The US Presidential election saga keeps getting more dramatic. Up to now I have not been expecting the Republican nomination fight to go to a contested or deadlocked (aka ‘brokered’) convention but the last week of Trump’s multiple stumbles are opening this to be now my most likely scenario. So quick explanation of the rules. The Republican nomination requires 1,237 delegates to clinch the nomination. Trump is leading with 752 delegates (49% of those awarded so far) and there are 923 left to be awarded (including unpledged delegates). If Trump can win 53% of the remaining delegates then he just clinches and there will be no contested convention. I originally projected in January before any states had voted, that Trump would clinch on the last day of voting, June 7. The last time I did this analysis, that was still my estimate. Now, I think Trump has just slipped below and its heading most likely to that contested convention. That then means far more uncertaintly and opens many scenarios not just where any of Trump or Cruz or Kasich could end up being the nominee for President by the Republican party, it could even be some ‘outsider’ who isn’t currently in the race. It could be someone who had dropped out (Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, Scott Walker, Jeb Bush etc) or could be someone who never ran in this year’s race (Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, Paul Ryan etc). So as this now becomes a significantly possible outcome of the primary voting race and delegate hunt, lets map out the main scenarios and what kind of likely outcome it would mean for the party going forward into the main race against Hillary Clinton for the Autumn general election.
IF TRUMP WINS
Trump does have the most delegates and his lead is significant 289 delegates over second-place Cruz. Trump also leads by a clear margin in national polling at about 42% to Cruz around 30% and Kasich around 19%. Its most likely that Trump will get the most delegates in the remaining months and finishes with the most. That doesn’t mean he wins the nomination but that he’d be in the strongest position, initially. So lets first do the ideal scenario for Trump. If he does clinch on June 7, and finishes with 1,237 delegates or more, he is the nominee. No possible combination of Cruz and Kasich (and even Rubio and Jeb Bush) could get more delegates and Trump will be nominated. The reason this is the best for Trump is that for the six weeks between the last vote and the convention, Trump could patiently build his message, his team, select anyone he wanted as his VP and Trump would get to dictate just about everything about the convention. It would be totally his party. He would prepare the anti-Hillary part of the message and he’d decide pretty much what would be the overall messaging for the party going to the Autumn race. Trump would not need to ‘compromise’ and ‘sacrifice’ by selecting one of his rivals as VP and there ‘should’ be some magnificent Trumpian plan for who his awesome VP choice is. Its gotta be someone better than Chris Christie haha.
If Trump clearly ‘wins’ and clinches 1,237 delegates or more, then while Cruz (and Kasich) supporters will be very disappointed, they’d only be like any other runners-up in this race and they’ll get around to accepting Trump and join in supporting him (regardless of what they now are saying). Trump would have a good six weeks to heal most of the wounds. He’d give nice speaking slots to both Cruz and Kasich and make some promises if necessary about some cabinet positions and there would be a reasonable degree of party unity at the convention. While many in the party leadership are and would be freaking out about Trump as their standard-bearer for the November election, there would be no sneaky ploys to steal the nomination out of credentials challenges, rules changes etc. If Trump fairly wins 1,237 delegates, he’s in. And then he’ll lose by 20 points to Hillary and the Senate and House will both flip.
For Trump every other ‘Trump wins’ scenario gets worse. In fact, every other scenario in this blog gets worse for him. So the second scenario is that Trump finishes with some delegates short of 1,237 but more than 1,100. This is probably the most likely scenario currently. He gets the most delegates but not enough to win over half. Now Trump would have to hustle for some partner to be his VP. The one who would seem ‘easiest’ to win over is Marco Rubio. He will have spent the most time out of the limelight and the hunger has been growing of what he walked away from. He’s not close enough to the last races and the bitterness of not winning. His career in the Senate will end. If Rubio became Trump’s VP (and Trump will obviously lose) then Rubio is reincarnated suddenly as the front-runner to run again in 2020. Rubio holds theoretically 173 delegates, some who may or may not be allowed to vote for a combined Trump-Rubio ticket but if they agree to this partnership and obviously then the Cruz-Kasich camp cannot match the delegates, the party will let this ticket be nominated. However, that does require that Trump convinces Rubio to join his ticket and Trump has been behaving remarkably stupidly since Rubio dropped out, often returning to be critical of the opponent who had already quit the race. Rubio may not be an easy deal to make but Trump is a master deal-maker, he could and indeed he should be able to close that deal.
But Rubio is damaged goods and a bad choice for VP as he probably can’t even win his home state of Florida. If Trump were allowed top pick from Cruz, Kasich and Rubio, he would pick Kasich. Because Kasich as VP would almost guarantee the ticket to win Ohio, a vital battleground state that would be very valuable in trying to win against Hillary. So if Trump finishes in June with less than 1,237 delegates but above 1,100, then he’d definitely try to do the deal for VP with Kasich. And Kasich in most cases will finish behind Cruz, so Kasich knows, he can’t get a better deal out of Cruz either. Now, if Trump just approaches Kasich - and Kasich knows without his acceptance Trump will have to go to the Convention and take the votes, where Kasich can start to gain delegates after the first vote - he’d say no. BUT if Trump plays it smart - and this is basics of negotiation - Trump would FIRST get a preliminary deal with Rubio. And only after Marco says yes, would Trump go to Kasich and say - the deal is done, I will be the nominee for President, Rubio has said yes to VP, so you, Kasich are out, or else, you are my VP. Do you prefer to be my VP or be out of the race. And let Kasich mull it over for a few days (not telling Rubio about this double-cross). Kasich is an old guy, he came in third in the race for delegates. For him to get VP is actually the best he could do anyway. And considering how divisive Trump is as a person, he might be impeached while in office (or assassinated) and that could gift the Presidency to Kasich.. Why not take the deal. So I think if Trump finishes with 1,100 delegates or more but under 1,237, then he’ll probably be able to do a deal and his choice of these three rivals is Kasich, not Rubio (and definitely not Cruz).
It would be in Trump’s best interest to land this deal as soon as possible but it could well take weeks and the deal might not even come until the eve of the Convention. The sooner it comes, the more the rivals can become accustomed to the race being over. If the combined delegate count of Trump and his VP is significantly over 1,237 so well more than 1,250 and ideally over 1,300 then the losing parties would mostly accept it but there would be plenty of hurt feelings. Still the outcome would be relatively similar to the above, but only less time for Trump to set his convention to his liking. Yet it is about the delegates, everybody knows that, and they’d accept it. But if this gets Trump to just barely over the limit, say at around 1,240 delegates, in that case the injured parties (Cruz and whoever is left) could try to block Trump and force a proper vote on the convention floor - where they’d then try to deny enough of the votes on the first ballot to prevent Trump + VP from getting the nomination. Whichever way that went, it would then be ugly and leave a ton of bitter angry Republicans on the losing side.
If the convention is contested and Trump can’t win it on the first ballot, then I think Trump won’t become the nominee. The reason for this is, that most of the delegates that the various states send to Cleveland will not be picked by the CANDIDATES they are picked by the state party organization. And those are usually longer-term loyal Republican activists and supporters and fund-raisers and so forth. They are ‘the establishment’ rather than the rebellion that comes to Trump’s rallies. They are exactly the kind of people who would fear Trump on top of the ticket, causing their home party to lose in November to the Democrats. There definitely will also be Trump supporters but if Trump’s national support is about 40% then of those delegates sent to Cleveland, he would be lucky to have half ie something like 20%. And then, from the second vote and into the fourth vote, an increasing proportion of those delegates becomes unbound and they can vote - personally, not by how their state voted or how their party bosses want - those delegates can vote INDIVIDUALLY to anyone they want. And then Trump’s support will decline from what his first-vote delegate count was. That is why I think, if Trump cannot win on the first ballot, he won’t be the nominee.
This is not absolute objection. Trump might have held out on some negotiations - being the hard-ass negotiator and if one of his rivals was close to a deal but asked for something Trump wasn’t willing to give. If in the second ballot Trump sees he is suddely bleeding delegates, he could rush to that partner and ‘cave’ and make the deal and then win on the third ballot through a partnership deal. But this is unlikely because his rivals would be gaining delegates at each vote as Trump was then bleeding, so they would no longer be interested in dealing. But again, Trump is a master deal-maker, he could maybe salvage a compromise partnership deal with one of his rivals for VP, and still escape as the nominee on the third (or theoretically even fourth) ballot. At this point, however, the rival camp especially Cruz’s supporters will have seen a rising tide and the game shifting into their favor - then suddenly be stolen from them. They’d be angry (and obviously in this case its Kasich not Rubio, if Kasich were to consider a deal with Trump, he’d also go negotiate with Cruz to see if he’d get a better deal there). Because the race was decided on the first day of the Convention, after more than one vote, it would leave the losers (Cruz supporters) with a very bitter taste and a lot of resentment and plenty of feeling of betrayal. But Cruz would not be in any position to run a third-party candidacy and the establishment wing would get ‘their guy’ onto the Trump ticket (Kasich or Rubio) and this probably would keep them satisfied enough, not to try to run some sacrificial third party candidate against Trump. Meanwhile the event itself would be a chaotic circus and a ton of angry familiar names in Republican politics who would be eager to talk to any media about how this was a rotten convention. There would be less unity meaning Trump would fare even worse in the general election against Hillary.
IF CRUZ WINS
Cruz cannot win the nomination though clinching the nomination with 1,237 delegates. Yes mathematically there is that chance but Cruz would have to win 84% of outstanding delegates and considering how rock-solid is Trump’s base of supporters, there is simply no way that Trump wins less than 25%. And there is Kasich also who will win something. So Cruz cannot clinch. But he could finish with more delegates than Trump. That is still a tall order, Cruz would have to win twice as many delegates from here until the end than Trump. Even if Trump is stumbling badly now, its hard to imagine that Trump would average 30% or less of the remaining delegates (not votes, delegates, remembering there are minimum thresholds etc and many winner-take-all states, so the leading candidates will end up with more than their share of votes). For Cruz this would be his ideal scenario, while its a very tall order, it could happen. Especially if now Trump truly stumbles. So if Cruz finishes say with 1,030 delegates and Trump with 1,010 - where Cruz just technically finishes slightly ahead of Trump, that would give him a level of legitimacy going into the Convention that Cruz did finish first. Then he’d still have to do the deal with either Kasich or Rubio for VP to have the delegates to win the nomination as a pair on the first ballot. The party would prefer Cruz over Trump for the general election so if this partnership is achieved, then the party would make the necessary changes to voting rules so that the pairing can be blessed and the nomination convention would be Cruz’s to plan and choreograph.
Now, Trump and his supporters would be mad and yell and scream that they were robbed and Trump would of course threaten to sue. But for Cruz, this is the least angry Trump version. At least Trump would have several weeks of time to calm down. They’d try to get Trump to join the convention, offer him a big speaking slot etc. Its possible that Trump would make some stunt and resign from the party and declare an independent run (in many states the filing deadlines would have passed) and ask his supporters to vote for him as a write-in candidate etc, but if the Cruz+partner ticket was clearly over 1,237 delegates and its weeks before the convention, then it probably would be mostly just noise and no real action by Trump. Trump would know he could not possibly win the election as a third party candidate. But Trump supporters would be angry and many would stay home and some would vote for Hillary. But Cruz’s negatives - while they are bad - are not as bad as Trump’s. So if Trump did not actually run against as an independent, then Cruz might lose by less than Trump. If, however, Trump simply out of spite ran a pure spoiler campaign of a bare-minimum budget run, mostly relying on free media and of course participating in the debates - then he’d steal so many votes from Cruz that Trump might finish second and Cruz third against Hillary. Oh, and of course Trump could decide not to run and just endorse Hillary...
Thats Cruz’s best case scenario. Then its possible Cruz can’t get to a deal for the first vote, but that he wins the nomination on the second, third or fourth vote. As I said, delegates become unbound based on their own state-party rules, either on the second, third or fourth vote. And Cruz’s campaign is by all counts the strongest in working those delegates so after the first vote, while Trump will lose delegates, Cruz will gain. So if Cruz for example finishes the race with 800 delegates to Trump’s 1,100, and the vote goes four votes, it could be that Cruz gets to 1,300 by the fourth vote and Trump to be down to 600 (while Kasich would do better than Trump but worse than Cruz in picking up those unbound delegates).
So in this case, the subsequent votes would see an erosion of delegates with Trump, and going disproportionately to Cruz. And then on one of the early votes, Cruz gets to enough delegates that he becomes the nominee (this could also be at some stage via a partnership with Kasich as VP). Now Trump and his supporters had seen that they went into the convention with the most delegates but then that ‘their’ delegates had suddenly ‘betrayed’ Trump. It would be nasty and could very well be physically violent on the floor. This is where Trump likely would be livid and his supporters be enraged. Note this is on live TV and on day 1 of the convention. Now with his nomination ‘stolen’ the Trump supporters could easily play any kind of total belligerent stunts on the floor and there could be riots. From this there will be no reconciliation with Trump or his supporters. Then Trump would certainly do whatever he felt was the appropriate revenge from running as a third party to endorsing Hillary to becoming a full-time TV critic nightly of Cruz.
IF KASICH WINS
Kasich cannot get to most delegates by June 7. He will be in third place or if he is incredibly lucky (if Cruz collapses) then Kasich could finish second. Note its even possible Kasich finishes fourth (Rubio currently has more delegates than Kasich). Because Kasich can’t finish first or second in delegates under any reasonable outcome, he is either going to be VP at best, or else, he needs a truly deadlocked convention. What Kasich is hoping for, is that Trump can’t clinch and neither Trump nor Cruz can get to 1,237 in the early votes, and then that as the three keep trying to convert delegates, Kasich could persuade enough delegates that actually Kasich is the most ELECTABLE candidate even as he finished third in the primary race. Up to now (April 2) there has been very little consideration of the general election. But the first Trump vs Hillary final election projection has been made by a major forecaster (Sabato, who has a very good record of projecting past elections) who said Trump would lose all states Romney did, plus he’d lose one more (North Carolina). There will be plenty more trusted forecasters who will be doing their election projections and they will all be something in that level of truly catastrophic for Trump. And as those prospects loom, the Republican delegates to the convention will start to worry about the November election. Electability will be a significant theme if the convention is contested. That is where Kasich’s argument starts to bear fruit.
But Cruz will have a huge lead first off, with more delegates, and then out of the stacking of the various state delegations to support Cruz in later votes. Meanwhile out of those delegates who will be with Trump from the second ballot - those will mostly be then true Trumpians, who would vote for Trump even if he did shoot somebody. It is a VERY tall order for Kasich to surge from third place at a long distance to take a majority of all delegates ie its not enough for him to surge to a plurality, he does need to get to that 1,237. If Kasich gets to it, its either very late on Day 1 of voting - or worse, they suspend the voting for the night, and return to vote on Day 2. Note, Kasich in some ways controls his destiny because Trump will never be Cruz’s VP and Cruz won’t accept Trump’s VP slot especially as Cruz will be able to climb to more delegates in the later votes than Trump (at least for a while). So as both Trump and Cruz come to Kasich after every vote to offer him the VP slot, if Kasich keeps saying no, he could keep the voting going forever and just try to convert every interval a couple more delegates until he eventually becomes the winner. Its an unlikely but still plausible scenario.
Note, that the party would far prefer Kasich to Cruz (and obviously to Trump) on the top of the ticket. So as long as they make progress towards this unlikely but possible outcome, the party people at the conventions will give Kasich whatever support they can muster. So its possible. But then.. if Kasich is the nominee and he cannot become this until after many votes and possibly not until Day 2 - that means both an incredibly angry Trump AND an angry Cruz and essentially half of the party in total revolt against ‘sneaky’ Kasich who finished a distant third and now stole their nomination(s). This could actually result in a genuine literal split in the party where the Tea Party walks out of the convention and runs Cruz (and Trump might run as a fourth-party candidate). If either were to run against Kasich, Kasich would lose massively to Hillary. But its also possible that the repeated votes are a slow draining process that wears each side down and Kasich just emerges as the kind of last-man-standing and both rival sides reluctantly agree that he won in the end of this marathon. I can’t see it in the nature of Trump or Cruz to just agree, yeah, Kasich won - but they might. I could even see, that perhaps Cruz, if he saw his lead gradually be eroded to Kasich, that Cruz then surrenders and accepts Kasich’s offer of VP. That would have to be a kind of slow and clearly inevitable trend, each vote Kasich picks up about 50 more delegates and then passes Cruz and slowly marches towards the 1,337 and Cruz is unable to stop the bleeding.. then he might agree to a VP position although I think not.
IF SOMEONE ELSE WINS
So if nobody gets 1,237 delegates there is only one remedy: another vote. It could go on for dozens and dozens of votes, over literally more than a day. One Democratic convention had over 100 votes until they decided on their nominee. There is no other way to pick the nominee, except - yet another vote. Now, consider the three. Each has a VERY distinct constituency that could foreseeably be stubborn till hell freezes over. Trump has the nutters, the racists and much of the Tea Party. Plus he has the blue-collar white Republicans in low-paying jobs. His base of supporters are the most decided and loyal of any voter group on either side of the aisle. While at the convention of the delegates, he won’t have 40% he might have 30% and he’ll definitely have over 20%.
Then there is Cruz. He has the religious wing and the rest of the Tea Party. While his national support has only reached about 30% at the convention he will have at least that and probably closer to 40% of the delegates but very unlikely to get to 50% because he is such a disliked and extreme politician, and because Trump has part of the Tea Party. Lets say its about 40%.
So then we have the ‘establishment’ and ‘moderate’ and sensible foreign policy Republicans who all are horrified by either Trump or Cruz. As Lindsay Graham said, to pick between the two is to pick whether to be shot or poisoned, both will kill you (yet Graham now has endorsed Cruz). The moderate wing would be with Kasich. But because the disgruntled blue-collar low-income voters are with Trump, Kasich can’t really get to over 50% either. If it was any two, then a majority is easy. But these three could be close to 1/3 vs 1/3 vs 1/3. Or in reality more like 25% for Trump, 35% for Cruz and 40% for Kasich and that could remain deadlocked forever. And because Trump will never be anybody’s VP and Cruz initially finished ahead of Kasich, neither Trump nor Cruz could then accept to be the VP to Kasich. It could produce a genuinely deadlocked convention that could go 20 or 30 votes on Day 1 and by Day 2, after another dozen votes, the party could open the convention for new candidates to be nominated in some way, as compromise candidates. Someone that at least two of those three factions could agree to support. Thats where Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin (gasp) and any of the earlier rivals like Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina etc could be put forth and suggested to the groups. Here if one had already endorsed one candidate, it could be a deal-breaker but not necessarily if that candidate had managed to remain very fair to the other(s). Its also possible that one of the three, Trump, Cruz & Kasich - might agree to someone they perceive as weak into the general election - just so that the compromise candidate is NOT then going to win and become the President (and embarrass thus the candidate who had actually won hundreds of delegates).
Here BY FAR the most likely candidate is Paul Ryan. He was the VP before. He is establishment and moderate but conservative enough that many Tea Partiers also respect him. He is also going to be chairing the convention. He likes to play that reluctant warrior, who says no no no no until he says yes. That was how he played VP to Romney in 2012 and how he played the House Speaker position after John Boehner quit. I think if such a compromise is found, that would be less divisive than most of the above options, as it won’t be seen as one of the finalist ‘stealing’ the race but it going to a genuine ‘compromise’ where nobody gets to win. Note, this means the voting lasted more than one day. This means the whole convention is a mess and the new nominee for President would not even have a VP yet (and that could not be any of the three finalists). That candidate would not have any field operations done to prepare for the general election and no real positions on anything nor any team or organization. The rest of the convention would be run by the seat-of-the-pants with no real major themes other than being against Hillary obviously. This choice has the best chance of no real rift in the party - under the best scenario - and of course still a valid possibility of one severely angry player who might still throw a big fit. Note that the race is for the delegates and this kind of compromise candidate could result suddenly in some delegates ‘deserting’ their candidate - where then the candidate would feel betrayed - and become bitter.
The best part of this scenario is that theoretically the nominee (and eventual VP choice too) could be moderates with better chances in the general election. But now, the big fund-raising organizations that Trump, Cruz and Kasich had built, and the data-mining operations and the field operations - those would all need to be built from scratch or somehow acquired from the three runners-up. And then a rush-job to set up a campaign would need to be done, to go against the most prepared and best-funded non-inclumbent ever to run, in Hillary. That candidate would most definitely lose but might not lose that badly to give the House to the Democrats. The Senate would still be lost. This, of course assuming that none of the three, Trump, Cruz or Kasich decide to play sore loser and mess up the Republican team.
So we have mapped out the rough scenarios. Now lets summarize the best interests. For Trump he HAS to get to 1,237 or at least 1,100 delegates. Then no matter what is the demand by Rubio or Kasich, Trump has to get a clear agreement with one of his last 3 rivals to agree to be VP, so he can bring to the Republican party a done deal, where the ticket can then clinch the nomination even if Trump alone might not. With this, the last week has been a total catastrophy for Trump. He is horribly undisciplined and prone to repeated self-induced wounds. Like Morning Joe Scarborough just said, Trump has to change his style and now become disciplined and stick to a clear script and stop the constant telephoned-in media exposure and nightly Twittering. He has to be the tiger that changed its stripes if he intends to win the nomination. This is a tall ask. But Trump has been incredibly lucky and his rivals are not exactly the Einsteins of politics, so Trump could well do it (oh, and see DC Madam Sex Scandal below). But Trump cannot let the race go past the first vote at the Convention.
For Cruz, he needs to maximize his delegate haul (such as winning now in Wisconsin) and then stack the deck in the delegates past the first vote. He has to have spies near each of the Kasich, Rubio and Trump camps, to make sure he is not outmaneouvered by a surprise Trump deal. It doesn’t help that Cruz has been eagerly burning every bridge he ever walked over. He is very smart in some ways but he seems to be genuinely tone-deaf when it comes to the word ‘collaborate’ with his own party. It would be the smartest thing he could do, if he now worked feverishly to try to fix some of the damaged relations with the party establishment but that does not seem to be in the nature of Ted Cruz. Still, he cannot win it outright, his best bet is to win on the second, third, fourth votes if he can get enough of his people embedded in the various state delegate groupings. And Cruz will need to try to land deals with either Rubio or Kasich when any such numbers might work for his nomination (obviously Rubio soon becoming irrelevant after the second vote).
For Kasich, he probably gets to be the king-maker and gets to pick with which he’ll be the VP but Kasich should delay that choice and try to first see if he might wear out the rivals with votes into ten or more, hopefully gradually picking up enough random delegates on the electability argument to actually take the nomination. A long-shot but possible. If it gets to those votes, its in Kasich’s interest NOT to take any deals offered until its 100% certain after several vote, that no more delegates can be pried from Trump or Cruz. So Kasich’s best interest, if the first vote does not decide it for Trump and the next five votes do not decide it for Cruz, is to just let the day end with votes and go into day 2. But if before the Convention Trump comes in and says Rubio has agreed, will Kasich instead become Trump’s VP - that deal Kasich has to take or he ends up with nothing.
For Rubio, he may hope he gets to be king-maker but that is not in the cards. The only chance for Rubio is a slim one - Trump has to get more than 1,100 delegates but under 1,237. In that case - and only that case - can Rubio become Trump’s (and only Trump’s) VP. But that then requires that Kasich turns down Trump’s alternate offer. Its a slim chance for Rubio but his only way to get anything is VP with Trump in this particular way. On Cruz’s side there is nothing on offer. Cruz won’t get to 1,100 delegates, so Rubio alone cannot bring Cruz over the top, and that means Cruz will always need Kasich who will have more delegates and thus would become the VP. And Rubio will see clearly that Cruz will lose (badly) and thus no promises of Secretary of State etc could be of any value to Rubio because Cruz can’t beat Hillary anyway so that promise is worthless. The only real chance for Rubio is to be Trump’s VP, at best.
Now for the OTHERS... there will be MANY who are hoping against hope to steal the nomination out of a deadlocked convention, starting with Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. They will have plenty of incentive to try to wreck any deals and thus expose any schemes and alliances and gossip with the press etc. But because they would need to get also the support of the delegates, they’d be leaking off the record, or via conduits and conspirators.
DC MADAM SEX SCANDAL
Then there is one total handgrenade that can blow up the whole calculation. Last week the former attorney for the notorious DC Madam who was convicted in 2007 for running an escort service of high-priced hookers for DC clients (who then committed suicide in 2008) has declared that he wants to reveal the 815 names that are currently under court-ordered gag-order. So 815 people, likely many famous politicians and other prominent people in DC including maybe military, media, police, judges etc - are among those 815. But that sleazy ex-lawyer has said that at least one of the 5 remaining candidates in this year’s race is among the 815 names. Could even be 2 of the 5.
So the DC Madam had run her operation from 1998 to 2007. During that total time Bernie Sanders was in DC as first a Congressman then Senator. Hillary Clinton was also in DC first as the First Lady then as the Senator from New York. Ted Cruz was in DC from 2001 to 2003 on the legal team of W Bush’s administration (then went back home to Texas but frequently visited DC to argue several cases in front of the Supreme Court). John Kasich was in DC only the first years and went to Ohio to work for Lehman Brother as an investment banker. And Trump was not living in DC but did visit it some times. From their physical presence its not very likely Trump or Kasich are on that list but Bernie, Hillary and/or Cruz could be. Now... the DC Madam did reveal a bunch of names back in 2007 that resulted in several careers ruined. If Hillary had been on that list (whether gay - female escort - or male escort - or even, could be that Hillary was booking girls for Bill haha if we get very lurid) you’d think the DC Madam would have included her name then, back in 2007. Its more likely that whoever is on that list, was more of a low-tier politician at the time. Bernie maybe, but Senator is still a big catch even if first-term Senator. The least visible very low-level official at that time was Ted Cruz.
Then looking at gossip about sex scandals, as far as I can see, Kasich, Bernie and Hillary have had no gossip about personal sex scandals (but obviously Bill Clinton had several). Trump had his infidelities yes but seems like he’d probably not come to DC to get a hooker, he’d probably use a New York escort service, closer to home, if he wanted to use one. But .. Ted Cruz has plenty of gossip that he has had sex scandals in his past. There is also now a warning by Anonymous that they supposedly have hacked into the list and have some phone records relating to Texas. So if one of the 5 finalists DID use a hooker by the DC Madam, I’d guess that was Ted Cruz. Note, I have ZERO knowledge of this, and its pure speculation based on what the attorney now says and which is the ‘best fit’ pattern out of their other press coverage and the timing when they were in DC.
But whoever it is, if there is really one of these five (its possible the attorney is hyping this story and in reality its a low-tier campaign staffer, not the actual candidate, in which case that staffer would resign and the candidate could easily move on past the modest scandal) who has used a call girl (or boy) then I think that political career ends almost instantly and obviously the race for President for that candidate goes the way of Gary Hart and John Edwards and Herman Cain. Now, on Trump, he is so much made of teflon if it was Trump, he actually might survive a sex scandal. I don’t think he would, but he is so durable in the face of outrageous career-ending gaffes that he might. But the other four, they would definitely be toast if their name(s) can be found on the 815 names of the DC Madam.
The attorney who has this list has just written to the Supreme Court this past week saying it is urgent to release him from the gag order, because a name (or names) among the 5 remaining Presidential candidates is on that list. He said he gives the Supreme Court 2 weeks to release him. He said even if the Supreme Court doesn’t say, he will release the names in two weeks. And the names are already on four servers internationally and hidden, on a rolling 72 hour timer, so if something happens to the guy, then the names get released automatically. This is similar to how Wikileaks has been operating and there is some speculation that the names are actually held with Wikileaks. But it seems very likely that this is genuine and it will be revealed within about 10 days and could literally happen within the next hour even. Then one of the five is instantly eliminated and the total race is drastically altered. So lets go over the five by what I think is the likelihood.
Ted Cruz. He is the most likely candidate to be on that DC Madam list. He’s also the most religious and ‘pure’ candidate who has preached his family values agenda repeatedly. If Cruz is the one, he is instantly toast. Yes, we’d probably see the spectacle of Cruz standing with his stoic wife just behind him begging forgiveness. And to no avail, his career would be kaput. But how would that impact the race? Kasich would suddenly become the only non-Trump. How many of Cruz’s voters would go to Trump instead of Kasich? I can’t see many doing that, so most of them would go to Kasich. We’d get something like 55-45 voter support in the remaining races - except that some states have already had early voting and thus Kasich would not get to that 55% level, maybe only 50%. But because of winner-take-all states and so many of the remaining states being kinder to moderate candidates and as Trump has been faltering, Kasich could win as many as 70% of the remaining delegates. Then Trump would be denied the 1,237 level and Kasich could finish ahead of Cruz and have as much as 800 delegates. From that, after the first vote, Kasich should be able to convert most of the Cruz and Rubio delegates and snatch the nomination from Trump.
But Trump would not be out. If Trump played it very carefully, hit Kasich repeatedly and hard everywhere, Trump could get to 1,100 delegates or even to 1,237 as Cruz was out of it. If Trump got 40% of the remaining delegates he’s past 1,100 and if Trump got to 53% he’d clinch. This would genuinely become a two-man race where if Trump had the discipline of a strong and focused campaign with not many gaffes, he could take it. And equally, Kasich would have to hit Trump very hard at every level and stop with the nice guy routine if Kasich intended to win.
Oh, and a wrinkle here. If Cruz dropped out leaving only Kasich as the non-Trump, I think Rubio could jump back into the race and resume his candidacy, arguing he has more delegates than Kasich and had won more states or regions. That in turn would just about guarantee that Trump still won the contest because now Rubio would only be a spoiler to Kasich probably winning more delegates but never enough to really matter.
Bernie Sanders. I think Bernie is the second most likely client of the DC Madam and this is FAR below where I think Cruz is. But yes, its possible. If it is Bernie, then his run is instantly over. The party would totally desert him and demand he ends his run instantly because of all the bad press he’d be now bringing to the ticket. As Bernie is not a member of the Democratic party and they’ve kind of tolerated his run, now he’d be instantly cut off at the knees. Some younger voters would try to understand him and forgive but it would be over. Hillary would benefit as she’d get a far earlier chance to pivot to the general election and not worry about giving Bernie a major role speaking at the Convention.
Hillary Clinton. So yeah, it could be that Hillary is gay (wouldn’t that be something) or that the DC Madam also provided male escorts. And its even possible if we really think like a soap opera, that Hillary and Bill have a totally wrecked marriage in a sexual sense but that Hillary would occasionally buy hookers for Bill instead of sleeping with her husband.. who knows. But its yes plausible that she is the name and yes, it would end her career. I could see some of her supporters stand with her briefly, especially women, if this was timed with Bill’s behavior but I can’t see her able to remain the candidate. That would suddenly make Bernie the candidate and then - all those great polls he gets now, beating the Republican rivals, would soon been demolished. The Republicans would sense their gift and attack Bernie the marxist leninist communist red socialist for everything he ever said. Then the race for 2016, essentially whoever it is from the Republican side, would suddenly be a race of unknown outcome. Looking at how incredibly kindly Bernie has fought, imagine him going against Trump? I think Trump would destroy Bernie in the way Jeb Bush was destroyed. But Trump is so toxic, it would still be a race but gosh, I could not handicap that race at this point. Could go either way.
Bill Clinton. Note, it could be that the attorney thinks because its the spouce of a candidate, that would still be relevant to the candiate (and it would). So it could be Bill Clinton. Obviously a man of many sex scandals. While it would be embarrassing and damaging too, to Hillary, I don't think it would end HER career but it would essentially knock Bill out of the race as a surrogate. Hillary would take damage but also probably get some sympathy. She'd maybe file for divorce or something like that, and yeah, it would be damaging but I don't think she'd be forced to quit because her husband is already known to be a sleazebag. But it would damage her while not cause her campaign to be derailed. Very inconvenient yes.
John Kasich. Kasich was only in DC for the very brief early years of the DC Madam but he could still have been a client at that time. If he was now exposed, his career would instantly end and that would be the best outcome for Cruz. If Kasich was out, almost all of the Kasich voters would come to Cruz rather than Trump. Then Cruz could finish ahead of Trump.
Donald Trump. Trump could use call girls why not. He’s sleazy enough to talk about banging his own daughter and he did buy the Miss Universe pageant so he could oogle pretty girls in bikinis at will. He might not be a regular client of the DC Madam but it could be for example that Trump used regularly some New York Madam and then that company would refer Trump to the DC Madam on some of his trips or whatever. Or that Trump might have experienced the DC Madam services as part of some perk related to some campaign contributions and shenanigans with whoever in DC. The reason I have Trump last is the geography, he would be expected to have another escort service nearer to home ie New York but it could be. If Trump was caught using a hooker in DC, then I think he would be the only candidate who MIGHT survive the scandal but see a big drop in his support. I don’t think he’d ever get the nomination but he might not have to quit the race. He’d just stop winning and he might finish with the most delegates but nowhere near 1,100 and he’d be out of it immediately in the second vote when Cruz would be nominated.
But this REALLY is like reality TV. An unscheduled extra elimination round has just been announced. Within the next ten days, one of the five (perhaps even two) will be eliminated, assuming that attorney really was telling the truth that one of the 5 finalists is on the DC Madam’s list. And that would dramatically alter the race that I speculated about in the above.
So get a refill to your popcorn. This is the once-in-a-lifetime election and your grandkids will be asking you what you thought of this weird election with Trump in America early in the century... Pay attention, this kind of entertainment doesn’t come around every ten years haha. And a deadlocked convention? That is a VERY rare treat, it hasn’t happened in the modern TV era.