Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Question for Ted Cruz

Does Ted Cruz want Trump or Rubio to be the Republican nominee? Because at this point, I don't see a way for Cruz to get the nomination. If you look ahead to Super Tuesday, Cruz is polling behind in all of them, except for Texas. Texas is a big deal, it's a big state. But Cruz is from Texas and the bobbleheads all believe that winning a primary in your home state doesn't really count. So he is unlikely to generate any momentum-driving press even if he wins big there.

Looking beyond Super Tuesday, it doesn't get any better for Cruz. According to the polls, he will lose Michigan (March 8), then Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, and Ohio on March 15, and Arizona (March 22), Moving into April, he will lose Wisconsin (April 5), New York (April 19), and Pennsylvania (April 26). Yeah, I know. A lot of those races are pretty far in the future (at least if we are talking about the fickle mood of the American primary voter) and stuff can change blah blah blah.

However, things cannot change as much in the next two months as they have in the last two months. As the primary race advances, windows of opportunity start to close.  Sure, you can spin a yarn about those numbers changing if other opponents drop out. But the universe of people who will drop out keeps shrinking. Neither Rubio nor Trump are going to drop out before Cruz. Kasich and Carson probably will drop out before the end of March (if not sooner). But Carson supporters are the only ones that Cruz can reasonably hope to pick up a majority of and there are not all that many Carson supporters left for him to pick up. Also, as the candidates have more and more debates under their belt, each with high ratings, it's less and less likely that there is a significant number of GOP primary voters who still need to be introduced to the candidates.

So Cruz is basically a goner. Rubio's only hope is that Cruz drops out before Trump accumulates too many delegates and that Rubio will be preferred over Trump by more Republicans in states that have not voted yet (which I think is at least plausible). Trump might win the nomination whether or not Cruz drops out, but his chances are less if Cruz drops out sooner than later. Cruz can't decide the race, but he can tip the scale by a significant amount away from Trump and towards Rubio if that is what he wants to do.

Is that what he wants to do?