Trump Tuesday, Trump Week, And Indiana

What’s known as the “Acela primary” is taking place today. Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania offer 125 winner-take-all delegates, while Connecticut and Rhode Island combine another 47, for a total of 172, coincidentally the same number of delegates California has. The great majority of these will go to Donald Trump.

The main question is if Trump will exceed the 50 percent threshold to get all of Connecticut’s 28 delegates, or will he split them with John Kasich. At this point, it’s a toss-up, although I believe Trump will pull it off.

With an additional 165 or so delegates, Trump has a fair chance of landing within spitting distance of 1,237 by the Washington primary on May 24–then it’s up to New Mexico and California. [Update: it’s been noted that Trump won’t pick up all of Pennsylvania, which is not winner-take all, but a “loophole primary”, so it’s very possible Cruz will pick up a significant number of delegates from that ballot.]

So we’ll call this Trump Tuesday, or Trump Day, because it’s going to be a massacre with Donald as champion. We’ll see him act presidential (the key word is “act”) from the podium then beat his chest on Twitter afterward. Then the pundits will rehash the numbers again and again all week, with banter about “presumptive nominee” and all that, while the mystery of the Cruz/Kasich alliance is peeled like an onion, layer by layer.

That will be Trump week.

And then Indiana. Trump is leading just outside the MoE in the latest polls, but those have Kasich at 16-22 points. The question is, obviously, will the Cruz/Kasich deal move those voters over to Cruz?

Cruz is going all in. “For the supporters of John Kasich in Indiana,” Cruz said. “If you don’t want to see Hillary Clinton as the president,  and nominating Donald Trump ensures Hillary wins the general, then I would ask Governor Kasich supporters to stand with us.”

Indiana is going to be the battleground–the Mother of All Primaries. Who would have predicted that last August? But here we are.

Indiana is an open primary, so Democrats, Republicans, and independents are all eligible to vote in the GOP primary. The voter registration deadline was April 4, which is 29 days before the May 4 election. Early voting has already begun, with more than 64,000 GOP ballots cast according to the Indiana Secretary of State’s office.

Could the Kasich deal come too late? Some think so.

“Had we known this several weeks ago, I would have been able to do what John is asking us to do, which is to support Ted Cruz,” said Indiana State Rep. David Ober (R-District 82), who voted early for Kasich.

Indiana will now become the #NeverTrump referendum–either Kasich support will remain strong, rejecting Cruz’s plea, or Cruz will take the state in a definitive #NeverTrump moment, like he did in Iowa and Wisconsin.

This week is Trump week, and next week will either be Cruz’s redemption, or it will be Trump all the way to Cleveland. If Trump isn’t stopped in Indiana, it’s going to be extremely difficult to stop him in California.

Cruz & Kasich Team Up Against Trump: What It Means

Late Sunday night, the Cruz and Kasich campaigns issued coordinated new releases announcing a deal to keep Donald Trump from taking the nomination.

Cruz campaign manager Jeff Roe’s statement  read:

Having Donald Trump at the top of the ticket in November would be a sure disaster for Republicans. Not only would Trump get blown out by Clinton or Sanders, but having him as our nominee would set the party back a generation. 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, and we would hope that allies of both campaigns would follow our lead. In other states holding their elections for the remainder of the primary season, our campaign will continue to compete vigorously to win.

Chief strategist John Weaver spoke for the Kasich campaign:

Due to the fact that the Indiana primary is winner-take-all statewide and by congressional district, keeping Trump from winning a plurality in Indiana is critical to keeping him under 1237 bound delegates before Cleveland. We are very comfortable with our delegate position in Indiana already, and given the current dynamics of the primary there, we will shift our campaign’s resources West and give the Cruz campaign a clear path in Indiana.

What does this mean for the campaigns? Let’s unpack it bullet by bullet.

  • It takes back the news cycle
  • It signals voters in Indiana that Cruz will be the nominee
  • It opens the path for a Cruz/Kasich ticket this fall

Taking back the news cycle

The press was ready to coronate Trump after his virtual sweep of New York. This Tuesday was going to add lots of fuel to that “Trump the presumptive nominee” fire. A shakeup of this magnitude (only recently we were yelling about how Kasich had to be in the Trump camp) cements the #NeverTrump movement where it needs to be, and removes all doubt that Kasich opposes Trump.

Let’s not mince words: Kasich badly needed some relevance here. This move gives it to him. Cruz needed a firewall against the dump truck of free media Trump enjoys. Both Cruz and Kasich needed to take the media cycle back, and the only way to do it was to make the equivalent of a political earthquake in the news.

As a side benefit, it ensures Trump doesn’t have a chance to get too “presidential.”

Yes, we’re back to “Lyin’ Ted.”

Signaling Indiana voters that Cruz is the choice

Essentially, this acts as an endorsement of Cruz by Kasich. In not-so-many-words, Kasich pulling out of Indiana, his last best hope of cementing a midwest bloc, is acquiescing that a Cruz nomination isn’t so bad.

Indiana is Cruz’s battle royale. Either it’s his Little Big Horn, or it’s Trump’s Waterloo. Making Indiana into a Trump/Cruz mano a mano is a smart move (and Cruz is a smart man). Showing voters that (1) Trump is not a foregone conclusion, and (2) Kasich is comfortable with Cruz is extremely important because it breaks Trump’s divide and conquer strategy.

Really, this needed to be done back in early March, except with Rubio and Cruz. But last ditch efforts that work are better than the best laid plans of mice and men, as they say.

The path to the Cruz/Kasich ticket

This is by no means assured or even assumed to be the price of Kasich’s support for Cruz. What we do know is that Kasich is off Trump’s “short list” for VP picks. (Yay!)

Kasich would make a good VP pick for Cruz–not a conservative’s dream, mind you–because he has a certain soft-sell approach and resonates with voters in the important rust belt states. Everyone keeps saying that nobody can win the presidency without Ohio. There you go.

The stated price of Cruz’s Indiana Purchase is Oregon and New Mexico. But that’s far from clear. Oregon votes on May 17, and New Mexico along with California on Gold Rush Tuesday, June 7. By then, Indiana, which votes on May 3, will be in the history books. Should it become apparent that Trump will not win the required 1,237 delegates, Cruz could very well roll up the “Kasich” states.

Come Cleveland, Kasich may get his wish of charging in like Teddy Roosevelt up San Juan Hill and saving the day for the Cuban candidate. It could be just enough to stop the whole affair from devolving into a viper pit. And even if it isn’t, Trump will be stopped.

Stopping Trump is now, finally, at the most desperate hour, the stated goal of all the remaining GOP candidates who are not named Donald J. Trump, and that is a very good thing.

Delusional, Despicable John Kasich Denounces Math

Appearing on Fox News’ “Special Report,” John Kasich wore a smug grin, sitting across the table from a stunned Bret Baier and denounced mathematics, logic, and common sense.

Kasich knows there’s no possible way he can gain enough delegates to win the nomination, so he is trying to stop Ted Cruz from stopping Donald Trump, while somehow entertaining the delusion that the convention will pick him as the nominee. Or more likely, he’s lying his square-cut head off and playing for Trump’s VP pick.

He lied in an ad he’s running in Utah showing Mitt Romney campaigning for him in Ohio, knowing that Romney is campaigning for Ted Cruz in Utah. Kasich sat there and listened to Romney’s robocall, which plainly stated “A vote for John Kasich is a vote for Donald Trump.”

Then Kasich claimed that Cruz can’t carry Ohio, and therefore “can’t win in the fall” (despite polls showing he can win). He actually thinks Cruz is the spoiler and should get out and consolidate behind him. If Kasich really believes this, he’s disqualified from being governor of Ohio, or dog catcher, prison warden, or the guy in charge of the local landfill. If he believes this, he seriously needs to have his head examined for a brain injury.

I don’t think he believes it. He’s just a delusional political hack playing for influence with Trump.

Either way, Kasich is despicable.

Kasich’s Despicable Play For King Maker

John Kasich helped Ted Cruz’s chances to stop Donald Trump from getting the GOP nomination outright with 1,237 delegates by winning Ohio last night.

Thank you Governor Kasich.

Kasich also has zero chance of getting the nomination himself. Erick’s numbers show him needing 101 percent of unallocated delegates. My model shows him needing 116 percent. Either way, he’s as eliminated as the Red Sox were in last years’s baseball playoffs. Mathematically.

The only reason Kasich would want to continue in the race is delusional hubris or a play to be king maker in Cleveland. Since Rubio is out, one of two outcomes are most likely: (1) Trump wins 1,237, or (2) a brokered convention. Option (3) where Cruz wins is now vanishingly difficult due to Kasich’s despicable act.

Kasich wants to ride into Cleveland, as the sitting governor, like the “favorite sons” of old and offer a crown to whoever can make the best back-room deal with him. He’ll soon find out that Donald Trump is not a man to make deals with unless you enjoy being taken like a sharp takes a mark. Ask Chris Christie or Ben Carson, they’ll confirm it.

And Cruz won’t need a king maker. The convention floor will be packed with Cruz and Rubio supporters. If Trump falls short of 1,237, only Cruz will be eligible to stand for nomination on the second ballot by current rules. Of course, those rules could change, but why change them? Monkeying with convention rules only adds to the appearance of stealing the nomination from Trump.

I have always taken the position that candidates up for the GOP nomination are responsible for knowing how the process works. Trump can’t walk in and pretend that the person who wins the majority of states automatically wins because it doesn’t work (and has never worked) that way. If Trump arrives at the convention short of a straight majority, it’s his responsibility to get his supporters to the floor as delegates.

Trump, from what I see, has not really put a lot of effort into a delegate operation, while Cruz has. To say that Cruz deserves no credit for an excellent delegate recruitment operation is to throw the entire nomination process away (which Trump would love to do) and turn it into nothing more than a national referendum to select a candidate. They might as well make it into American Idol.

The king maker in Cleveland should rightfully be Rubio, who left it all on the field with blood, sweat and tears, and made a gracious exit. Kasich is simply a despicable villain and not the “prince of light and hope” he projected in New Hampshire.

Should Trump win the nomination outright I’m fully prepared to dump that disaster largely on Kasich’s lap. Should Cruz stop him (no thanks to Kasich), the GOP should lock the doors in Cleveland and not allow Ohio’s governor to enter the hall.

Did I mention that Kasich is despicable? He is.

Sleep Walking to Ford’s Theatre

The American journalist, William Shirer, who penned one of the greatest books of the 20th century, The Rise & Fall of the Third Reich, observed that no other political party “came close to attracting so many shady characters,” as Adolf Hitler’s National Socialists as they accrued power in Germany.

While the Nazis battled for power, some senior leaders such as Joseph Geobbels and Gregor Strasser, advocated allying with the Communists and Socialists. Both factions believed more government control would solve Germany’s problems. But for Hitler this was heresy. He had won the support of prominent industrialists who opposed the unions, socialists and communists. His financial support would collapse if he embraced his political adversaries. The die was cast. The National Socialists and the Communists clashed until Hitler’s Nazi’s finally gained more power and political influence.

Hitler promised a reinvigorated Germany, and he consistently blamed Germany’s leaders for stabbing the country in the back at Versaille. As the Weimar Republic began its gradual collapse, Hitler’s shadow government was waiting in the wings, ready to seize power. Astonishingly, the Nazi’s never earned a majority of the German vote. Hitler took advantage of Germany’s multiparty system and through assassinations, intimidation and effective propaganda coerced Hindenburg and others to cede political power to him.

America shares some unnerving similarities with 1930s Germany with the existing political environment.

A weak and feckless President has depleted our military, abandoned our allies and appeased our enemies. ISIS exploits our weak national security and immigration system by ruthlessly attacking our citizens in California, Tennessee, Texas and elsewhere. Americans feel unsafe and uncertain about the future. Our economy is anemic, and millions of Americans are out of work. Obama has aggressively destroyed jobs in coal country and refuses to unleash American job growth. Instead, he bows to environmental extremists in rejecting the Keystone Pipeline.

Our countrymen (rightfully) feel betrayed by an out of touch ruling class that has engaged in profligate spending and burdened Americans with a 19 trillion dollar debt. Our politicians routinely lie, abandon promises to constituents and commit political adultery with K street lobbyists. America’s immigration process is ridiculously complicated and in need of major reform. We were promised a wall that was never built. The rule of law is ignored by President Obama, and he habitually ignores and disrespects the Constitution. The major parties have frontrunners campaigning on nationalist and Marxist propaganda. The truth is being ignored by the main stream media, but Americans still have time to rally. Many Christians recognize the division, disorder, deception and hatred from both the Trump and Sanders political factions as the spirit of antichrist. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).

Instead of building a shadow government as Hitler did in Germany, Donald Trump has constructed a shadow party within the GOP. He’s essentially mounting a hostile takeover, much to the alarm of principled conservatives and the GOP establishment.

The arrogant and out of touch GOPe continually anger the Republican base. Just this week, Mitch McConnell and his minions demanded Ted Cruz kiss the ring and apologize to them for calling them exactly what they are–a cartel controlled by special interests. No wonder Americans are so disgusted with Washington. They understand so many Washington work for K Street instead of Main Street. They’re quite ready to beat the daylights out of these political sell outs at the ballot box.

So the party of Lincoln and Reagan finds itself in a deep trance, sleep walking to Ford’s Theater. Meanwhile, Donald Trump and his sycophants, populists, low information voters and useful idiots eagerly await to do the deed. Many Republicans see the imminent demise of the party of Lincoln but nobody can seem to stop it. The spirit of Lincoln–of freedom–is dying before our eyes. Ted Cruz and principled conservatives are waging an intense battle to disrupt the rendezvous and wrestle control away from a propagandist nationalist. It is a battle worth fighting but the odds of victory grow dimmer by the hour.

It’s midnight in America. Will America wake up before its too late?

Rubio Comes to Trump’s Rescue

After 3-2-1, The Great Expectations Game and ‘delegates are all that matter,’ came disappointment after crushing disappointment for the Rubio campaign. Coming off a string of losses (during which his participation arguably ensured Trump’s continuing delegate lead), Rubio had a clear path to ensuring that #NeverTrump became a reality.

Rather than become a party hero, Marco pushed forward and said he was laying everything on the line in Florida. However, with hours left until the polls close, he says his campaign will continue, regardless of the Florida outcome.

For the last weeks, my suspicion has been that while much of the #NeverTrump movement was genuine, a significant plurality was #NeverCruz in a disguise. Rubio is proving this case.

Pro-Rubio forces (and Kasich’s for that matter) have been beating the brokered convention drum for weeks. Erick Erickson has detailed the folly of that path at length. If their hope was purely #NeverTrump, they would drop out and support Ted Cruz. He’s the only one with any chance of beating Trump to 1237 delegates or taking the delegate lead at any point.

Tomorrow morning, Kasich and Rubio will both likely need greater than 100% of the remaining delegates in order to secure the nomination without a contested convention. Cruz will need 70-77% and Trump will need 50-55%.

Performance over the past few weeks has shown us, in proportional and hybrid delegate allocation states, that the presence of Rubio and Kasich has given trump more than 75 delegates. If not for their contribution, Cruz would currently be the delegate leader. Given the map moving forward, the greatest probability is not of a convention but that Trump is nominated outright. So what is their strategy?

If Rubio and Kasich stay in past tomorrow, they are working toward two goals: 1. Ensure a contested convention. 2. Drag down Ted Cruz as much as possible. The idea that Cruz could win the nomination outright or be ahead of Trump in delegates is anathema to both the Rubio and Kasich camps.

Given the anti-party, anti-establishment mood within the GOP electorate, the perception of a stolen election would do much to ensure an irreversible schism within the party and hand the White House to Hillary.

In the end, they’re gambling with the future of our party and country. They are willing to risk an outright Trump win, or giving him an incredible delegate lead in order to further their own political goals. That exercise would be one of vanity, not statesmanship.

If Kasich Loses Ohio, The State GOP Will Live In Shame

The Ohio state GOP is John Kasich’s machine. He owns it like the Barbours own Mississippi.

The party, run by close allies, helped him pay for trips to New Hampshire and South Carolina in the months before he announced his campaign. In January the party threw its support behind Kasich, breaking 64 years of neutrality in the presidential nominating process. (The last endorsement went to Robert Taft, in 1952.) Only one other candidate this year had the backing of a state party—New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, whose home state GOP got behind his candidacy.

We saw all the good the support of the state party in New Jersey did Christie. Given the fact that the party apparatus is being used as a Kasich GOTV effort, if he loses the state to Trump, he’ll take the party down with him.

Over the years, the Ohio GOP has polished absentee turnout to an art, including chasing snowbirds at their winter addresses and people who’ve moved out of state but haven’t yet updated their voter registration. The party sent mailers to about 150,000 absentee voters, each of whom will also receive follow-up calls from Kasich’s super-PAC, a coordinated effort no other candidate can duplicate, says [State Chairman Matt] Borges. The party is sending a million more cards to Republican voters expected to vote on primary day. Republican candidates for local office are carrying Kasich campaign literature as they canvass, as will more than 1,000 volunteers coordinated by the state party.

Quinnipiac’s latest poll has Trump ahead of Kasich 38 to 32 percent. The RCP average gives the state to Trump within the margin of error. Only Fox News gives Kasich the win. Not only is Ohio a “must win” for Kasich (he said he’ll exit the race if he loses), but it’s another test of Trump’s cult-of-personality Blitzkrieg against tried and tested party machines. In previous tests, Trump has come out the winner.

If Trump wins Ohio, I half expect Kasich to be the next governor to stand behind Trump on the Podium of Triumph with a look of sheer terror and shock pasted to his face. He should have left the race a month ago, and allowed Ted Cruz to do the legwork. Without Kasich, I believe Cruz could beat Trump in Ohio.

Kasich Flip-Flops on Religious Liberty

During the February 25 GOP debate, Governor Kasich made an alarming statement on religious liberty.

He encouraged Americans to put commerce over conscience and to engage in what they believe to be sinful for the sake of the “greater good.” His “conservative” position left much to be desired.

In a recent blog post I took him to task for his attack on religious liberty.

Kasick reversed his position in the March 3 Fox News debate.

Essentially, he took the position I laid out in that post, that the problem was not Christians needing to get over their conscience and bake cakes.

I asked why he wasn’t asking the ultra-minority to visit another florist, buy their cake somewhere else, or purchase their abortion-inducing drugs at another pharmacy?

Well it looks like the governor has changed his tune in favor of conservative evangelicals– or has he?

In the latest debate he was asked again to clarify his position. His answer:

Here in the commerce business, you want to sell somebody a cupcake great, okay? But now if they ask you to participate in something you really don’t like, that’s a whole other issue. What I hoped would happen after the Supreme Court ruling is that things would settle down. If you go to a photographer to take pictures at your wedding and he says I’d rather not do it, find another photographer. Don’t sue them in court.

I commend Kasich on his reversal–as far as he goes.

However, he should have known better the first time around on such a critical issue.

The fact that his first impulse was to toss people of faith under the bus should warn Ohio voters that the governor is not a reliable choice to defend our freedom of conscience.

I will give him credit for admitting his error. But forcing people to participate in something they “really don’t like” was the whole issue all along.

That still leaves us with the problem: Kasich thinks everyone wants to get along. Or at least he acts like it. Like John McCain before him, he thinks compromise is the answer.

His assumption that “things would settle down” after Anthony Kennedy and friends abolished marriage with tyrannical love poetry is dangerously naive at best. No one who seriously followed this issue thought things would settle down.

The Left will not let this issue go away.  They won’t settle for playing nice. They intend to run all God’s children off the playground.

They want the veneer of normalcy and will not rest until they get it.

Marriage equality–misnomer that it is–is not the end game. The complete destruction of marriage and the family is. We document it all in You Will Be Made to Care and explain why this conflict is not just going to go away anytime soon.

To all my friends from my former home state of Ohio: if you care about religious liberty, there is one clear choice on March 15.

You can vote for someone you know will defend your freedom of conscience—Ted Cruz.

He has a proven record of defending religious liberty and he will never need to reverse an attack on religious liberty. Check out his new religious liberty advisory council.

He also has a realistic chance of winning the Republican nomination, unlike Kasich. Cruz was within 10 in the last Quinnipiac poll–before the last two devastating debates and KKK debacle for Trump.

Ohio can propel Cruz forward in the quest to stop Donald Trump from fleecing America.

Don’t waste your vote on John Kasich, my Buckeye friends.

We cannot afford to get this one wrong, and Donald Trump has made it clear that freedom of conscience is not something he’ll let stand in his way.