After a string of electoral defeats, Donald Trump’s big New York win on Tuesday has reenergized supporters and according to some, has fundamentally altered the trajectory of the race.
According to an internal study conducted by the Trump campaign immediately following the primary vote, the Republican frontrunner is likely to secure more than the necessary 1,237 delegates for the nomination even before the GOP convention takes place in July.
While the political calculus prior to Trump’s blowout win was concerned primarily with whether the Manhattan billionaire could get close enough to 1,237 to win on a second ballot convention vote, the internally-circulated memo indicates that Trump is poised to secure the support of more than 1,400 delegates ahead of the first ballot.
“Our projections call for us to accumulate over 1,400 delegates and thus a first ballot nomination win in Cleveland,” the document read according to a Washington Post report.
The memo outlined the real estate mogul’s path to the nomination, suggesting that the candidate was likely to secure roughly 1,237 delegates in the remaining primary states. In addition, the campaign estimates that nearly 200 unbound delegates could be won over, putting Trump above 1,400.
The Trump campaign’s new battle plan includes a far more sophisticated ground-game to avoid the delegate-hemorrhaging failures that have plagued the campaign in recent weeks. In Colorado, for instance, Trump’s supporters were mistakenly told in some instances to vote for delegates aligned with Texas Senator Ted Cruz’s campaign.
With newly-hired campaign strategists Paul Manafort and Rick Wiley – both veteran Republican advisers with decades of experience inside the Washington Beltway – Trump has signaled a shift in strategy. While the candidate hitherto relied primarily on earned media and voter enthusiasm to win primary contests, the GOP frontrunner is now preparing for the kind of meticulous ground game operation needed to maximize his delegate count.
Despite the optimism in the Trump camp, observers still believe the candidate has a long way to go before he becomes the prohibitive favorite. Many suggest that a contested convention will ultimately hinge on Trump’s performance in the Indiana primary on May 3rd.
As the New York Times’ Nate Cohn has suggested, Trump is unlikely to secure enough delegates in California and on the eastern seaboard in states like Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania to reach 1,237. According to Cohn, Trump would have to perform well in Indiana as well and win the lion’s share of delegates. And given the total lack of polling in Indiana, Trump’s chances to perform well there are largely a mystery.