Coming Soon:

The following books by Robert Paul Wolff are available on Amazon.com as e-books: KANT'S THEORY OF MENTAL ACTIVITY, THE AUTONOMY OF REASON, UNDERSTANDING MARX, UNDERSTANDING RAWLS, THE POVERTY OF LIBERALISM, A LIFE IN THE ACADEMY, MONEYBAGS MUST BE SO LUCKY, AN INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF FORMAL METHODS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.
Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON KANT'S CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON
LECTURE ONE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d__In2PQS60
LECTURE TWO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Al7O2puvdDA

ALSO AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ONE THROUGH TEN ON IDEOLOGICAL CRITIQUE



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Sunday, December 20, 2015

EVEN THOUGH NOBODY ASKED


On the one hand, judging from the paucity of comments, I may be the only person regularly visiting this blog who is really interested in the details of Donald Trump's chances of securing the Republican nomination for President in 2016.  On the other hand, this is my blog, so I figure I get to go on about that subject regardless of the excitement my comments generate in the blogosphere.  So, here I go again.  Those of you who consider this obsession of mine infra dignitate are invited to turn your attention elsewhere momentarily.  You might, for example, wish to re-read some of your favorite passages from the Critique of Pure Reason.  A golden oldie that I particularly like is A 106, "But a concept is always, as regards its form, something universal which serves as a rule."  That little gem, as I demonstrated more than half a century ago, is the key to understanding the entire Critique.  But I digress.

Yesterday was a slow day, as are all the days leading up to Christmas and New Year 's, so I returned to my state-by-state analysis of Trump's prospects, repeatedly consulting the Green Papers, where, as I have noted before, one can find precise details on the rules governing the allocation and selection of delegates to the nominating conventions, state by state.

Let us be clear:  what follows is not a prediction.  Who, in this bizarre year , would be so rash as to make a prediction?  Rather, it is a calculation based on certain assumptions.  Thus, my conclusion is in the form of a hypothetical:  If these assumptions are correct, then this is a likely outcome.  What are my assumptions?

First:  Trump pulls between 35% and 40% of the vote in each primary contest, probably closer to 40% as time goes on and minor candidates disappear [I have completely omitted consideration of caucuses -- they mystify me and I have no idea how to estimate how many delegates Trump can gain from them.]

Second:  Fairly quickly, every other candidate fades or drops out save Cruz and Rubio, each of whom draws somewhere between 20% and 30% of the vote, sometimes more, sometimes less.  Thus, Trump, Cruz, and Rubio together win 80-90% of the vote, the remainder going in dribs and drabs to dead-enders like Carson, Fiorina, and perhaps a terminally stubborn Bush.

Third:  Few if any super-delegates announce for Trump, meaning that he must win all 1243 of the delegates needed for nomination from the 1865 chosen by the primaries and caucuses.

Quite obviously, should any of these assumptions prove false, all my calculations are useless.  If Trump nose-dives, we are back to the same-old same-old.  If Cruz falters and Rubio becomes the alternative, everything changes.  If Rubio falters and Cruz becomes the alternative, everything changes in a quite different way.

With all of that stipulated, here is the chart I have made up of my estimates of Trump's likely delegate count in each of the forty states or other entities holding primaries.  The more deeply I delved into the details, the clearer it became that there is an extraordinary range of variation in the rules adopted by the several states.  This is one of the wonders and curiosities of the American political system, not matched, to the best of my knowledge, in any other country on earth.  America is indeed a Republic and not a Democracy, as the old textbooks explain.  It is a union of originally sovereign states, each of which cherishes the right to do things its own way.

Here is my chart.  You will see question marks.  Some of the state rules simply stumped me.  When I got to Montana, I threw up my hands and did not even make an estimate.  The result of this exercise is startling.  Keep in mind that I have added in no delegates from the fifteen or so caucuses.  If my calculation is at all on the money, Trump is, on the basis of my assumptions, going to win the nomination!  I confess that I was startled by this.   I am not sure the talking heads on television have gone through this process of estimation, even though it could have been carried out by a low-level staffer in several hours or less.
 

Analysis of Republican Primaries


state

total

Likely Trump

Total Trump to date

New Hampshire

20

7

7

South Carolina

45

36

43

Alabama

47

25

68

Arkansas

37

18

86

Georgia

76

39

125

Massachusetts

39

15

140

Oklahoma

40

21

161

Tennessee

55

28

189

Texas

155

72

261

Vermont

16

8

269

Virginia

46

16

285

Louisiana

43

21??

306

Idaho

32

16

322

Mississippi

37

16

338

Michigan

56

21

359

Puerto Rico

20

10

369

Ohio

63

63 [?]

432

Florida

99

99

531

Illinois

66

40 [??]

571

Missouri

52

39

610

North Carolina

69

23

633

totals

1113

 

633

Arizona

58

58

691

Wisconsin

42

36

727

New York

95

47

771

Connecticut

25

17

788

Delaware

16

16

804

Maryland

38

29

833

Pennsylvania

54

18+

851+

Rhode Island

16

7

858+

Indiana

54

48

906+

West Virginia

31

18(?)

924+

Kentucky

46

16

940+

Oregon

25

9

949+

Puerto Rico

20

10

959+

California

169

130

1099+

Montana

?

?

 

New Jersey

51

51

1150+

New Mexico

21

10

1160+

South Dakota

26

26

1186+

District of Columbia

19

10

1196+

 

 

 

 

[CORRECTION: It seems I managed to list Puerto Rico twice in the table above!!! There is a reason why I went into Philosophy rather than one of the exact sciences. It is too complicated to reconfigure the chart. Just drop those delegates votes out in your mind. Sorry about that.]
One caution:  I think the numbers do not quite add up properly.  I am terrible at that sort of detail work, but they are close enough.

6 comments:

Mike Doyle said...

John Cassidy has a nice discussion at the NewYorker on the question whether Trump's support in the polls will be matched in the voting booth.
nyer.cm/alO4sDm

Robert Paul Wolff said...

I was thinking, as I walked this morning, that when the voting actually starts, I should post a running comparison of my estimates with the actual delegate allocations. Fairly quickly, a pattern might emerge either confirming or disconfirming my estimates.

David said...

Professor Wolff, Puerto Rico is listed in your table twice.

Robert Paul Wolff said...

sigh. Thanks. I will correct it.

TheDudeDiogenes said...

I read every post that you, er, post Professor, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who does so without commenting frequently. Most often I feel I don't have much to add, but I am almost always educated, fascinated or both after reading your posts!

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Thank you so much for that, The DudeDiogenes. Like Tinker Bell, my light is brightening as a result.