Politics

Kasich And Cruz: Too Disorganized To Collude

Way back in February, I urged non-Trump Republicans to collude to defeat Donald Trump. They didn’t. My advice was ignored—and Marco Rubio‘s subsequent suggestion that he and Kasich team up to deprive Trump of some delegates was unceremoniously rejected.

Until last night, when word spread that Ted Cruz and John Kasich had finally reached a corrupt bargain, there seemed to be no appetite for doing the obvious. The hope was that you could win without resorting to this, and the fear was that it would look desperate and reinforce the notion that they (whoever they are) were trying to “steal” the election from Trump.

But desperate times call for desperate measures. And so, an arrangement was hatched where Kasich would basically cede Indiana to Cruz, who would, in turn, cede Oregon and New Mexico to the Ohio governor. This would, theoretically, prevent Trump from getting the 1,237 delegates he needs.

Too bad the deal couldn’t even last 24 hours before John Kasich broke the peace.

In fairness, he was just being his typical curmudgeonly, contrarian self. The nuanced version of this is that, as stipulated in the agreement with Cruz, Kasich won’t campaign in Indiana. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want people to vote for him there; he does.

Those details don’t matter much, though, because Kasich has now made this all even more confusing than it was. And it strikes me that this is a microcosm of what has plagued conservatives this entire campaign cycle. Nobody has ever the gravitas, good faith, vision, or incentive to work together to stop Donald Trump. Quite the opposite, we’ve had examples of candidates (like Ted Cruz) providing him cover early on, and others (like Chris Christie) taking out potential Trump rivals.

The non-Trump candidates have never had the inclination or competence to cooperate in order to stop Trump. That might go down being one of the most interesting factors of this whole race. It’s not just that people underestimated Trump’s ability. Even after it became obvious he was for real, a sort of normalcy bias prevented us from hitting the “panic button.” For all the talent that Donald Trump has, he could never have banked on being so lucky.