The 2016 election season continues to amaze and surprise. Between the aggressive contest and the murmurs of a contested convention, candidates continue to fear the coming months. This fear seems to have manifested itself primarily around the Republican side. The potential source? Donald J. Trump
Trump has been seemingly unstoppable in the past months. He swept Super Tuesday and other large contests throughout the year. His popularity seems to continuously grow despite standing at the forefront of controversy. According to the New York Times 2016 Election Results page, Trump has received over 900 of the available delegates, while Ted Cruz stands at 559 delegates. This is a seemingly insurmountable gap, but the election is surprisingly still very open.
The possibility of a contested convention looms large in the Republican political arena. The Republican convention, held in July, requires a candidate to have 1,237 delegate votes to be declared nominee. If none of the candidates can procure those votes by July, the convention could potentially start the process over. The election could be any candidate’s game.
Now, both Cruz and Kasich have decided to join forces to take advantage of the convention rules. Both candidates issued statements on Sunday concerning their efforts to block Trump from the nomination.
Cruz’s campaign manager stated, “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.”
Only minutes after, Kasich’s Chief Strategist released a statement saying, “”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.”
The basic strategy of the alliance is to divide and conquer. Cruz will not campaign in certain areas of the United States, while Kasich will do the same. Therefore, providing a better chance for the vote to be less split among the two candidates.
Kasich stated at a Philadelphia diner, “I’m not campaigning in Indiana and he’s not campaigning in these other states, that’s all. It’s not a big deal.”
Cruz stated in a radio interview with Laura Ingraham, “This is a nationwide campaign and we’re making a decision where to focus our time, energy and resources. We are now focused very, very heavily on the state of Indiana. It is significant that John Kasich is pulling out of Indiana and allowing us to go directly head to head with Donald Trump.”
Both Cruz and Kasich believe that by teaming up, they can stop Trump from reaching the magic 1,237 delegate vote count by July. This is an unprecedented strategy that may have merit. Trump remains the only candidate who can mathematically receive that large amount of delegates by July.
Trump quickly responded to the surprising union on Sunday night.
He wrote on his twitter page:
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
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
Cruz has been in a consistent second place behind Trump. Although, his original plans to sweep the evangelical vote has fallen extremely flat.
Ralph Reed, founder of the Freedom and Faith Coalition, stated on a MSNBC interview, “Four years ago, 51 percent of all voters who cast ballots in Republican primaries or caucuses were self-identified evangelicals.”
At the beginning of the election, Cruz spoke multiple times about his vision to claim this portion of the vote in America.
Cruz stated in a speech given to Liberty University, “Imagine instead, millions of people of faith all across America coming out to the polls and voting our values.”
Since then, Trump has won nearly every major Republican contest, even within concentrated evangelical demographics. Since more conventional strategies have failed him, it appears that the alliance is a last ditch resort by Cruz to hold onto he nomination. Having little options, a divide and conquer method may lead to improved results among states with large voter turnout. Kasich and Cruz both claim that they they could better unify the party; even as the Republican political divide grows larger and larger. Although, the divide seems to be pushing many toward Donald J. Trump.