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Republican presidential candidates fight for party nomination

Cade Palmer, Copy Editor

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Donald Trump was not a serious candidate, until he was.

The Republican nominee was supposed to be decided by Iowa, except it wasn’t.

South Carolina was another make a break point for the candidates, then it wasn’t.

The end of the competition was supposed to come with a win for Donald Trump in Ohio, until he lost.

If there is one thing that political commentators and experts are absolutely sure of this election cycle, it is that they can be absolutely sure of absolutely nothing. Yet as the final states of the primary season meet their voting deadline, the prospect of a contested convention for the Republican Party grows.

Trump is the clear frontrunner. He currently holds 743 delegates, with his closest competitor, Cruz, holding only 545. Meanwhile, John Kasich is, for some unknown reason, still in the race with a delegate count of 143. In order to secure the nomination before the Republican National Convention, a candidate much get to at least 1,237 delegates. For Trump, that means winning 57% of the remaining delegates while he has only won 46% thus far. Cruz has a much harder path, one most say is essentially impossible. He must win 81% of the remaining delegate.

John Kasich’s situation is even more precarious. As of now, there are not enough delegates left on the table (854 still remain) for him to pick of the delegation outright. His only hope is that no candidate wins the vote outright and contest goes to a contested convention. In which case he may have a chance. Only, there is one minor hiccup: according to the RNC rules set in 2012 (which could change, who knows really) a candidate must have won a majority in at least 8 states to even be considered. Kasich has won one, his home state of Ohio. His chances of getting the nomination no longer rely on how many delegates he can get pre-convention, but whether or not a committee decides to revise the rules.

Now this is all assuming that Trump doesn’t win the nomination outright. However, if a contested convention does occur, there are several variables that could impact the nomination. First, only 90% of the delegates are bound to their selected candidate after the first vote. During the first vote, delegates must vote for the candidate they were elected to support in the statewide elections. After that, however, those 90% can fluctuate from Trump to Cruz or vise versa.

The six-week window between the last Republican contest and the National Convention is of particular interest because of this single round of delegate loyalty. This means that candidates will be spending an exponential amount of resources to convince (i.e. entice, logroll, indirectly contribute to, pay off, bribe, <fill in dirty political verb here>) these delegates to support their campaign.

Interest in the convention has also increased with the prospect of a non-candidate, like Paul Ryan, being nominated for the office. Such could occur if the pesky little rule about having to win eight states to even be considered were not in place. Because actually having the support of the party nominating you for the highest position in the free world is so 1776. Not to mention, Paul Ryan doesn’t want the office. Though, that doesn’t mean that Romney isn’t waiting for the perfect time to swoop in a win another Republican nomination.

In the entire history of the Republican party, only one time has the nomination process gone all the way to the convention. This occurred in 1976 in the race between Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. In that cycle, Nixon secured the nomination in the first round of voting.

Many think this convention, should it occur, would be the end of Donald Trump, though this is not the first, or even the second or third, time that end of Trump has been foreseen. Realistically, the business tycoon is the only one with any sort of shot of securing the nomination outright. Should that not happen, who knows what Kasich will do but the convention will consist of a Trump/Cruz race.

This very same convention may likely spell doom for the Republican Party should Trump feel unfairly treated and decided to run third party or even just encourage his supporters to stay at home. Convention or no convention, we can be absolutely sure that the final days of this primary season will provide some good entertainment.

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