These Are the 5 Big If's of the March 15th Primaries #MegaTuesday


So, today is yet another big voting day in the 2016 presidential election.

5 states are voting, and how they vote will definitely help determine who wins the nominations and goes on to run in the general election.

First, some math

Number of March 15th #MegaTuesday states: 5

Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, and Ohio are voting today. (Not including the Northern Mariana Islands, where Donald Trump won 9 delegates in the Repub race. Hillary Clinton won the Dem primary there the other day and got 4 delegates.)

Number of delegates per state per party
  • Florida: 214 (246) D^, 99 R*.
  • Illinois: 156 (182) D^, 69 R.
  • Missouri: 71 (84) D^, 52 R.
  • North Carolina: 107 (121) D^, 72 R.
  • Ohio: 143 (159) D^, 66 R*.
* Florida and Ohio are winner-take-all for the Republicans only, meaning whoever wins there, wins all of Florida's and Ohio's delegates.
^ Why the different delegate numbers? There are bound, or pledged, delegates (the smaller number), and there are the total delegates (the number in parentheses), which includes superdelegates. Bound delegates have to vote at the Democratic National Convention for whichever candidate won them. Superdelegates can support whoever they want. Most superD's say they plan to vote for Clinton. Republicans don't have superdelegates.

Number of delegates each candidate has already:

According to The New York Times:

Donald Trump: 469
Ted Cruz: 369
Marco Rubio: 163
John Kasich: 63
A Republican needs 1237 to win.

Hillary Clinton: 768**
Bernie Sanders: 554
**Not counting superdelegates.
A Democrat needs 2383 to win.

Now here are the 5 big if's.

IF Marco Rubio loses Florida ...

It's probably the end of his campaign. It's his home state, and he represents Florida as a US senator. He's already said he'll drop out if he doesn't win Florida.

And unless he pulls off a miracle, he probably won't win, so he'll probably drop out.

IF John Kasich wins Ohio ...

He will stay in the race and keep trying to thwart Trump. Ohio is Kasich's home state, where he is currently the governor. He's confident he'll win.

If it were just Kasich vs. Trump, he would definitely win.

If he loses Ohio, he'll pretty much have to drop out. If he does win, and stay in the race, he says he hopes to force a brokered convention. And that means the Republican party will have deal-making and rounds of voting at their convention in July to decide who their presidential nominee is instead of just going with straight delegate count.

IF Ted Cruz nabs a good number of delegates ...

He'll keep trying to beat Trump too. He just has a different strategy from Kasich. Right now Cruz is in second place behind Trump. He'll charge on, focusing on states where he thinks Trump is weak, trying to beat him in the race to get the magical number of delegates he needs to be the Republican nominee. How? If Rubio and Kasich are out of the way, it's a two-man race, and Cruz thinks he can beat Trump going head-to-head.

IF Bernie Sanders beats Hillary Clinton in a few states...

He still probably won't be able to beat her out for the nomination, even if he beats her in Ohio, Illinois (where Hillary grew up), and/or Missouri. (Some polls show them neck and neck in those states now--Bernie has pulled up from way behind.)

And he may well beat her a bit today, especially since independents can vote in Ohio, Illinois, and Missouri. (They're called open primaries. In closed primaries, only party members can vote.)

To beat Hillary overall, though, Bernie has to win most of today's #MegaTuesday states AND other states that haven't voted yet that have a lot of delegates (think NY, Cali, Pennsylvania).

Why? Because in most "delegate-rich" states, delegates are distributed proportionally and not winner-take-all. So if there are close votes in a bunch of these states, as is expected, they'll get similar numbers of delegates, and Hillary is already way ahead of Bernie--further ahead than Obama was over her in 2008.

(It's not just a delegates issue--before today's votes are counted, Clinton has 1.6 million more votes of the popular vote than Sanders does.)

IF Hillary beats Bernie badly ...

Is the nomination hers? Is it all over for him?

Nah. He'll charge on. Sanders will aim to win California, New York, and Pennsylvania, and a bunch of other states where he can do well, especially whiter states. (Clinton has beaten him by huge margins in states with big minority populations.) And he will have to win in a few landslides. It won't be easy, but it doesn't mean Clinton has the nom locked up.

But remember, the polls and all early data numbers are just predictions, and they've been proven wrong. We'll have to see how people actually vote this #MegaTuesday #PrimaryDay!

This article was written by Patrick deHahn and originally appeared on Kicker. Kicker explains the most important, compelling things going on in the world and empowers you to get in the know, make up your own mind, and take action. For more, check out the Kicker site, like their Facebook page, or subscribe to their email newsletter.