With overwhelming victories in the New York primary by Donald Trump (89-3; with 3 delegates yet to be declared) and Hillary Clinton (175-106; with 10 delegates outstanding) the path for either challenger to have a legitimate claim at their respective conventions just got significantly harder.
The two strategies are totally different.
Ted Cruz has a ‘Stop Trump’ strategy of attempting to deny Trump of an outright delegate win by depriving him the 1237 delegates needed. This would trigger a convention battle.
Bernie Sanders has a strategy of forcing the superdelegates to determine the election–and then he has the case to present at the convention that he is the winner of the pledged delegates–this would take 2026 delegates (total delegates minus superdelegates, the magic number becomes 2026).
But the math is just getting harder… but not impossible:
The percentages needed to create a convention battle on both sides is actually better than the front runners need to win.
Trump has a great calendar over the next few primary dates, while the Democratic system of proportional voting makes it harder for Sanders to actually capture the ‘magic number’ without sweeping most of the remaining states.
On the Democratic side, Sanders has to maintain a long streak of winning more delegates than Clinton in every remaining contest, because Clinton only needs 598 delegates to block this strategy by claiming Sanders’ magic number of 2026 delegates for herself.
But things could change overnight on the Democratic side, with Sanders meeting with advisers over the next few days — a campaign suspension could be possible (but definitely not probable).
Cruz and Kasich are more than likely in it to the bitter end, fighting for every possible avenue to win a few extra delegates, by balloting or political jockeying.
This sets up a major fight for next week’s primaries, where the races could both be totally decided by mathematics on April 26.
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore