Front-running GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump doesn't yet have a "lock" on the nomination, but time is running out for another candidate to defeat him, according to political strategist Karl Rove.
In a commentary for The Wall Street Journal
, the former senior adviser and deputy chief of staff during the George W. Bush administration argues the GOP nomination — "as long as three or more candidates are splitting delegates" in proportional contests — may stay "uncertain" until March 15.
But he could also seal the deal then "if a fragmented opposition gives him an absolute majority of delegates on that day," Rove writes.
The delegate numbers will be crucial, Rove writes.
"Even a weak Trump plurality on March 15 would give him Florida's 99 delegates and Ohio's 66 delegates," he writes. "Additionally, if a majority of Republicans oppose Mr. Trump that day, but are divided among several candidates, he could also take the lion's share of Illinois's 69 and Missouri's 52 delegates."
There's "still time for the non-Trump GOP majority to coalesce around a single candidate," Rove writes. "But not much."
"Things can remain somewhat divided on March 1 as long as the majority is largely unified on March 8 and fully behind a single candidate on the Ides of March. If not, the hopes of the party's non-Trump majority will suffer the same fate as Caesar."
Rove calls Trump's latest win in November "very impressive," noting "after four contests, only 133 of the convention's 2,472 delegates have been selected," and the caucus victory in Nevada "does not necessarily a consolidation make."
"Mr. Trump is supported by better than three of every 10 Republicans, but some 65 percent aren't in his camp," he writes.
"The 963 delegates — 39 percent of the convention's total — to be selected in 24 contests between March 1 and March 12 will all be awarded proportionally. This means he could win the headlines but capture a minority of the delegates — unless he unites the GOP."
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