Can Donald Trump be stopped?
That is the big question hanging over the GOP establishment and the 2016 presidential race. The answer is yes. But it's a long shot and almost certainly depends on denying Trump the Republican nomination at the GOP convention in July.
From a delegate math perspective, the effort to stop Trump likely depends on the Florida primary on March 15. If outside groups going up with negative ads on Trump, including the Wall Street-funded Our Principles PAC, can move the numbers in the Sunshine State and deliver a win to its home-state senator, Marco Rubio, there is a good chance Trump will fall short of the 1,237 delegates he needs to win the nomination outright before the convention in Cleveland.
Because if Trump loses winner-take-all Florida, he could also lose winner-take-all Ohio to the state's governor, John Kasich. And as the race progresses, the terrain becomes somewhat less hospitable to Trump, with contests moving out of the South and into the Midwest, West and Northeast. Trump has shown the ability to win anywhere (see Massachusetts) but he has not faced the kind of sustained assault on the air he is about to face over his business record and past positions on abortion and gun rights and other issues key to GOP primary voters. He could face $10 million in negative ads in Florida alone over the next 10 days.