Fair and Square

FedUp PAC StaffGOP logo Republican

On the morning of the March 15 primary election day, Donald Trump told TODAY show hosts Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie that “the biggest people in the party” are already calling to meet with him as the inevitable Republican presidential nominee. Trump explained that “A lot of people are calling because they see what’s happening.” Considering the outcome of the primaries later that day, however, Mr. Trump might want to put on hold the next call he gets from a Republican bigshot.

For one thing, Trump still has less than one-half of the Republican delegates awarded so far. What’s more, he has failed to win 50% of the vote in any state to date. On March 15 Trump did what he was supposed to do in winning the Florida primary. But that was the highlight of his evening. In the all-important delegate tally, Ted Cruz fought Mr. Trump to a virtual standoff in North Carolina. Trump lost to John Kasich in Ohio, denying Trump 66 delegates that would have given him a major boost in the fight for the GOP nomination. Cruz won again with Marco Rubio’s announcement that he has suspended his presidential campaign. Rubio will not be around any longer to siphon off anti-Trump votes from Cruz.

Ted Cruz has made no secret of the fact that he wants to get Trump alone in a two-man faceoff for the nomination. After the votes were counted on March 15, Cruz told NBC News it was “mathematically impossible” for Kasich to beat Trump and suggested it might be time for the Ohio governor to follow Rubio in leaving the Republican race. “The longer Kasich stays in the race, the more it benefits Trump,” Cruz observed. For now, though, Kasich is staying. Cruz still doesn’t have a one-on-one confrontation with Trump. Even so, the way forward could provide him with the upper hand.

After all, it is looking more and more unlikely that either Trump or Cruz will go to the GOP convention in July with the 1,237 delegate majority required to win the nomination on the first ballot. In that event, the candidate with a plurality of committed delegates will make the argument that he should prevail. One of the factors favoring Cruz’s plurality of delegates is that most of the primaries from March 22 to the end of primary voting on June 7 are closed. In a closed primary, only registered Republicans are allowed to vote. Cruz performs better in closed-primary states than he does in open primaries where independents and Democrats can vote. Cruz still has a lot of ground to make up, but his task is not impossible.

One thing that both Trump and Cruz partisans can agree on is that the Republican establishment will do just about anything to keep either of these outsider candidates from winning. GOP elites will be lying in wait at the convention armed with multiple schemes to rig party rules so that someone besides Trump or Cruz comes out of Cleveland with the Republican nomination. The most effective way for either Trump or Cruz to prevent Republican insiders from thwarting the will of millions of grassroots conservative voters is to arrive at the convention with the most committed delegates. Even if it’s not a majority, the number would still be an impressive show of force that demonstrates an honest, fair and square attempt to earn the nomination. And that’s a lot more than we can say for what GOP power brokers will have in mind come this July.