David Wasserman

Trump’s path to victory

There are a great many people speculating on how Donald Trump can win.

I prefer data, which is why I read FiveThirtyEight for my information. Subscribers to INCITE: Politics will know that I recommend this site to everyone interested in knowing what is going on in US politics.

They explore the path to victory for Donald Trump, or at least get close enough to make a claim for him to be the candidate.

Some of their key points are:

harry (Harry Enten, senior political writer): My biggest takeaway is how on the knife?s edge this is going to be. We probably won?t know whether Trump is going to clear the 1,237 threshold until at least June. It?s March 21 ? we have a long way to go.

dave (David Wasserman, House editor at the Cook Political Report and FiveThirtyEight contributor): First off, while we don?t know whether Trump will hit 1,237 or not, we should all be able to agree on one takeaway: For the first time in a very long time, every state will matter ? and yeah, this thing?s going all the way to June. I don?t see any way for Trump to attain 1,237 untilJune 7, and I don?t see any realistic way for him to be mathematically eliminated from 1,237 before June 7.

natesilver (Nate Silver, editor in chief): When I was filling out my projections, I was a little bit surprised that I had Trump coming up short of 1,237 since I thought I was being fairly optimistic for him in individual states. However, once you account for the facts that (1) there are quite a few uncommitted delegates and (2) Trump isn?t likely to do so well in less populous states west of the Mississippi, which is a fair bit of what?s out there ? well then, Trump has to do really well everywhere else.

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Who said the Tea Party are finished and washed up? They just nailed Eric Cantor

Political pundits had written of the Tea Party long ago, saying they were washed up and finished as a political force.

And then they rinsed?Eric Cantor,?the number two?Republican in the House of Representatives:

Shortly after eight on Tuesday night, Twitter went a little nuts, and so, presumably, did Eric Cantor, the second-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives. The Associated Press, CNN, and other news organizations had just called the Republican primary race in Virginia?s Seventh District for David Brat, a hitherto little-known economics professor who is associated with the Tea Party wing of the G.O.P. Cantor had become the first House Majority Leader to lose a primary renomination.All over Washington, commentators were called out of dinner; Fox News broke into the O?Reilly Factor; and political reporters struggled to come up with a correct historical analogy. Since virtually no one?or, at least, no one in the world of political forecasting and punditry?had predicted Brat?s victory in the primary, it would be presumptuous, at this stage, to say anything definitive about its causes or its consequences. But here are a few things that can?t easily be contested.

In the 2012 G.O.P. primary, Cantor, who has aggressively courted Tea Party voters, tacitly promoting himself as a conservative alternative to Speaker John Boehner, defeated his opponent, Floyd Bane, by 79.4 per cent to 20.6 per cent. Evidently, Brat, who teaches at Randolph-Macon College, in Ashland, Virginia, wasn?t the sort to be put off. According?to the?Wall Street Journal, his works include ?God and Advanced Mammon: Can Theological Types Handle Usury and Capitalism?? and ?An Analysis of the Moral Foundations in Ayn Rand.? He entered the race at the start of this year, and was determined to make an issue of Cantor?s ties to the Party?s Washington-based establishment. Writing for the Daily Caller, a conservative news site, in February, Brat?said:

Congressman Cantor?s profile has been erratic even by Washington standards ? flitting from eager establishmentarian coat-holder to self-glorified ?Young Gun? and back again. His loyalties, both upward and downward, have shifted in his eager embrace of the Ruling Class. Washington?s only genuine article of faith: maintaining control regardless of how that control affects the life of the folks back home.

Brat fastened onto what was perceived by elements of the G.O.P.?s grass roots to be Cantor?s willingness to compromise on immigration reform and offer some form of amnesty to immigrants who had entered the country illegally. (In Washington, the House Majority Leader was sometimes portrayed as a?barrier?to such a reform.) This issue galvanized Brat?s campaign, and brought him to the attention of conservative media figures such as Laura Ingraham and Mark Levin, who both expressed support for him. Just this past weekend, Ingraham?appeared alongside Brat?at a political rally in Virginia, and jokingly suggested that President Obama should have traded Cantor, not five Taliban leaders, for Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. Brat, meanwhile, kept hacking away on the immigration issue, saying, ?A vote for Eric Cantor is a vote for open borders. A vote for Eric Cantor is a vote for amnesty.?

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