Tuesday, April 26, 2016

You have my permission to ignore today's election results

It's primary day!  Again!  Yay!  Is this thing still going on?

No.  No, it's not.  Five states are holding contests today:  Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Connecticut and Rhode Island.  Donald Trump will win.  And it doesn't matter anymore.  Nobody can possibly overtake Donald Trump in the delegate count.  There are three possible scenarios:

1)  Donald Trump wins an outright majority of delegates.  Much conservative/Republican hand-wringing and agonizing, followed by a normal convention in which the party nominates the guy with a majority of the delegates.

2)  Donald Trump wins, not a majority, but a plurality of the delegates (more than anyone else, but less than 50%).  Much conservative/Republican hand-wringing and agonizing, but after debating whether or not to throw out the election results and hand the nomination to someone who failed to beat Trump, the Republicans just nominate Donald Trump.

3)  Donald Trump wins, not a majority, but a plurality of the delegates, and after much agonizing and hand-wringing, Republican delegates at the convention decide to throw out the election results because they didn't like them, and nominate whoever they please, meaning anyone not named "Donald Trump."

If all you care about is who gets the nomination, the question is what separates Scenario 2 from Scenario 3.  The answer?  As I have been saying all along, the national polls.  So, here they are.  As you can see, Donald Trump still has a commanding lead.  The latest polls have him consistently ahead of Cruz by more than 10 points.  With an average of 43%, he is within striking distance of an outright majority in the polls.  With this kind of commanding lead in the polls, there is no way that the convention can possibly get away with stealing the nomination from Trump.  As I have said all along, the only way Republicans can get away with the contested convention scenario is if public opinion among Republican voters turns against Trump so that delegates can say that they are just obeying the will of the voters, which turned sour at some point after the states held their contests.  Otherwise, it just looks illegitimate.

So let's take a look back at the betting averages.  Just before the Wisconsin primary, when Cruz started overtaking Trump in that state, everyone freaked out and decided that this was the inevitable Trump collapse that people had been predicting all along.  Betting odds for Trump tanked.  As you can see at PredictWise, Trump is now back to around a 75% chance.  Oh, and what was I saying during the great Wisconsin freak-out?  You can go back and find out, here and here.  2016 is weird.  Stuff can happen.  But seriously, folks, if Trump keeps his lead in the national polls, the Republicans cannot get away with stealing the nomination at the convention, even if Trump doesn't quite clear the 50% threshold.

So, you have my permission to ignore today's voting.  I won't, but that's because I care about the difference between Scenario 1 and Scenario 2.  It would be a great show.  Who says we've already reached "peak tv?"

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