Friday, April 29, 2016

Cruz-Kasich Alliance: Desperation or Clever

If you want to see one more amazing thing in this presidential campaign, just wait a few days. It will come along.
And so it was on Sunday night that Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich announced that they had agreed to divide key remaining primary states between them, giving each a better chance to stop Donald Trump head-to-head and force a contested Republican convention.
Is this move a desperate attempt by two failing campaigns to use collusive tactics to stop the clear front-runner, with little chance of success and dangerous repercussions? Or is it a clever move to finally allow real Republicans a chance to show that they want a different outcome, and in the process prevent a general-election disaster?
A historically large field of Republican contenders this year, combined with the effects of the rules (see above) have in some ways left Mr. Trump appearing stronger than he really is. The desire among the party’s rank and file to stop him is significant, but has never asserted itself because the vote opposing him always has been splintered into multiple pieces.
Worse for the Republican Party’s conservative activists, who are in many ways its heart and soul, Mr. Trump isn’t truly one of them. The voters he has energized have been hijacking the very party that those conservative troops have worked decades to mold.
So this move provides—belatedly, but at last—an opportunity to demonstrate the shallowness of Trump support among traditional Republicans. If his status as the front-runner is a fluke, that will be shown. The dynamic will shift again.
Moreover, stopping Mr. Trump could save the party from a general-election disaster. He consistently loses when stacked up against Democrat Hillary Clinton in hypothetical poll matchups, in part because antipathy toward him among women may open up a gender gap of epic proportions.
In the latest Journal/NBC News poll, women said they would pick Mrs. Clinton over Mr. Trump by 56% to 33%. That 23-point Democratic advantage among women is more than twice as large as the one President Barack Obama enjoyed over GOP nominee Mitt Romney four years ago. Her lead among voters under 30 is similar.
Such a disaster could roll downhill to hit all Republicans. In the Journal/NBC News poll, a quarter of voters said they’d be less likely to vote for Republican congressional candidates if Mr. Trump were the Republican nominee.
So the Cruz/Kasich gambit is a clever move. Or too clever by half. We’ll know in a few weeks.
Read the Full WSJ op-ed HERE.

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