I take no ownership of the present situation, but now that the Cruz-Kasich alliance is announced, I’ll give you my small bit of back story.
Before the Arizona primary, as word got out that Kasich was putting up ads in Utah and potentially going into Nebraska with ads against Cruz, a friend called me.
He had reached out to the Kasich campaign to lecture them on stopping Trump, not Cruz. The message back was pretty stark. The Kasich team was willing to cut a deal with the Cruz camp to divide up the map and data to stop Trump, but they’d have to go together. Kasich was going into Utah, Wisconsin, and elsewhere with ads against Cruz not so much to stop Cruz, but to show Cruz that they’d either hang together or hang separately.
Weaver insisted this friend of mine get the message to the Cruz campaign.
The thinking from Kasich’s team was that if Kasich could get to Cleveland he would be able to outmaneuver Cruz in a ballot fight.
Whether the Kasich campaign knew it directly or not, I was the guy tasked with getting the message to the Cruz campaign. My thinking on this is that the establishment that wanted desperately to beat Reagan in 1980 finally realized they could not and would have to work with him.
Kasich realizing he has to work with Cruz would amount to the same thing. However, unlike 1980, Kasich’s major players do not have the lifespan that George H. W. Bush’s did in 1980, making it that much harder for them to wait out Cruz the way Bush’s team waited out Reagan.
I was perfectly happy delivering the message and try to coordinate the alliance.
At the time, it wound up going nowhere. The Cruz campaign was confident it could beat Trump in Utah. They did. They were confident they could win Wisconsin. They did.
But after New York’s losses, New England and momentum present a problem and the press narrative has to change for Cruz, as much as it has to change for John “Won One State” Kasich.
If the terms of the deal are what I had knowledge of a month ago, this is not a Presidential ticket shaping up just yet, though that may be how it goes. It is instead reality dawning that for Cruz or Kasich to have a shot at all, they must stop Trump.
It is a recognition by Team Cruz that they need Kasich’s help to stop Trump getting to 1,237 and they can no longer do it alone.
It is a recognition by Team Kasich that Cruz has done so well with delegate selection at the convention, Kasich may have nowhere left to go.
It is intended, as it was a month ago, to be a wake up call to Republican donors to target all fire on Trump.
It may also now be too late. A month ago, the Cruz campaign had no interest in a deal because they could see Utah and Wisconsin going their way. That Cruz and Kasich now need the deal is, I would think, an admission against interest that Trump’s campaign shake up is helping Trump.
Ultimately, Cruz and Kasich need a change in the media narrative. They now have a way to reset after their losses this week and do so with a common “stop Trump” message.