by Abdul-Hakim Shabazz, ESq.
One of the first things they teach you in Politics 101 is how to count, especially when it comes to the number delegates needed to win a nomination. Because now that we are past Super Tuesday, knowing how to count delegates is more important than the actual delegate count.
This is important because while Donald Trump has a clear lead in the delegate count, there’s a lot more to it. Try to keep up.
Using Real Clear Politics as our reference point, Trump clearly leads with 316 delegates. A candidate needs 1,237 to win. That means Trump has 26 percent of the delegates he needs to win. However, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Dr. Ben Carson and John Kasich have a combined 365 delegates. So when you look at total delegates (everyone else who dropped out notwithstanding) Trump has 47 percent of current total delegate count, everyone has 53 percent. And remember a majority gets you the nomination, not a plurality.
Now here’s the second thing to think about here. Trump does very well when there is an open primary system. He won big in new Hampshire, South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia and Massachusetts which are all open and anyone can vote as long as you are registered. He did not do so well in Alaska, Oklahoma and Iowa which are closed primaries. Why does this matter? There are 21 contests between now and the end of the month, seven caucuses, 11 primaries and three conventions. Fifteen of those are closed, so only registered Republicans can vote, which means they are structurally favored for someone other than Trump.
Also throw in the fact that out of those 21 contests, only seven are winner take all and that depends on breakdowns of congressional district delegates versus winner take all delegates. And don’t even get me started on the rules regarding proportionality. It’s even more complicated.
So what’s the moral of the story. Like I said, you have to know how to count. And after looking at the map for the next 30 days, anyone who thinks Donald Trump has this election in the bag, definitely does not know how to count.
Abdul-Hakim is the editor and publisher of IndyPolitics.Org