Reports are coming out that Senator Cruz and Governor Kasich have joined forces to stop GOP front runner Donald Trump. The details seem a little unclear, but it looks like they will each focus on separate states in hopes of keeping Trump from amassing the 1,237 needed delegates before the convention.
This comes on the heels of a poll in Pennsylvania that shows Trump at 47% and Cruz and Kasich splitting the rest of the votes effectively handing Trump the big win. Cruz and Kasich came to the conclusion that all of America came to 5 months ago, in order to beat Mr. Trump you need to stop splitting the vote.
According to reports, Cruz will focus on Indiana and Kasich will head to on Oregon and New Mexico.
This isn’t unprecedented but it does seem a little desperate at this point. This plan seems a little underwhelming, to be truly effective, they should have done this a long time ago.
Before Tuesday, Cruz was having a really good April. Cruz was racking up delegates from a number of states. Then New York happened. To be fair, everyone expected Trump to dominate in his home state, but no one expected Cruz to walk away with no delegates at all. So is it over, is Trump inevitable?
On paper, not that much changed since last week. We all penciled in most of these NY delegates to Trump before the votes were even cast. The problem for Cruz is the momentum that Trump has stolen. Trump received a lot of positive coverage after the win. News sites used words like inevitable, presidential, and general election.
Cruz isn’t done yet though. His goal of reaching 1,237 delegates before the convention is on life support and ready to have the plug pulled. However, his secondary goal of keeping Trump from receiving 1,237 delegates is still in play.
Here’s the current situation:
Trump 846, Cruz 554
There are about 647 still left to be awarded. Trump needs 391 of those delegates to win the nomination before the convention, or about 60%. That may not be as easy as it sounds. While Trump is racking up the victories, Cruz continues to rack up the first and second ballot delegates. If Trump ends up short of the needed delegates, it will be solely because of Ted Cruz’s ability to win the delegate game.
So here’s what needs to happen for Cruz to have a chance:
- Continue to win the delegate game. Work the conventions and secure as many first and second ballot delegates as possible. Everyone of these is going to count.
- Make it easier on himself and win some states. There are plenty of winnable states still out there for Cruz to win. If he can pick up a few toss ups or Trump-leaning states too, it wouldn’t hurt
- Keep Pennsylvania and California close. There are a lot of delegates in these two states. He needs to keep Trump from winning too many of these.
Here’s some things to watch out for this Tuesday:
- Everyone will make a big deal about PA. Trump is expected to win pretty big here. But like other states, Cruz could end up with more delegates even if he loses the vote. So remember when you watch the results, interpret them with a grain of salt.
- The other states voting Tuesday (CT, DE, MD, & RI) are all geographically and politically working in Trump’s favor. There isn’t a lot of polling for these states, but don’t expect anything other than big Trump wins in these states.
There are 2 battles going on in the GOP nomination. Everybody is paying attention to the headlines and polls from the states’ primaries in an effort to get 1,237 delegates. But the other battle is much more interesting: the battle for who those delegates actually are. Trump is winning the first battle, but Cruz is dominating the second.
After Cruz picked up all 12 delegates from this weekend’s only competition (Wyoming’s convention), here’s the latest delegate count:
Trump 744, Cruz 559, Kasich 144
But this weekend, other states had conventions to choose who these delegates actually are. And like last weekend, Cruz’s organization beat Trump’s yelling. Trump will still get the delegates he won on the first ballot, but after that one expect a huge shift in delegates to Cruz.
In fact, Michael Harrington, a writer and statistician from Redstate.com, lays out perfectly what is actually going on in this largely unseen but vastly important battle. He said if Trump fails to win the 1,237 delegates outright before the convention, Cruz has a 99% chance of winning the nomination. Check out the article here:
Let’s take a look at where we currently stand in the race for the GOP nomination. Here’s the latest delegate count according to AP:
Trump 755 Cruz 545 Kasich 143
Cruz had a couple of small victories that chipped away at Trump’s big delegate lead.
- The biggest get for Cruz was his big win in the Wisconsin primary. He walked away with 36 delegates compared to Trump’s 6.
- Colorado chose it’s delegates through a series of congressional district conventions and one state convention. This was a test of campaign organization. Cruz played the game and won big, he swept all 34 of the Colorado’s delegates.
- Trump has been very loud about his opposition to the results. But this was a pretty big blunder by his campaign. Trump skipped the Colorado conventions and his local leaders made a huge mistake. They passed out a list to their supporters of Trump’s delegates so they would know who to vote for. The list was full of errors and contained a couple of unpledged delegates and even a Cruz delegate. Trump brags a lot about playing the game and winning all his life, in Colorado Ted Cruz played the game better and beat Trump badly.
- It wasn’t a total wash for Trump on the delegate front. Missouri finally certified their results. Even though Trump only beat Cruz by about 2000, he picked up an additional 12 delegates, giving him 37 in the state, compared to Cruz’s 15.
- Cruz picked up small numbers of delegates in Louisiana and North Dakota. Cruz is also winning the battle for second-ballot delegates, delegates who are bound to vote for Trump on the first ballot but are released to vote for whoever they want after that. For example, in Virginia, Trump’s 3 delegates he won from the 1st Congressional district were voted on at a convention. All 3 are bound to support him on the first ballot, but at the convention 2 of those 3 delegates elected are Cruz supporters, meaning as soon as they are released they will switch their support for Trump.
Here’s an article explaining how that happened:
In other campaign news:
- Trump listed possible VP picks. He mentioned his admiration and VP consideration for former candidates (who he has previously trashed) Gov. Scott Walker and Sen. Marco Rubio, and current candidate Gov. John Kasich. All three denied emphatically their interest to be Trump’s running mate.
- House Speaker Paul Ryan once again goes out of his way to make it clear he in no way wants to be the party’s nominee at a gridlocked convention.
- Donald Trump formally picked up the endorsement of former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
- In an interview with Sean Hannity, Republican Nationally Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said the nominee will be one of the three guys running for president.
Donald Trump is not having a very good weekend. Ted Cruz is gaining momentum and delegates.
Trump is coming off a gaffe-filled week. Donald once again dominated the news coverage with controversial statements, many he had to take back. From saying women should be prosecuted for having an abortion to flubbing an answer about the role of government, Trump left a lot of people questioning his grasp on current issues.
The next batch of bad news came in the way of delegates. South Carolina is one the states that requires a candidate agree to the party loyalty pledge to qualify for delegates. Trump walked back his pledge meaning these delegates could no longer be bound to vote for him. Cruz’s organization has helped him gather a few more delegates. In Colorado, Cruz picked up all 6 state delegates available yesterday and looks to pick up more next weekend.
In Tennessee, Trump will still get the delegates pledged to him, but the state GOP had an over-sized say in who some of those delegates are. Tennessee delegates are bound for 2 votes at the national convention, but this switcharoo means if the voting goes beyond 2 ballots like most people expect, those delegates won’t stick with Trump.
And in North Dakota, Cruz’s campaign is declaring a delegate victory. The state’s 25 delegates are unbound, meaning they can vote for anyone at the convention. Of those who voiced their candidate preference, Cruz is leading Trump 8-1.
Combine these small victories for Cruz with his steady 10+ point lead in Tuesday’s Wisconsin primary and hard it’s to ignore the fact that Cruz is heading in the right direction.
Donald Trump did show a little concern this weekend. Trump called on Kasich to drop out and said the Ohio Governor was taking away his votes, particularly in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. The ever confident Donald Trump knows he needs he every delegate he can get to avoid a convention fight, one that he knows would be difficult to win.
Senator Cruz is in a tough spot. The door to win the nomination outright is closing quickly. I outlined the delegate math in a previous post:
If Cruz can’t get the 1,237 delegates needed to win, his next goal would be to stop Trump from reaching that number too. But rest assured, if neither of these guys get the delegates, the party will be pushing hard for someone who isn’t named Ted or Donald. In this scenario, it’s not hard to see people like Jeb Bush, Lindsey Graham, or Mitt Romney back off of their previous endorsements of Cruz for someone who fits the party mold better.
Ted Cruz would be well advised to lock down that side of the party right now. One of the best ways to do this would be to name a credible VP sooner rather than later. If Cruz could get a conservative acceptable to the party to agree to be his VP, it would make it a whole lot harder for the party to turn on him in July because it would also mean turning on one of their own.
There are four potential names I can think of right now who the party absolutely could not say no to. If Senator Cruz could convince one of these four to sign on with him now, it could generate excitement to not only help win the nomination before the convention, it could also help him in case the convention is contested.
These four home run picks are Nikki Haley, Susana Martinez, Brian Sandoval, and Marco Rubio. These four are popular conservatives who the Republican party considers rising stars. Each of these picks (with the exception of Rubio) have proven they are competent executives who are ready to lead on day one. It also doesn’t hurt that all four would create huge excitement with the chance for the GOP to make history with it’s ticket.
The upside for Cruz could be huge. He could generate high levels of excitement in the states left to vote, boosting his chances of securing the 1,237 delegates before the convention. These four are already approved by the party and he wouldn’t have to compromise his conservative priorities to choose one of them. Like I said earlier, it wouldn’t be hard to imagine the party saying no to Cruz, but could you imagine the party saying no to a Cruz/Haley ticket?
Donald Trump has a sizable lead in the primary delegate count. Is it too late for Ted Cruz to overcome Trump and win the nomination?
Let’s take a look at the numbers. As it stands right now:
There are still 18 states left to vote and with 944 delegates left to be decided, Senator Cruz can still reach the needed number, but it will be an uphill battle.
Here’s the good news for Ted Cruz:
- There’s not a lot of polling out there for most of the upcoming states. But from what we do have, Cruz is winning the last 2 polls from Wisconsin’s winner-take-all 44 delegate primary on April 5th. He was down by 10 a month ago. If he can score a comeback win here in a blue collar state, it will be a good sign of movement.
- In delegate-rich California, Cruz has shrunk Trump’s lead from 16 earlier this month, to 1 point in the most recent poll. There are 172 delegates available in this winner-take-all June primary. A Cruz win here would be huge in keeping Donald Trump from getting the nomination.
- There are no more southern state’s left. Trump has absolutely dominated in the South. The map still isn’t overwhelmingly in Cruz’s favor, but it definitely is better for him. Many of the states still left (South Dakota, North Dakota, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Nebraska, and Montana) are geographically and/or demographically similar to states he’s won in the past.
- Marco Rubio could at any time release his delegates. If he does, you would have to believe the majority would go to Cruz over Trump.
Here comes the uphill battle part:
Trump is ahead of Cruz by more than 270 delegates and he is practically guaranteed wins in New York (95 delegates) and New Jersey (51) and probably a few other smaller northeastern states. He’s also holding small leads in Pennsylvania (71) over Kasich and California (172) over Cruz and within striking distance of Cruz in Wisconsin (44). With the exception of New York, these are winner-take-all states.
So is it possible? Yes. Is it likely, probably not. Cruz would need to win 772 of the 944 (or 82%) of the remaining delegates to win. Even if every single Rubio delegate were released and decided to switch to Cruz, he would still need about 67% of the remaining delegates to win. Compare that to Trump who only needs to win about 53% of the remaining delegates to win.
Cruz’s best hope would be to secure those Rubio delegates, win the seven states we listed earlier that he should, pull off wins in Wisconsin, California, and a few surprises, and have Kasich play the part of spoiler for Trump in Pennsylvania. He still may not be able to win the nomination outright before the convention, but if Trump doesn’t either, Cruz would be in a strong position to make a case at a contested convention.