTater says:

          A lot of people are afraid of Trump but it’s Cruz that terrifies me. The USA could survive Trump. I’m not so sure it could survive Cruz. Hell, I’m not so sure the planet could survive Cruz. He thinks he’s a biblical anointed king. That kind of delusion is scary. Say what you will about Trump but at least he’s not a religious zealot who thinks he is on some sort of holy mission.

  2. What an incredibly byzantine and anachronistic system we have. Surely, the time has come for a redefinition of the electoral process that currently exists.

    The sheen and veneer says “democracy”, but the methodology, atmosphere, and open endorsements smack of something that’s other-worldly, and detracts from the ideal of “secret ballot” and reliance on a well-informed mind and higher nature in order to determine who to vote for.

    • dpaano says:

      I agree….whatever happened to one person-one vote? I do not think we should have the “electoral college,” it’s a real pain. The problem is that it’s based on the amount of delegates in each state, who wins that state, and who gets what. Sometimes a state can vote overwhelmingly for one candidate, but the other one gets the delegates because of the “percentage.” It makes absolutely NO sense!!! If we’re going to have primaries in each state, then the candidate that wins in that state should get ALL of the delegates and none of this percentage crap! It should depend on the popular vote!

  3. FT66 says:

    Winner-take-all system is very brutal. I can’t imagine how those who will lose will feel after spending: time, money, effort and end up getting totally nothing. It is really a cruel system.

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