Election 2016

Ted Cruz and John Kasich Are Teaming Up to Try to Stop Donald Trump at a Contested Convention

Two late night press releases reveal the unusual state of the GOP primary race.

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Foter / Gage Skidmore

The unusual state of the Republican presidential race was made exceedingly clear late last night in two press releases, issued just minutes apart, from two of the three remaining contenders in the GOP primary, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich. For all practical purposes, both campaigns are now working in tandem to stop frontrunner Donald Trump from winning an outright majority of delegates prior to the party convention in July. 

Cruz's campaign released a statement declaring that Trump would be bad for the GOP's short-term electoral odds and worse for its long-term chances, and that as a result, Cruz would essentially cede the states of Oregon and New Mexico to Kasich:

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.

Although the announcement did not say so explicitly, the message was clear: His campaign understands that there is now no remaining chance to secure the GOP nomination prior by winning a majority of delegates prior to the convention in July. So Cruz's aim at this point is to stop Trump from achieving a delegate majority by clearing a path for Kasich in the states where he is stronger.

For weeks, Cruz adamantly insisted that a contested convention was not acceptable, and that he would win the nomination outright. But what his release last night makes clear is that he is now openly trying to cause a contested convention.

Kasich was even clearer on this point. In a statement released at almost the exact same time as Cruz's, he signaled he would step aside for the Texas senator to win in Indiana in order to keep Trump from winning the nomination outright. 

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. 

Kasich has downplayed the significance of the moves, saying that he still wants Indiana voters to vote for him, it's mostly about directing resources. But even still, the statements represent a somewhat remarkable joint effort between the two campaigns, and highlight both the strange state of the overall race and the serious tensions within the Republican party. Trump, of course, has complained that the two campaigns are "colluding" against him.

The statements are notable not only because they suggest that the Cruz and Kasich campaigns are joining forces to stop Trump, but because they are effectively open calls for their independent backers, such as Super PACs, to do the same.

Just as notably, they are also asking voters in the GOP primary to cast their votes strategically. The message here that both campaigns are sending to voters in Indiana, Oregon, and New Mexico is not to vote for the candidate they prefer, but to vote for a contested convention, the outcome of which will be decided by delegates. Both the Cruz and Kasich campaigns have pitched themselves as alternatives to Trump who are well-positioned to win in a multiple-ballot, open convention situation, so there's obviously a strong element of self-interest for both campaigns. And yet the message here is, in some sense, that voters should worry less about picking a winner and more about casting their votes for whichever candidate will be most effective at stopping Donald Trump.

Update: Is Kasich backing out of the deal? Speaking about Indiana voters today, he said, "I've never told them not to vote for me, they ought to vote for me. But I'm not over there campaigning and spending resources, we have limited resources." His statement last night, however, said explicitly that it would "give the Cruz campaign a clear path in Indiana." 

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  1. Not only would Trump get blown out by Clinton or Sanders, but having him as our nominee would set the party back a generation.

    Not only would Trump wipe the floor with “Crooked Hillary” in the debates, but the party is fractured beyond repair already.

    1. Hahahahaha,

      Wipe the floor… hahahahaha. Seriously… hahahaha.

      Trump would have trouble winning Texas, imo, and that says something.

      1. Based on… what?? Your gut feels, or the polls-that-are-totally-accurate -this-time-around-even-though-they- have-yet-to-accurately-predict-anything-Trump- related-thusfar??

        1. From living here and witnessing people come out in record numbers to vote anyone but trump.

          1. And yet he wins over and over. Me thinks you are not as omnipotent as you thinks.

      2. I think he’d “Wipe the floor” with her in the sense that his style is completely off-base from what she’s spent her adult lifetime preparing for. My fantasy debate is he suffering a massive stroke after he spends 5 minutes with his hands over his ears going “LA LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR LIARS!”.

        1. I keep saying, that actually happening would make a Trump candidacy totally worth it.

        2. My fantasy debate is her suffering a massive stroke after Trump lays out at least 5 things she has been caught lying saying. That and Trump repeats that she will be indicted immediately after he becomes president. Or her head explodes- BOOM!

    2. Not a big fan of any of the scumbags on the Rep or the Dem side but those saying Trump has no chance in the general were saying Trump had no chance for the nomination. If you want to cite polls, in the beginning of the current process Trump was way behind to several other candidates. The analysts have been wrong about him before and they may just be wrong about his chances now.

      1. It was hilarious that as late as this Jan. so many analysts said the Trump phenomenon wouldn’t carry over into actual primarying & caucusing.

      2. I never thought he’d be one of the last four in, much less the front-runner going into the convention. I know better than to make any predictions about his performance in the future.

    3. I don’t think it’s a given, but he definitely *could* pivot in such a way as to appeal to a segment of Bernie’s supporters and have a chance against her.

      1. Already about 30% of Bernie supporters say they won’t vote for Hillary.

        1. The whole point of voting “for Bernie” in primaries was to vote against Hillary. Sanders has a tiny vocal core of support, but his real votes are protest votes vs. Clinton.

          1. I know many people who are totally pro-Bernie, whether they like Hillary or not. They aren’t just protest voting against her.

        2. Last night when I mentioned to millenial-aged friend that I thought Sanders and Trump were the two worst candidates in the race, he said he thought they were the two best.

          It’s one data point, so take from that what you will, but their difference is largely one of style and focus, not substance.

    4. Not only would Trump get blown out by Clinton or Sanders,

      He would? He’s polling almost even with Clinton, you know.

      In a head-to-head matchup of each party’s frontrunner, Mrs. Clinton leads Mr. Trump by only 3 percentage points nationally (46 to 43; 11 percent undecided).

      http://mediarelations.gwu.edu/…..round-poll

      Early poll disclaimer, etc.

      1. Hillary was polling and picked by pundits as the presumptive Democratic nominee before Sanders wailed on Hillary in the primary process. Hmmm…. must mean that polls are not accurate and pundits are wrong.

    5. There’s also always the chance that she’ll be indicted before then and Trump would have to run against Biden.

      /s

  2. Why is Kasich even in this race?

    1. Thinks he can pull a fast one at a contested convention?

    2. Hitler?

      1. Kasich is a smoker? Kool.

      2. just a brick shitter…

    3. Because he thinks his supporters can convince the party that having Kasich as nominee will arouse the fewest people to vote against him in the gen’l election.

    4. Watches too many Animes. He thinks believing in himself and never giving up is the key to winning. And so far, he’s gotten a false positive, since the only reason he broke double digit support was merely because he refused to give up even when more sane candidates were jumping ship.

  3. This is the clearest indication yet that we live in an absurd computer simulation.

    1. Neil degrasse Tyson?

    2. This must be the Sim World that the creator got bored with and is now just watching to see how long it takes before everything is fires and ghosts.

      1. Too bad we didn’t get the Godzilla like monster attack instead of this shit show.

      2. It’s Boatmurdered all over again…

  4. Cruz would essentially cede the states of Oregon and Kasich:

    Talk about burying the lede here, Kasich is a state now?

    1. In the State of Kasich, all Blockbusters are banned from renting Fargo.

      1. Blockbusters? Are you trying to set us back a generation?

        1. be kind, please rewind!

    2. In the State of Kasich, the state sport is Speech Karate.

  5. having him as our nominee would set the party back a generation

    So he’s comparing Trump to Reagan? I thought the GOP looked back on Ronnie with fondness.

  6. “‘Why Populism should be illegal; Canada, Poseurdom, and the rise of the Smug Authoritarians’ is set to hit bookshelves this summer. This would be Tedward Cruz’s fifth science fiction fantasy novel released in the expected 20 part series; “I love God and You will too.”

    Not to be outdone, Jahn Kasich wrote his own book, “The Buttercreamer’s Guide to Never Saying Die,” and is offering it for free as a companion novel to Cruz’s work.

    What a summer of reading we have in store for us, chappies.”

    1. I am glad you mentioned fantasy novels because Hillary and Sanders have one coming out soon. Hillary- It’s not a lie if you believe it. Sanders- Democratic Socialism: Its not like the USSR, DPRK, Nazi Germany, DDR or any of those other Socialist paradises.

  7. Team up to ‘steal’ the nom from the trumpalos? That’ll teach ’em to get in line and unify the party.
    They just signed a suicide pact.

    1. I kind of agree with Matt Welch on this one… Trump’s comment “there could be riots” if it appears the GOP gerrymandered the nomination away from Trump isn’t that bombastic a statement.

      1. As bad as Trump is for the party image, they’d probably be better off letting him take the loss to Hillary than permanently alienating a chunk of their base just to get someone else who will lose to Hillary by a little less.

        Although with congressional control also at stake, I can see why they don’t want to run a guy with 65% unfavorables.

        As a right-libertarian, I’ll find a silver lining for a Trump nom (more attention for Gary!) or a Cruz nom (can work with libertarians on more than half the issues). I’m not sure what the upside is for a Kasich-Clinton race is though.

  8. OT: US Appeals Court just reinstated Tom Brady’s Deflategate suspension

    1. We need to get government influence and money out of the NFL. Let them run their own stupid show the way they want to. Since when did professional sports become the government’s domain?

      1. Since the leagues wanted to be tax exempt non profits and exempt from anti-trust laws?

        Sometimes, cronying carries a price.

      2. I’ve been asking that since the steroid inquiries.

      3. A person allegedly unjustly harmed by the internal processes of an organization DOES generally does have the right to litigate his grievances against that organization as a breach of contract. I would imagine the NFL’s CBA has provisions allowing decisions of the commissioner to be appealed to an arbitrator and, from there, to federal court.

      4. Interstate commerce. More overuse of that Clause.

    2. Since the contracts stipulated to US courts as the adjudicator in disputes?

  9. If I was a gop voter in Oregon, Indiana, or NM, I’d vote dem or Trump just to spite them for being so presumptuous with the malleability of my support.

    1. And you’d get what you deserve.

      1. Yes, yes, I should just dance when Cruz/kasich tell me to. Fuck off

        1. No. I never said that either. You can fuck off now.

        2. It appears you deserve it.

  10. I’m starting to see some “Move to Canada” in my derpbook feed. This makes me smile.

  11. I want to get off the GOPs wild ride.

    1. I wish we could have gotten off Obama’s “Its a socialist World” before the USA went farther down the tubes.

  12. Yeah, this won’t backfire at all. Trump’s probably doing a little happy-dance as we speak.

    1. Not if his Twitter rants are to be believed. I think this pisses Trump off, because he’s suck an insecure bitch. But I do think you’re right that it’ll help him. He’s just too pig ignorant to realize it yet. Give him enough time to rant it out, and the hive mind following him will twist it all into the grand conspiracy against the toppiest of top men.

      1. Well, regardless of how he feels, he has to make himself look the victim to make this collusion benefit him.

        1. I generally hate all politicians, but I increasingly find the Trump phenomenon to be amazing. Here’s a guy who is beloved for his strong-manliness, yet he’s the whiniest bitch I’ve seen on the political scene. I get why Trump does it. What I can’t figure out is how people are able to square the two: Somehow this pouty baby is the same Ubermensch that’s going to solve the dirt-people crisis and all those job stealers.

          Basically, Trump is a prick, but his followers seem to be retarded.

          1. And to clarify why I mention “all politicians,” around here there’s a lot of “yeah, Trump is an authoritarian asshat, but so are the rest of them.” I would respond that I generally agree (although there are degrees of authoritarian asshattery), and I would say that it’s not so much Trump I hate (I do, though), but his supporters’ undying love and support for reasons that seem to be grounded in an alternate reality where monkeys are in charge and the green stuff you eat is people.

  13. Wow. I get that the party is between a rock and a hard place with Trump, but leave it to the Stupid Party to basically play right into Trump’s hands.

    1. Anything anyone does plays into Trump’s hands, because Trump is excellent at bending narratives and his followers are short on brains.

      1. So Bernie’s followers who believe that Democratic Socialism is actually different than all the other failed Socialist states are NOT short on brains?

        One reason that Trump is doing so well is that a large portion of people want an actual different candidate and Trump is different than all Democrats and Republicans in the field. There are definitely some dumb dumbs supporting Trump but there are dumb dumbs supporting Sanders, Hillary, Cruz, Kasich…. The unknown is whether Trump will actually be different as President. We all know Hillary would not. Sanders would not. Cruz would not. Kasich would not. It would be government business as usual for those that are not Trump.

  14. Smart move by Cruz.

    Cruz wins a contested convention on the second ballot.

    1. “Cruz wins a contested convention on the second ballot.”

      Think so? I’m thinking Cruz is a dupe for the establishment at this point, and someone more friendly will get the nomination if it comes to a brokered convention.

      1. That would be too big of a screw job.

      2. I think you’re right. The GOPE basically tried anything, including Trump, to snatch it from Cruz.

        This will be their “out.”

  15. as a result, Cruz would essentially cede the states of Oregon and Kasich

    When did Kasich achieve statehood? But I can’t figure out what words were supposed to go there.

    we are confident a candidate capable of uniting the Party and winning in November will emerge as the nominee.

    No can do both. However, once Trump & Cruz make a deal to form a Trump-Cruz ticket, they’ll have their best shot. Still won’t unite the party, of course.

  16. RE: Ted Cruz and John Kasich Are Teaming Up to Try to Stop Donald Trump at a Contested Convention
    Two late night press releases reveal the unusual state of the GOP primary race.

    There’s no stopping Trump the Grump.
    Fascism finally comes to Amerika.
    Yay!

    1. Sorry to shock you but Fascism has been in Amerika for some time. Look to New Deal era for quite a bit of evidence of that. Add in Nixon era War on Drugs, W. Bush era Patriot Act and Obama Patriot Act on steroids and you get the soft police state that we currently have.

  17. “Trump, of course, has complained that the two campaigns are “colluding” against him.”

    Well, they are.

    And hurrah for that!! Every step closer to a brokered election is a step closer from totally destroying the Republican party.

    1. There may very likely be a contested convention, there will not likely be a brokered convention.

  18. This might have been a good plan several months ago.

  19. Although I dislike Trump and am not planning to vote for him in the general, I would not be shocked if he wins. Everybody I know has at least one friend or family member who will vote for him and they are almost entirely all democrats (or were until recently). I don’t think enough republicans will cross over and vote for Hillary to make up for this.

  20. Conservatives United for Cruz and Kasich

    C.U.C.K.

    1. Noice!

    2. God, I can’t wait till the cuck thing ends. You Trump dipshits need to find a new way to laugh amongst yourselves. This one’s stale.

  21. Cruz is pulling something on the Gov. He is not qualified to be president. He is not native born. So what is he doing with all this crap.

    1. Please provide the date of his naturalization.

      1. May 14, 2014 was the day he renounced being a Canadian, so….
        http://time.com/2854513/ted-cr…..tizenship/

        He would crucified by the Democrats over not dropping his Canadian dual-citizenship until 2014. Headline- Cruz: Doesn’t care to fight for America’s working folks because he can just legally move to Canada.

  22. Trump trump trumpity trumpet trumpeter trump trump trump trump trump trump ??? – marching to the camp song

  23. If only we could set the GOP back one or two more generations than that, Cruz.

  24. Conservatives Overjoyed for Cruze and Kasich
    C.O.C.K.

  25. Wouldn’t say they are teaming up so much as choosing sympathetic strategies to maintain viability.

    Otherwise known as trying to win.

  26. I say have an old fashioned duel-let em settle it the of fashioned way.

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