Indiana: A Preview. The Latest Last Chance to Stop Donald Trump

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If you can believe it, we are down to the last six weeks of the 2016 primary calendar.

After a five state lineup last Tuesday, only Indiana votes today; though one should not mistake its standalone status as a sign of insignificance. It won’t change much in the Democratic race. But it does stand as another bellwether for the Republican side.

Will Indiana give a signal that GOP voters want the race to be effectively over with? Or will they vote to have the debate over who should be their standard bearer in the fall last a little longer?

We are in the homestretch. Let’s preview Indiana.

Republicans

I think we are on the third state that has been marked as the GOP establishment’s “last chance to stop Donald Trump.” Ohio and Wisconsin represented these last stands before.

Normally you could bash the media for hyping such things but in both cases they were actually right. In the lead up to Ohio on March 15, Trump was riding a wave of victories and threatened to win both winner-take-all states, Florida and Ohio. Trump was a lock to win Florida and a win in Ohio could have put the race away early. But Kasich came up big in his home state and stopped Trump’s run at least a little bit.

Same in Wisconsin. It was a state that had a fairly large delegate prize, and one Trump had been leading for most of the year. A win in Wisconsin threatened to wrap up the nomination for Trump as well. Like in Ohio, the Stop Trump movement was able to prevail when Ted Cruz won the state in a landslide.

Which brings us to Indiana. With many of the remaining states on the primary calendar being more friendly terrain for Donald Trump, it is crucial for the anti-Trump crowd to, once again, at least temporarily stop his momentum in the hopes it leads to a contested convention.

Unfortunately for them, their time appears to be running out. Cruz’s momentum, and favorability numbers, have taken a nosedive since his Wisconsin victory. Their forging of a Cruz/Kasich alliance, where Kasich would pull out of Indiana to help Cruz, and Cruz would pull out of Oregon to help Kasich, all in the effort to hurt Trump, unraveled in about 36 hours and backfired with GOP voters.

Even worse for Ted Cruz, his desparate, hail mary strategic selection of Carly Fiorina as his running mate failed to move the needle in his direction and was overshadowed by Fiorina’s creepy song about meeting Ted Cruz’s daughters. If you haven’t seen it, it’ll make your skin crawl. But I digress.

And after Trump’s five state sweep last Tuesday where he not only won every state that voted, he won every single county in each state, some in the GOP establishment are, albeit reluctantly, coming to accept the fact that Trump is likely to be their party’s nominee.

We’ll see what happens, but if Trump is to win Indiana, it’ll be awfully hard for the Stop Trump movement to either prevent him from getting to 1,237 before the convention or getting so close to the number, the convention delegates give him the nomination anyway.

This time, it really might be now or never.

Who votes: Open primary.

Poll closings: Most polls will close at 6:00 p.m. EST. A few counties in the state will close at 6:00 p.m. CST (7:00 p.m. EST)

Delegate Allocation & Thresholds: 57 total delegates available: 27 awarded by district; 30 awarded statewide; no threshold to receive delegates at either the state or district level.

There are nine congressional districts in Indiana. Each one will award three delegates to the candidate who receives the most districtwide votes. These delegates are awarded on a winner-take-all basis.

All 30 of Indiana’s available delegates will be awarded on a winner-take-all basis to the candidate who receives the most statewide votes.

Polling: If the Stop Trump movement is making Indiana its last stand, by the looks of it, they are about to go the way of General Custer at the Battle of Little Bighorn.

An NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll released over the weekend shows Trump with a commanding 49% to 34% lead over Ted Cruz. If Trump wins by a margin close to what the NBC poll suggests, there is a good chance he will likely take home all 57 of Indiana’s delegates.

Democrats

The race for the Democratic nomination is still over. The nominee will be Hillary Clinton. Period. End of sentence.

Who votes: Open primary.

Poll closings: Most polls will close at 6:00 p.m. EST. A few counties in the state will close at 6:00 p.m. CST (7:00 p.m. EST)

Delegate Allocation & Thresholds: 92 total delegates available: 83 pledged delegates; Nine unpledged superdelegates. 56 awarded by district; 27 awarded statewide; 15% threshold to receive delegates at either the state or district level.

Each congressional district is assigned a specific number of delegates. These districts award said delegates on a proportional basis to the candidates who receive at least 15% of the vote districtwide.

The three big districtwide delegate prizes are Districts 1 (eight delegates), 5 (seven delegates), and 7 (eight delegates).

District 1 is located in the northwest part of the state and includes the city of Gary. It is a largely urban district given that it is right across the Illinois border near Chicago. This is a district Obama won in 2008, despite losing the state to Clinton, because of its sizable African American population. African Americans make up nearly 20% of the population in this district so Clinton should do well here.

The same goes for District 7. This district is largely made up of the urban areas of Indianapolis. Like District 1, it also has one of the higher African American populations in the state (nearly 30%) and is an area Clinton should win by a wide margin.

District 5 encompasses a large part of the northern and eastern suburbs of Indianapolis. This district is largely white (94% of the population) and has the highest median income of the state’s nine districts.

For the statewide vote, the 27 available delegates are allocated proportionally to the candidates receiving at least 15%.

Polling: Every recent poll that has come out over the last week shows Clinton with a lead in the mid-to-high single digits.

Indiana is a state with an open primary and a population that is around 84% white. It is a state Sanders should do well in given the trends we have seen so far in this primary.

And yet, if the polls are any indication, Clinton is likely to win the state by a small but comfortable margin. I can only imagine what excuse Sanders will come up with if this is indeed what happens tonight.

One thought on “Indiana: A Preview. The Latest Last Chance to Stop Donald Trump

  1. Pingback: Indiana Primary Update: Clinton and Trump Lead – Maryland Scramble

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