I think it’s a no brainer who won and who lost yesterday. Ben Carson seems to have finally woken up after a six-week coma and told himself in a daze, “Wait, I can suspend my campaign? I can actually do that?” Rubio is running out of opportunities, and it seems that Cruz is the only candidate able to overtake Trump as the face of the Republican ticket. The only question is how much Clinton and Trump won.
Politics aside, let’s bring a little mathematics into the picture. According to Politico, Clinton has 1052 delegates and Sanders has 427 (including superdelegates). Regardless of the optimism flowing out of /r/sandersforpresident, the situation for the Vermont senator is grim. He has little working for him, primarily due to the proportional nature of the delegate allocation. As long as Clinton continues to win states or lose by small margins, it’ll quickly become impossible to catch up. What states does he need to win?
Clinton needs only 1331 delegates to secure nomination while Sanders needs 1956. With 3286 delegates currently up for grabs, Sanders from here on out needs to globally secure at least 1956/3286 or 59.5% of the remaining delegate pool. This is actually quite the high percentage. Although 59.5% of the delegate pool doesn’t mean that he needs 59.5% of a popular vote, it’s pretty close due to proportional allocation.
Clinton’s victories are in dark blue, Sanders’ victories are in cyan, and upcoming contests through March 8 are in green. Clinton has the overwhelming support from the minority, especially the black demographic, which explains the sweeping victories in the South. Still surprising was the fact that Clinton was able to win Massachusetts even though Sanders should have technically had the edge there in terms of Sanders’ target audience. It’s clear that Sanders needs decisive victories across the midwest and west, along with the northeast region. In the distant future looms California with a whopping 542 delegates at stake, which can help Sanders immensely with a decisive victory. Is Clinton running out of “firewall” states? Only time will tell; let’s look at the derivative of the delegate accumulation function over time and see if Sanders overtakes Clinton there. But for now, it seems that Clinton isn’t running out of steam any time soon.
As for Trump, he’s poised to take the GOP nomination, but the margins are much closer than you would expect. Cruz only trails by 96 delegates, and the situational winner-take-all system in the Republican primaries could turn the tables quickly any time soon. It’s pretty clear that Trump only gains from the divisive establishment. Cruz, Kasich, and Rubio are splitting their votes when combined they could be in a position to beat Trump. This is why Cruz is calling for Rubio to suspend his campaign along with others and rally behind him. Quite possibly the most important winner-take-all Republican primary is Florida, with 99 delegates up for grabs. Even a narrow Cruz victory here could help him catch up very quickly. Of course, that’s still two weeks from now: we still have a Super Saturday and a mini-Super Tuesday (the sequel) to look towards before making further conclusions. It could very well be that by the time Florida rolls around, it will already be too late.
In conclusion: any sane person doesn’t have to be a wizard to project that the presidential ballot come November will have Clinton and Trump’s names on it. But this isn’t your normal presidential election. We could have the first Jewish president, the first female president, the first Hispanic president, or Donald goddamn Trump for president. In an election cycle this diverse and this chaotic, pretty much anything can happen. Let’s cross our fingers and hope for some drama.