As I explored in my cover story for the Washington Examiner magazine edition, the big winner-take-all states of Ohio and Florida, which vote on March 15, loom large in efforts to stop Donald Trump from obtaining the 1,237 delegates needed to win the Republican nomination outright. If no candidate crosses that threshold between now and the final primaries on June 7, then it will trigger a contested convention in Cleveland this July.

Trump recovered from a poor showing over the weekend by taking three of four states on Tuesday and gaining a net of 15 delegates over his closest rival, Sen. Ted Cruz. Now, Trump's performance in Florida and Ohio -- two big winner-take-all states with a combined 165 delegates -- will determine the trajectory of the race. Below, I lay out scenarios under which Trump wins both states, loses both states to Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, or splits them. To be clear, this math could be altered slightly depending on what happens in DC and Guam over the weekend, which have 28 delegates. There are also other important states voting next Tuesday --Illinois, Missouri, and North Carolina -- though they are not winner-take-all.

To start, let's look at where we are now. At this moment, according to AP estimates. Trump has 458 delegates, Cruz has 359, Rubio has 151, and Kasich has 54. There are 1,387 delegates to be allocated in the remaining states. Trump has so far won 42 percent of outstanding delegates.

The math:

Trump needs to win 56 percent of outstanding delegates to reach 1,237.

Cruz needs to win 63 percent.

Rubio needs to win 78 percent.

Kasich needs to win 85 percent.

What it means: Trump and Cruz are the only two candidates with a path to winning a majority of delegates outright, though at the moment Cruz's looks much more tenuous. Though it wouldn't be mathematically impossible for Rubio or Kasich to win, you can pretty much stick a fork in them, especially given that most states allocate delegates proportionately, making it more difficult to come from behind. Thus, for Kasich and Rubio, the best hope is that they can win their home states, justify staying in the race, and work to make sure that no candidate receives a delegate majority, so that they have a chance at a contested convention. However, given how significantly behind they are, were one of them chosen as the nominee in a convention, it would trigger a massive backlash. Put it this way: Even if Rubio were to come from behind to win his home state of Florida, taking all 99 of its delegates, he wouldn't even cut Cruz's lead in half, let alone come anywhere near Trump. And on Tuesday night, Rubio didn't win a single delegate in four states. So, this is effectively a Cruz vs. Trump race and Trump currently has the edge.

Okay, so now let's see how Ohio and Florida can change the overall race.

Scenario 1: Trump wins both Ohio and Florida

The math:

Trump would need 50 percent of all other delegates.

Cruz would need 72 percent.

Rubio would need 89 percent.

Kasich would need 97 percent.

What this would mean:

Trump would be in a commanding position in the delegate hunt and in prime position to capture the nomination. Rubio and Kasich, after embarrassing defeats, would drop out of the race, making it a two-person race between Cruz and Trump. At this point, Cruz would argue that in a two-person contest, he could consolidate the anti-Trump vote. However, Cruz would have a lot of ground to make up, and the flip side of it being a two-man race is that it also means Trump wouldn't have to split delegates with as many candidates. Furthermore, the race would move to states that are seen as less welcoming to Cruz, including Trump's home state of New York. In a two person race, it would also be theoretically easier for Trump to start getting over 50 percent of the vote, triggering winner-take-all rules in a number of states.

Scenario 2: Trump loses Florida to Rubio and Ohio to Kasich

The math:

Trump would need 64 percent of all other delegates.

Cruz would need 72 percent.

Rubio would need 81 percent.

Kasich would need 91 percent.

What this would mean: Though Trump would still be in the lead, his path to winning an outright majority would have narrowed considerably, and a contested convention would become a lot more likely. This would likely trigger a debate among the remaining anti-Trump camps. Cruz would argue that he's the only person with a chance of catching Trump, so that the other candidates should drop out so he can consolidate the anti-Trump vote. Rubio and Kasich may feel justified staying in, and could argue that the remainder of the primary calendar would be more favorable to them and that they could have a chance at a convention. With four candidates splitting up the remaining delegates, it will be harder for anybody to get an outright majority.

Scenario 3: Trump wins Florida, loses Ohio to Kasich

The math:

Trump would need 56 percent of all other delegates.

Cruz would need 72 percent.

Rubio would need 89 percent.

Kasich would need 91 percent.

What this would mean: Trump would be well ahead in the delegate hunt. With Rubio forced to drop out, Cruz would emerge as the anti-Trump, but he'd have a lot of ground to make up in states viewed less favorable to him. Depending on Kasich's strength in the moderate northeastern states, this scenario could still end up forcing a contested convention.

Scenario 4: Trump wins Ohio, loses Florida to Rubio

Trump would need 58 percent of all other delegates.

Cruz would need 72 percent.

Rubio would need 81 percent

Kasich would need 97 percent.

What this would mean: Trump would be well ahead in the delegate count and Kasich would be forced to drop out, having lost his home state. The Cruz camp would argue that now that Rubio has deprived Trump of the 99 delegates in his home state, his work is done. They'd note that Rubio still wouldn't have a chance at getting a delegate majority, but he would have a chance to exit on a high and make room for Cruz to consolidate the anti-Trump vote. But having captured his home state, Rubio may be determined to stay in through the remainder of the primaries. Even with Kasich out, a three-way race between Trump, Cruz and Rubio would make it difficult for any candidate to attain an outright majority. Rubio would cling to the hope that he could catch Cruz as the race moved into more moderate states, building on the momentum of what would now be seen as a major upset win.

Note: This post was updated to take into account Tuesday night's results.