Today is May 4, 2016. Over the last 2 days, Ted Cruz and John Kasich have suspended their presidential campaigns leaving Donald Trump as the “presumptive GOP nominee”. It only stands to reason that the last man standing will win the race; however, I believe there will be a different outcome.
The Republican Party’s presidential nomination process is quite complex. A simplified version is as follows:
- There are a total of 2,472 delegates.
- States hold caucuses and primaries at which delegates are committed to presidential candidates.
- If any candidate receives 1,237 (50% +1) of the delegates, they become the nominee.
- If no candidate receives at least 1,237 of the delegates, a deeply complex set of modifiable rules take effect where anyone could end up with the GOP nomination.
And now, for the interesting part. As long as Cruz and Kasich continue in a race where their most hopeful outcome is not to win, but to keep Trump from hitting the victorious target of 1,237, they look petty. Their lack of a graceful exit only serves to rally the troops behind Trump. In this scenario, the GOP would have a difficult time overcoming the outcry of the masses if the guy with the most points in the end were not given the nomination.
The fact that Cruz and Kasich have now “suspended” their campaigns is being touted as acknowledging defeat and stepping aside for the overwhelming front-runner. I think differently. I believe this is the most strategic move of the Republican elite to date. While it may not work, it does give them the best chance of keeping Trump off the ticket. Here’s how.
It is entirely possible, if not probable, that Trump will still not reach the magical number of 1,237 delegates. My home state of Tennessee is a perfect example of the voting tendencies of America. This year’s Tennessee primary results included nearly 30,000 votes for candidates who had either dropped out or suspended their campaigns PRIOR to the the primary. That’s when Cruz, Kasich, Rubio and Carson were still in the race. I believe the GOP is betting on enough people continuing to vote for candidates with “suspended” campaigns to keep Trump from hitting the mark.
This is a genius move. I believe America is much more likely to accept the GOP’s non-Trump nomination when it is clear that he cannot even earn 50% of the delegates when he is the only person running an active campaign. They kept their sacrificial politicos in the race just long enough to make this possible without getting too close to the end to lose its effect.
This plan has given the GOP their best chance of putting whomever they want on the ticket without rousing torches and pitchforks among the commoners.