After trailing Donald Trump for the entirety of the campaign, the two remaining contenders have decided to enter into a political tag-team strategy in an overt attempt to deny The Donald the delegate count he needs to secure the Republican presidential nomination. What would this Kasich/Cruz pairing look like?
Well it isn’t exactly a team, exactly. If you were hoping for an announcement of a Cruz/Kasich (or a Kasich/Cruz) ticket, you may have to wait. Instead, the Kasich campaign is pulling out of the winner-take-all-state of Indiana in the hopes that Cruz will win the day, and the delegates.
In return, Cruz will be pulling out of Oregon and New Mexico, where Kasich is polling strong.
John Kasich’s chief strategist John Weaver dropped this bomb:
“Donald Trump doesn’t have the support of a majority of Republicans – not even close, but he currently does have almost half the delegates because he’s benefited from the existing primary system.
Our goal is to have an open convention in Cleveland, where we are confident a candidate capable of uniting the Party and winning in November will emerge as the nominee. We believe that will be John Kasich, who is the only candidate who can defeat Secretary Clinton and preserve our GOP majority in the Congress.
Due to the fact that the Indiana primary is winner-take-all statewide and by congressional district, keeping Trump from winning a plurality in Indiana is critical to keeping him under 1237 bound delegates before Cleveland.
We are very comfortable with our delegate position in Indiana already, and given the current dynamics of the primary there, we will shift our campaign’s resources West and give the Cruz campaign a clear path in Indiana.”
Ted Cruz’s camp released this statement:
“Having Donald Trump at the top of the ticket in November would be a sure disaster for Republicans. Not only would Trump get blown out by Clinton or Sanders, but having him as our nominee would set the party back a generation.
To ensure that we nominate a Republican who can unify the Republican Party and win in November, our campaign will focus its time and resources in Indiana and in turn clear the path for Gov. Kasich to compete in Oregon and New Mexico, and we would hope that allies of both campaigns would follow our lead.”
This is just the beginning, of course–and an open acknowledgment of what everyone following the race has known for a while; Trump is in control. Yet this cooperative agreement could prevent Trump’s outright dominance and open the door for a contested convention this summer.
How will Kasich and Cruz present their candidacies in the event of a contested convention? Today’s releases assure us that this unity is temporary, and that both campaigns (assuming they can dethrone Trump) will continue to go head-to-head for the nomination.
In a contested convention, all bets are off. No holds barred.