In the bottom of the 9th, with two out and the bases loaded, Ted Cruz and John Kasich are attempting one final maneuver to stop Donald Trump from getting the GOP nomination.
As the WSJ reports, top officials from both the John Kasich and Ted Cruz campaigns have announced that the candidates have formed an alliance, and will work together during the remaining primaries in order to make sure Donald Trump doesn't have enough delegates to win the nomination outright before the convention in July.
Top officials from the Ted Cruz and John Kasich campaigns announced the alliance in a pair of statements late Sunday night. The deal will keep Mr. Kasich, the Ohio governor, on the sidelines for Indiana’s May 3 primary, while Mr. Cruz, the Texas senator, won’t compete in contests in Oregon on May 17 and New Mexico on June 7.
“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,” Cruz campaign manager Jeff Roe said.
Mr. Kasich’s top strategist, John Weaver, made an explicit call for super PACs devoted to stopping Mr. Trump to follow the two campaigns’ lead.
“We will focus our time and resources in New Mexico and Oregon,” Mr. Weaver said. “We would expect independent third-party groups to do the same and honor the commitments made by the Cruz and Kasich campaigns.”
Knowing that neither one can win the election by winning the actual popular vote, the men have decided to turn to utter desperation and play the system (which is a technically a valid strategy, as it is how the GOP set it up). The goal is to position themselves for an opportunity to win in a brokered convention, whereby delegates start to become "unbound" after the initial vote, and can vote for any candidate they'd like in the next round.
As we pointed out earlier, Pennsylvania is critical and will test Trump's ground game as he tries to win over enough unbound delegates that will vote for him at the convention. If successful, he'll try to replicate those efforts in the remaining states in order to turn the tables on the new Cruz/Kasich strategy.
Here is what The Donald had to say upon learning of the news:
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
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
He added that "when two candidates who have no path to victory get together to stop a candidate who is expanding the party by millions of voters, (all of whom will drop out if I am not in the race) it is yet another example of everything that is wrong in Washington and our political system," he said. "This horrible act of desperation, from two campaigns who have totally failed, makes me even more determined, for the good of the Republican Party and our country, to prevail!"
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Statement from Ted Cruz
HOUSTON, Texas – Cruz for President Campaign Manager Jeff Roe today released the following 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. In other states holding their elections for the remainder of the primary season, our campaign will continue to compete vigorously to win.”
Statement from John Kasich
Tonight, Kasich for America chief strategist John Weaver issued the following statement:
“Donald Trump doesn’t have the support of a majority of Republicans – not even close [ZH: Trump has a total majority by >2 million] , 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.
In turn, we will focus our time and resources in New Mexico and Oregon, both areas that are structurally similar to the Northeast politically, where Gov. Kasich is performing well. We would expect independent third-party groups to do the same and honor the commitments made by the Cruz and Kasich campaigns.
We expect to compete with both the Trump and Cruz campaigns in the remaining primary states.”