Looking ahead to May, Cruz may well win a few contests after these six – Indiana, for example, is a safe bet, and probably Montana — but Trump will almost surely take New Jersey, West Virginia and Oregon as well as Washington. Victories in these states will put Trump in striking distance of the magic number of 1,237. Even if he ends up short, there’s always California on June 7. California awards 15 delegates to the popular vote winner and assigns 3 delegates in each of 53 legislative districts – each, constituting in effect, a mini-primary. Trump may well win the state — he’s been leading f by high single digits for months — but he can count on winning a large number of districts, regardless. His total delegate haul, even if he loses, will almost surely put him over the top.
And what leads HuffPo or anyone else to think that Kasich is sufficiently popular in the party to displace Ted Cruz as its party standard-bearer, should Trump fall short? There is no evidence that Trump’s delegates would magically appear in the Kasich column – or the Rubio column for that matter. In all likelihood, Cruz would gain without completely displacing Trump. And as the balloting proceeded, there would be more not less pressure on Kasich to drop out and leave the contest to the two front-runners to sort out. Kasich or Rubio – if in play at all – would likely emerge as prospective VP candidates.
A Trump collapse? We’ve been hearing about this eventuality from the beginning of his entry into the race. But by April 26, less than two weeks from now, he will be in striking distance of the nomination and a good 400 delegates ahead of his nearest competitor, Ted Cruz, who will be mathematically eliminated as a first ballot victor.