In a way, it’s astounding that Sen. Ted Cruz and Gov. John Kasich took until Sunday night to announce that they were going to work together to take down Donald Trump. Ego, you have to assume, got in the way, especially for Cruz, who has been trailing Trump for months but has to feel like winning the thing isn’t impossible. Even if Kasich came calling before, Cruz probably didn’t think he needed him. (To say nothing of Cruz’s former status as one of the GOP’s most hated dudes, in the innocent, pre-Trump days.)
And, yes, for too long the men so eager to stop Trump from getting the necessary 1,237 delegates before the GOP convention in July were like the rest of us–sure this Trump thing had to be a mistake.
Wow, just announced that Lyin’ Ted and Kasich are going to collude in order to keep me from getting the Republican nomination. DESPERATION!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 25, 2016
Lyin’ Ted and Kasich are mathematically dead and totally desperate. Their donors & special interest groups are not happy with them. Sad!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 25, 2016
It’s not a mistake. It’s happening. So it’s time to get organized. Long past, actually. Each candidate officially announced on Sunday that the two teams would split their efforts during the primaries to come (sooner ones such as Pennsylvania’s Tuesday primary are more likely lost and are predicted to fall into Trump hands.)
Kasich’s guy said they were going to let Cruz handle Indiana, a winner-take-all primary held on May 3. This is probably because folks are predicting that Cruz has a good chance of winning those delegates, and Kasich doesn’t have any, and so for the greater good, he’s going to let Cruz do his best to block Trump.
Cruz’s people in turn said they were going to let Kasich try his luck in Oregon and in New Mexico. Both press releases also included token sentences that suggested things were not going to be all nice and cozy between Cruz and Kasich. They’re still fighting to win, and still fighting each other.
However, Kasich is still trailing absurdly behind even Cruz’s 559 delegates, to say nothing of Trump’s 845. Sen. Marco Rubio–who is no longer running for president–actually has more delegates than Kasich, who has a paltry 148.
Yet, what Cruz and Kasich have in common is that all they have left to fight for is a contested convention, which would likely hit Trump pretty hard. Most conventional wisdom (pun intended) suggests that if Trump does not come into Cleveland as the nominee, he might well not last until a second ballot. This might be a long shot, but it’s worth a try. Cruz and Kasich might fancy themselves heroes of the GOP if they pull this off, but they may not be able to save a party so willing to make Trump the frontrunner. Whatever the Grand Old Party was, it’s changing into something else.