Trump, Clinton Win in Arizona, Lose Elsewhere

In the Arizona primary yesterday, Donald Trump won all 58 delegates on the Republican side in a winner-take-all contest, while Hillary Clinton defeated Bernie Sanders on the Democratic side to take 46 delegates to his 27. In Utah’s caucuses, Ted Cruz secured 69.2% of the vote and tripped the 50% trigger to make it a winner-take-all contest, picking up all 40 delegates. Meanwhile, Mr. Sanders won the Democratic caucuses in Utah and in Idaho, worth 24 and 17 delegates respectively. Mrs. Clinton earned 6 delegates from Utah and 7 from Idaho. Despite the gains Mr. Sanders made, and despite Mr. Trump being shut out in Utah, yesterday’s races merely confirmed that this November’s general election is likely to be a contest between Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump, who will not face an open convention.

Mr. Sanders did close the delegate gap yesterday, and that is a positive from his perspective. He won the day 68 delegates to Mrs. Clinton’s 59, an improvement of 9 for him. The problem is that the gap is still immense., which counts superdelegates (unelected party hacks) who have declared a preference as well as elected delegates in its totals, has Mrs. Clinton ahead 1,681 to 937 with 2,147 remaining and 2,383 needed to secure the nomination.

For Mr. Sanders to take the nomination, he needs to win more than 67% (1440) of the delegates remaining. Yesterday, he took just over 53.5% of the delegates. Even if there were winner-take-all contests where he was the favorite, that would be a huge mountain to climb. Given the proportional nature of the delegate allocation formulae of the Democrats, he needs somewhere between 65-70% of the votes from here on out. Between now and the end of April, 1,039 more delegates are at stake. If Mr. Sanders doesn’t win at least 650 of them, his task becomes even more unlikely. Because only 276 delegates are awarded for contests in May, one doesn’t expect Mrs. Clinton to wrap up the nomination before June 7, but on that date, California’s 546 delegates and New Jersey’s 142 should be carved up in such a way that she wins on the first ballot at the convention.

On the Republican side, the scenario this journal laid out on March 9 did take a small knock when Mr. Cruz took all of Utah’s delegates. One expected Mr. Trump to lose the state but also to do well enough to garner about 12 delegates from the total of 40. That didn’t happen. However, he exceeded expectations in last week’s contests, so he is still within 500 votes of the nomination on the first ballot (CNN has him 498 shy, and this journal belives he’s a bit closer, not significantly, however).

Ted Cruz has emerged as the non-Trump candidate owing to the failure of John Kasich to pick up a single delegate yesterday. He may very well stay in the race all the way to the convention in the hope that it is an open one, but others in the establishment see the writing on the walls. Jeb Bush endorsed Mr. Cruz today. The problems for the anyone-but-Trump crowd are the gap between the Trump delegate total and the Cruz total and the demographics of the states that have yet to vote. In April, there are contests in Wisconsin (42 delegates), Colorado (37), New York (95), Pennsylvania (71), Connecticut (28), Rhode Island (19), Delaware (16, winner take all), and Maryland (38, winner take all). None of these has much of an evangelical Christian vote, making it hard to see how Mr. Cruz could win even one of them save perhaps Wisconsin.

This journal expects Mr. Trump to pick up around 175 delegates in April, just over 100 in May, and that puts him around 200-225 short of the nomination. On June 7, he should carry the winner take all states of Montana (27), New Jersey (51) and South Dakota (29). New Jersey’s 51 and California’s 172 are awarded by congressional district with a bonus for winning the state. This journal believes, with or without Mr. Kasich in the race to the end, Mr. Trump is going to reach the convention with 1,275 to 1,300 delegates and win the nomination on the first ballot.