The Republican Party has 11 days to stop Donald Trump from becoming their nominee, and they are feeling the pressure.
The final delegate tally from Super Tuesday, in which 11 states participated in the primary process on March 1, showed Trump gaining a total of 237 delegates, closely followed by Senator Ted Cruz with 209, Senator Marco Rubio gaining 94, Governor John Kasich with 19, and Dr. Ben Carson gaining only three.
With a total of 319 delegates now, Trump is still a ways away from the 1,237 delegates he needs to win the Republican nomination. Momentum, however, is surely on his side, and his success on Super Tuesday showed a surprising reason why:
"I'm a unifier — I know people are going to find that a little bit hard to believe, but believe me," Trump has said.
Super Tuesday provided Trump with data to back up that claim, where he has proven that he is leading a diverse coalition of voters, both traditional and not. By winning Massachusetts and New Hampshire before it, he has shown that he can win traditional “Reagan Democrats” – white, working class moderates. Trump has shown that he can win evangelicals in the Bible Belt in states like Alabama, South Carolina and Tennessee. The record-breaking turnout in Virginia on March 1 also proves that Trump does another crucial thing: he expands the party’s voter base.
This makes GOP party leaders understandably nervous, who can feel their control over the course of the nominating process slowly slipping away as Trump gains more and more support. This showed in last night’s debate in Detroit.
Meeting for the 11th time, the remaining four Republican contenders met and squared off in what largely felt like a three against one contest. Cruz, Kasich and Rubio each declined to go after one another, instead opting to attack Trump as a unified front interested only in the GOP frontrunner’s demise.
This has important consequences. By working in concert, Cruz, Kasich and Rubio each fail to emerge as the viable Trump alternative the party establishment so desperately wants. It appears that instead of coalescing around one candidate with hopes of stopping The Donald, new and established voices in the Republican Party look to be trying to force a brokered convention by voting for anyone but Trump.
All of this does not bode well for a calm convention in Cleveland this July, nor a Trump-less one. The March 15 primaries in Florida and Ohio may be the final proving group for the current Republican strategy. The pressure is on.