A lot of reporters have already written Ted Cruz’s campaign obituary. Yesterday, my phone buzzed repeatedly with reporters wanting comment on stories they were already writing about where Cruz and #NeverTrump go after Trump wins Indiana. The polling in Indiana is notoriously unreliable, but all the polls do point to a Trump lead.
If Cruz pulls out a win in Indiana tonight, it will be a real upset changing the narrative. If Cruz loses, his ability to stop Trump from 1,237 delegates shrinks to possible, but highly improbable. Regardless, Cruz should stay in the race.
First, there remains a chance he can stop Trump, however unlikely.
Second, Cruz needs to keep his delegate ground game going. The Trump delegates, most of them at least, are not traditionally Republican and have no real investment in the Republican Party. They are there for Trump. Cruz’s delegates have all typically been heavily involved in the party and the conservative movement.
Trump may get to 1,237, but Cruz’s delegates, should Cruz stay in, have a real chance of writing the rules for the Republican convention and shaping the Republican platform.
As long as Cruz has money coming in and can sustain his operation, he needs to. Trump is his own worst enemy at this point and he is always one interview away from another bad news cycle. Cruz can and should capitalize on that.
Certainly there is fatigue setting in and certainly the Republican establishment is lining up against Cruz, but the establishment was never for him and will never be for him. Conservatives though, and the party as a whole, still need a viable alternative to the electoral disaster that comes with Donald Trump.
Right now Cruz is that only viable alternative. Win or lose in Indiana today, Ted Cruz needs to stay in till the bitter end.