Donald Trump is salty.
He’s salty because for months Republicans not named Trump engaged in a massive circular firing squad, picking each other off while Trump stood off on the side mocking them like an ADHD teenager. But now that Trump is the odds-on favorite for the nomination, finally – perhaps too late – the other two candidates in the race, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Ohio Governor John Kasich have decided to team up to stop him. The plan goes something like this:
Kasich will pull out of Indiana, freeing up his supporters to back Cruz; Cruz will pull out of Oregon and New Mexico, doing the same for Kasich. Cruz campaign manager Jeff Roe 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 Governor Kasich to compete in Oregon and New Mexico.” Kasich’s guy, John Weaver, said something similar – he wrote, “keeping Trump from winning a plurality in Indiana is critical to keeping him under 1,237 bound delegates before Cleveland.”
Trump has responded with a classic Trump Rage Rant™ obviously written by the stubby fingers of the candidate himself. “It is sad that two grown politicians have to collude against one person who has only been a politician for ten months,” wrote Trump, apparently utilizing the argument that two adults are assaulting a baby. Trump then enhanced that particular argument by writing like a small child, in run-on, incomplete sentences: “Governor Kasich, who has only won 1 state out of 41, in other words, he is 1 for 41 and he is not even doing as well as other candidates who could have stubbornly stayed in the race like him but chose not to do so.” He has the very best words and a very good brain, folks.
Trump continued by putting his “MAKE AMERICA LAWYERLY AGAIN” hat on and writing about collusion: “Collusion is often illegal in many other countries and yet these two Washington insiders have had to revert to collusion in order to stay alive.” This is legal nonsense, but no matter – Trump’s rollin’:
Because of me, everyone now sees that the Republican primary system is totally rigged. 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.
Trump, of course, had no complaints about the primary system before the election cycle. And even as he calls for the GOP to come together, he’s threatening the GOP that he will take his marbles and go home if he doesn’t get his way.
Here’s the reality: this isn’t a corrupt deal. It’s long past time that non-Trump Republicans put ego aside to stop a minority candidate from taking the nomination with a platform that essentially rejects all three legs of the Reagan three-legged policy stool (social conservatism, small government, and foreign policy hawkishness).
Now, the deal may not work: Kasich, in particular, seems pathologically incapable of simply acknowledging the obvious fact that he can’t win in states like Indiana. Here’s Kasich this morning:
But that doesn’t mean that a concerted attempt to stop Trump is corrupt. It isn’t.
Here are three reasons why the Cruz-Kasich deal is perfectly legitimate:
Trump Does Not Have Majority Support. Trump has won 37 percent of the popular vote. This means that a broad majority of Republicans do not support him. Trump tries to make the argument that the same applies to Cruz and Kasich, but that’s obviously a stretch – Trump has been running consistently in the 30 to 40 percent range for the entire stretch of the campaign, while the other candidates have varied in support level. People are either anti-Trump or pro-Trump. This argument would be the equivalent of Hillary Clinton saying that Bernie Sanders is more unpopular than she is. She may be more popular than Sanders, but she’s also more unpopular. The same holds with Trump.
Trump Made An Alliance With Cruz Himself. Now Trump is crying about collusion. But just a few months ago, he had a de facto alliance with Lyin’ Ted himself; Cruz laid off of Trump, Trump laid off of Cruz, and they both savaged candidates like Jeb! Bush and Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL). That alliance broke when Cruz began to gain ground on Trump just before the Iowa caucuses. Was their alliance corrupt, too? How about the alliance of Trump and Chris Christie? Or Trump and Ben Carson? Or Trump and Mike Huckabee? Or are alliances only corrupt when Trump is on the other side?
Trump Has No Capacity To Rein It In. Trump mocks the notion of being presidential; he thinks it’s boring. But should he be stopped short of 1,237 pledged delegates before the convention, he’ll have to prove to unpledged delegates that he deserves to be the nominee. He can do it – he can start giving policy speeches, proving he’s capable of being president, use words better than “sad” and “totally disaster” and “very good.” So far, that isn’t going well. Time surveyed 63 unbound delegates how they would vote over the weekend: 26 said they would support Cruz, 15 said they wouldn’t say, and another 15 couldn’t be reached for comment. Just one unbound delegate has said openly he would vote for Trump.
Trump will complain about corruption and lying, though he is the most corrupt candidate in the race, and the most regular liar. That whining may not matter if Cruz pulls out a victory in Indiana.