It’s not officially Donald Trump vs Hillary Clinton – yet. Don’t let the fact that there are 29 states left fool you. Primaries have been called with 1% reporting. The likelihood of the number two contenders pulling off a comeback victory is highly unlikely. Ted Cruz needs 74% of the remaining Republican Party delegates to win the nomination and Bernie Sanders needs 66% in the Democratic Party. Both have slightly more than 30% of the delegates to date.
Assuming Cruz splits Rubio’s votes in future primaries with Trump and Kasich continues at a 10% rate, the approximate delegate count for each Republican candidate going in to the convention is Trump 1229 delegates, Cruz 810 delegates, and Kasich 250 delegates. Because Rubio suspended his campaign instead of dropping out, his 169 delegates remained attached to him. If Rubio should drop out, his delegates become free agents who can vote for any candidate they want. With Trump so close to the magical 50% needed for nomination it would be extremely hard for the Republicans to give the nomination to another candidate without causing a full scale revolt within the party.
An interesting but unlikely scenario would arise if Kasich and Rubio dropped out right before the convention. Their combined 419 delegates would become free agents. If they all went to Cruz it would put Cruz and Trump in a virtual tie. Trump would have the popular vote but not the delegates. Stranger things have happened, still it’s more likely that those delegates split between Cruz and Trump, giving Trump more than the 1237 delegates needed for the nomination.
On the Democrat side Hillary Clinton is a virtual lock. Sanders needs to completely flip the script from the first half of the primaries. Getting swept on March 15th’s Super Tuesday broke any momentum he gained in winning Michigan. He’ll stick around until the convention to spread his message and influence Clinton, but there’s almost zero chance of him winning the nomination.
A Clinton vs Trump general presidential election scares me. I’m not a fan of either one. They both have their strengths and weaknesses. Neither garners any trust with the other party’s constituents. We’re looking at another four years of a country divided. Once again each party has produced a candidate but has failed to produce a leader. Americans will be left to choose between the lesser of two evils. When will we get to choose between the greater of two goods? What is General John Mattis up to these days?