Let the Outsiders Settle It

FedUp PAC StaffTed Cruz Texas Senator

Even before Donald Trump added to his delegate total on Super Tuesday, the Marco Rubio and John Kasich campaigns speculated openly about stopping Trump at a deadlocked Republican Party nominating convention in July.

Under this scenario, Donald Trump is denied the GOP presidential nomination because he lacks the necessary 1,237 delegates pledged to support him on the first-ballot convention vote. In the aftermath, most of the Trump delegates would be under no obligation to support Trump. At that point, Republican fixers would move in to start cutting deals for a Trump alternative. Establishment water carriers Mitt Romney or Paul Ryan, for example, are prominently mentioned as a “compromise” Republican nominee. Truth be told, though, the establishment would nominate just about anyone in July as long as the candidate is not named Trump or Cruz.

That the GOP establishment would even consider such a scheme shows how desperate they are to stop outsiders Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, who between them have consistently captured at least 60% of the vote in Republican primaries and caucuses to date. For this Hail Mary strategy to succeed, the three candidates (including Cruz) chasing frontrunner Trump would need to continue collecting enough delegates altogether to deny Trump a majority at the convention.

In other words, the Republican establishment under this scenario is playing a numbers game. Unfortunately for them, the math is not likely to work in their favor. For one thing, Marco Rubio and John Kasich would all need to stay in the race and keep up at least the appearance of credibility. Otherwise, they can’t win the delegates necessary to prevent Trump from winning on the first-ballot. But there’s no guarantee they will have the money to continue campaigning, much less win significant numbers of delegates.

The calendar is also working against the establishment’s set-up. Starting March 15, the Republican primary rules switch to allowing winner-take-all. Marco Rubio, for instance, is already trailing Trump by double digits in Rubio’s home state of Florida primary on March 15. However, even if Rubio closes the gap and loses only by one or two percentage points, Trump would still get all of the Florida delegates. Winner-take-all rules will allow Trump potentially to pile up delegates quickly in big states like Florida, Ohio, Illinois and California that will pad the advantage he has already built. At that rate, the competition would be hard pressed to stop Trump shy of the 1,237 delegates he needs at the convention.

The biggest flaw of all in this possible stop-Trump plot is one the establishment probably hasn’t even considered since the will of grassroots Republican voters is the last thing on their minds. Denying either Donald Trump or his fellow anti-establishment candidate Ted Cruz the GOP nomination by manipulating the rules would tear the Republican Party to pieces and guarantee the election of Hillary Clinton in November. Quite simply, a nomination won by backroom deals is a nomination not worth having at all.

Tone-deaf GOP elites would do well to remember that outsider candidates (including Ben Carson) are winning over 60% of the vote in state after state for a reason: Grassroots voters have had their fill of establishment politicians who refuse to secure our borders, protect American jobs and preserve U.S. sovereignty. Instead of trying to thwart the will of the majority, the establishment should give way. Without the establishment propping up Rubio and Kasich, their campaigns would expire within a matter of days. The resulting one-on-one matchup of outsiders Trump and Cruz would be a fitting conclusion to a GOP campaign driven by anger and disgust with the ruling class. May the best man win.