This thing is getting ready to get ugly. Weeks ago it looked inevitable that Donald Trump would be the Republican nominee for president. Those chances don’t look so sure anymore. Some time back in this space I said the only person who could stop Trump was Trump. It looks like that may have happened.
Of all the things Trump has done it’s a head-scratcher that this one thing might be his undoing. A careless retweet of a meme comparing his wife to an unflattering picture of Heidi Cruz. Don’t misunderstand, I thought the meme was in bad taste, but Trump is famous for saying and doing things that rub people the wrong way. It’s a curiosity that this particular stunt bit like it did with women. But it did.
Depending on which poll you look at, the majority of Republican women now have an unfavorable view of Donald Trump. That’s no minor problem. The road to the nomination goes through several more liberal states where Republicans tend to be moderate. The chance that Trump hits the magic number of 1,237 delegates seems to be dwindling.
Now Trump is saying getting to 1,237 is “very unfair.” He cites the number of candidates in the field as one of the reasons it’s unfair. Only he, Cruz, Rubio, and Kasich have any delegates to speak of, and it’s just as unfair for any other candidate as it is for him. He’s trying to spin this as particularly unfair to him, which it is not. Granted, having much of the GOP establishment against you is daunting — and I believe unseemly — but having to get to 1,237 is not unfair. It’s called a majority.
Let me put this in terms everyone can understand. Let’s say you’re taking a course at school and 70 is passing. If, at the end of the semester, your average is 69, you fail. You get a 70 and you get a D. You get a 69 and you get an F. There’s nothing unfair about that. You come up short, you come up short.
The reason you have to get 1,237 delegates is because there are 2,472 delegates in total. Half of that number is 1,236. In order to clinch the nomination you must get half plus one. In the case of the nomination, you don’t have to get a 70 to pass, you just have to get a 50. It’s not too much to ask that a party’s nominee be supported by the majority of delegates.
That’s not to say that Trump doesn’t get the nomination on the second vote, but there very well may be a second vote, and if there is, nobody’s stealing the nomination from Trump. But you can’t tell that to Trump and many of his supporters. He’s painting a scenario where anything short of his getting the nomination is a scam. In fact, north of 60 percent of Republicans in a recent poll believe if Trump gets close enough he should get the nomination. Close only works in horseshoes and hand grenades.
Ted Cruz is smart enough to be working a ground game in some states Trump already won. He’s lobbying delegates to vote for him on the second vote and that’s causing consternation and accusations of stealing in the Trump camp. This is how the process works. Trump, of all people, should understand the art of the deal.
We may very well look back at the turning point in this campaign being the petty retweet of a tasteless meme. Trump’s ego, which ignited a phenomenon and movement, may ultimately be his undoing.
Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, The Phil Valentine Show.