This primary season has less than 20 states to go with about 1/3 of the delegates left. If Ted Cruz reaches the point of mathematical impossibility, all strategies boil down to spoiling the possibility of a majority of delegates for Donald Trump. After that, the possibilities are actually worse.
Let’s assume that no one thinks Donald Trump is a bad Republican or that he is unqualified for the nomination. From a numbers standpoint, Trump isn’t all that popular. Even his supporters think that Trump may be inducing Independents and Democrats into primary races and caucuses. Trump has yet to reach 50% in any state contest. In most cases, a plurality (sometimes in the low 30’s) is enough to win more than half the delegates in a state. While those numbers have gone up in what is essentially a two man race, the only majorities are being won by Ted Cruz and those are in small states.
It’s pretty clear that Donald Trump’s campaign is leveraging lower popular support for proportionally higher delegate counts. He does just well enough to get the higher number of votes because he can’t get a majority. He’s attacked his opponents pretty much evenly, so they will all take similar sized pieces of the pie. This way, the big piece doesn’t have to be that big.
The Trump general election strategy is probably the GOP playbook for 2016: A Ham Sandwich Could Beat Hillary Clinton. Unfortunately, Donald Trump has the one thing that can lose any Republican the presidency, weak support among Republicans. If you think Trump doesn’t believe in conventional political wisdom, the biggest lie is that Republicans will go out and vote for the guy who’s not the Democrat. That piece of wisdom lost the 2012, 2008, 1996, 1992 and probably the 1976 elections.
I’m going to be really annoyed if I have to say I told you so to Hillary opponents who see her win the White House.