The GOP nomination battle is raging at hitherto unseen intensities and ethical lows. However beyond the noise it is relatively clear that the GOP establishment has finally made a decision: They are reluctantly supporting the Ted Cruz campaign in order to avoid the nomination of Donald Trump as their presidential candidate. The clearest manifestation of the Republican establishment rallying to Ted Cruz is obviously the endorsement from no other than Jeb Bush.
Had anyone predicted a few month ago the Jeb Bush or Lindsey Graham endorsement of Ted Cruz the immediate recommendation would have been a reality check or indeed psychiatric treatment. That is however the situation today. Ted Cruz happily describes it as proof of momentum for his campaign. The devils advocate might instead label it a sign of complete GOP establishment panic.
Nobody among the powers that be in the Republican party would volunteer a single kind word for Ted Cruz without a gun to their head. Thing is. They have a gun to their head. The strongest field of Republican candidates in several decades have produced the unlikeliest and most unwelcome outcomes imaginable. The Republican shot callers having to back what they consider an un-electable and inflexible evangelical with few positive traits only to desperately attempt to avoid the even bigger evil is a nightmare scenario.
GOP Establishment Vs Ted Cruz
Are the GOP big Whigs going to attempt to nominate Ted Cruz then ? No! In a small piece of poetic justice they are setting him up to fail. The logic is fairly simple:
Donald Trump might well win outright by gaining 1237 delegates. In that case the choice is either rallying to Donald Trump despite his flaws and make the best of it. Or, alternatively run a third party candidate. Would that third party candidate be Ted Cruz? No. Obviously not. The third party candidate would be someone mainstream GOP candidates in primarily vulnerable blue states could cling to in their own election battles.
Donald Trump could fall short of 1237 delegates. Ted Cruz would have won significant victories in the primary battles against Donald Trump in this scenario. Thus turning up at a contested convention with a strong following of delegates in his own pocket, though not within reach of 1237. Would Ted Cruz be a potential nominee in this scenario ? Very unlikely. Cruz would have played his role as spoiler for Trump but few or no of his current reluctant backers would enter the mudwrestling contest of the convention with the intention of getting Cruz to 1237. Why would they? Largely every other option aside from Trump would be more attractive to the GOP establishment and besides Ted Cruz would be one of the hardest sells to unbound delegates. The Cruz delegates would be used to stop Trump and since captured to attempt to nominate an acceptable candidate such as Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney, John Kasich or similar.
Ted Cruz could reach 1237 delegates himself. Well no. Mathematically it is not entirely impossible yet, but in practical terms he has no path to reaching the magic number. The failure of Ted Cruz path to nomination happened long ago when he missed the low-hanging fruit for an evangelical candidate in the Southern and strongly conservative states. Having missed those Ted Cruz would have to largely clean the table in primary battles much less favorable to him.
The Ted Cruz Path To Nomination
If we look at the Fivethirtyeight delegate target tracker Trump is currently at 96% whilst Cruz is at 53% – check the Fivethirtyeight Delegate Tracker to see it in action. The point of that tracker is that Ted Cruz has currently secured only 53% of the delegates he should have won in order to be on track to win at least 1237 at the end of primary season. The tracker takes into account where each candidate should secure delegates based on demographics, ideological makeup of the electorate and so forth. As such, the 53% is a mathematical expression of Ted Cruz having missed his best opportunities already. It is extremely hard to imagine a Ted Cruz surge to victory in places like New York and California. Such a surge is exactly what he would need though.
Where does it all leave Ted Cruz ? As very close to a sure loser. He can not win outright. A Donald Trump win earns him nothing and the paper thin support from the GOP establishment will vanish the second they have even a remote alternative. Nothing is certain. Especially not this year. But Ted Cruz looks set up to fail.
PS: Yes. We are aware that we are breaking current election cycle rules by not including any nude photos depicting family members of those mentioned. We have also failed to question the mental health, looks or endowment of the presidential candidates. We will leave that to the candidates but you can snoop in the Dirty Campaign Technique feature to see what they are up to or simply have a look at the Political Meme and Negative Campaign trackers. Largely everything uttered seems to fit there these days. Sadly. One day we will have a look at the potential effects. Not today.