I nodded at this in the Scarborough post but it’s a big enough deal to warrant its own thread. 42-34 is the (almost) final tally from Cali this morning. The 173 delegates are awarded proportionally, which means roughly 70 for Maverick and 60 for Mitt, right? Wrong. Proportionality in this case means winner-take-all by district, so those delegate estimates work only if McCain and Romney take 42% and 34% of the state’s districts. They’re 53 separate little primaries; the statewide popular vote is largely meaningless.

So how’d they do by district? If you saw the earlier thread, you already know. We’re looking at a delegate breakdown closer to 160-10, which qualifies as, shall we say, an objectively bad day for Mitt Romney, even among serious analysts whose pundit fu is, of course, to be trusted. It has, at last, come to this.

Update: CNN puts Maverick at 615 delegates but with only 56 in his column thus far from California. Team McCain says the real number is closer to 775. Which means…

Speaking with reporters today, McCain adviser Charlie Black said, “To date, we have 775 delegates, Romney has 284, Huckabee has 205. It takes 1,191 to clinch the nomination. There are 963 left to be chosen, so Romney or Huckabee would have to have all of them — all of them — to get to 1,191. Now you can’t do that because a majority of those 963 are chosen in proportional primaries, which means you’d have to get 100% if the vote to get them all.

Update: What’s the likelihood of Mitt blowing McCain out in the remaining states?

[N]early half the coming reaces are open contests — those that allow Democrats and independents in which McCain has fared well. “To make things worse for Mitt, the open contests are in larger states (Ohio, Texas, Indiana).

Update: CPAC may be Romney’s last hurrah.

Update: Reader James P. turns Charlie Black’s logic around in an e-mail:

All Mitt (and Huckabee) need to do to deny McCain enough delegates to win the nomination is win 547 of the remaining 963 delegates – roughly 57%. Which means it will go to the convention, where anything can happen. Given that around 66% of Republicans voted for someone other than McCain last night, it’s not out of the question, especially given most of the upcoming contests are awarded on a proportional basis and McCain won’t be taking primaries outright (like he did last night).

All that does is lock up the VP nomination for Huckabee, though, doesn’t it? Maverick goes to the convention with, say, 1,000 delegates needing 191 more to win. He pulls Huck aside, the deal is done, and he gets the Huck faction in return for promising him the bottom of the ticket.

Update: Noam Askew tries to game out a brokered convention. Not all delegates are bound to the candidate they’re pledged to, he reminds us, a fact very much in Romney’s mind right now.