Back in mid-March, I was asked to be a go between on a deal between the Kasich and Cruz team. The Cruz team ultimately rejected the idea. They knew they’d win Utah and were confident about Wisconsin. After New York, however, it is obvious that Cruz and Kasich need to set a new narrative in the campaign. With Trump winning more states today, it becomes more crucial.
But I do not think we should think of this as ticket forming.
Back in March, the people who approached me to be the go-between made it clear that Kasich’s team realized it needed Cruz to go to Cleveland. But, I was to make it clear that Kasich though he could take out Cruz at the convention. Kasich put Charlie Black on the payroll to start scooping up delegates. Kasich had been gambling that once the convention got to his back yard he would be able to cut the deals Cruz would never cut.
As time has gone on, the Cruz campaign realizes it needs a deal. But the Kasich campaign also realizes that Cruz has done a masterful job locking down delegates. Even in Michigan where the Kasich and Trump people thought they’d allied against Cruz, the Cruz people masqueraded as Kasich people until after they were selected.
Kasich, still running behind Rubio in the delegate count, at this point just does not want to get embarrassed headed into Ohio for the convention and still has delusions of grandeur. Cruz knows he has to concentrate resources in Indiana and can’t be looking over his shoulder at Kasich.
Within a few hours of the deal, however weak it may be, coming out, the Cruz campaign announced it is vetting Vice Presidential candidates. Kasich’s name was not mentioned. This is Cruz signaling to his base that the alliance really is all about getting to the convention, not about forming a ticket.