John Kasich finally scored a win Tuesday night, taking his home state of Ohio. But for the sake of the conservative movement and the country, he ought to exit the race now.
The Ohio governor performed a noble service by denying Trump 66 winner-take-all delegates. But he has no path to enter the Republican convention in July with anything approaching a delegate lead, much less the 1,237 delegates needed to win the nomination outright on the first ballot. His only hope is that a contested convention would somehow award a guy with the third most delegates the nomination.
There is, of course, precedent for a Republican convention handing the nomination to someone other than the delegate leader. But in our current political environment, it would likely tear the Republican Party apart and doom its prospects in November. If that were necessary to deny Donald Trump a shot of taking power in this country, it might an acceptable, if tragically unfortunate, trade-off. But there is another, better option: Ted Cruz.
Cruz has earned his chance to take on Trump one-on-one by winning many more states, and delegates, than Trump’s other Republican challengers, including Kasich. If Trump is unable to break 50 percent support in state-after-state in a one-on-one race, as some polls suggest might be the case, Cruz would enter the Republican convention with a delegate lead. In such a scenario, he would likely emerge as the Republican nominee. The process would be seen as legitimate, and while Cruz may not be seen as the most electable presidential contender, he would at least have a chance to win in November with a reasonably unified Republican Party.
Kasich threatens this possibility. By staying in the race, Kasich might very well take enough votes away from Cruz that he in effect propels Trump to victory in the remaining winner-take-all states, maybe even enabling Trump to secure the 1,237 delegates necessary to win the Republican nomination outright on the first ballot. At the very least, Kasich’s presence makes it more likely that Trump will enter the convention with the most delegates, and Trump’s rabid supporters would view anyone who emerged from the convention other than Trump as the nominee as illegitimate. So Kasich’s continued presence in the race would likely either lead to Trump as the nominee, which would be a disaster to anyone who actually believes in conservative principles and the Constitution, or a fractured Republican Party.
When a potential alternative exists in Cruz to avoid both of those scenarios, why not try it?The next winner-take-all state is in a week in Arizona, so time is of the essence. If Kasich wants something in return for his withdrawal, Cruz should grant it. If he wants the vice presidential nomination, give it to him. A spot on Mount Rushmore? A top priority of the Cruz administration. A $1 billion check from Cruz’s Department of Treasury? Whatever it takes.
The goal of any true conservative should be to stop Trump from winning the Republican nomination. He is an authoritarian who surrounds himself with thugs. The thought of him in the White House should send shivers down your spine.
As of now, the best way to stop him at the least cost to the GOP’s chances in November is for anti-Trump voters to unify around Ted Cruz. Hopefully John Kasich will do the right thing.