Strange Bedfellows Indeed — Cruz and Kasich Team Up To Try To Bring Down Donald Trump


APRIL 25, 2016


Photo: AP

Well, you don’t see this every day in a Presidential campaign.

On Sunday night, within moments of each other, the campaigns of John Kasich and Ted Cruz announced that they now have joined forces in an alliance to stop Donald Trump.  The agreement states that Kasich will stop campaigning in Indiana to allow Cruz running room to defeat Trump in that state’s May 5 primary.  For his part, Cruz agrees not to campaign in Oregon, which holds its primary on May 17 and New Mexico, which votes on June 7.

I’ve never seen a backroom deal between candidates quite this blatant ever in a campaign.  There have been “stop so-and-so” movements before, and “so-and-so” always still wins.  But with Trump’s massive victory in New York and Tuesday’s expected sweep of 5 Northeast states, clearly something had to be done to stop Trump’s momentum.

Is the news of the alliance something that worries the front-runner?  Of course not.  Trump responded with his typical mockery, arguing that the need to team up only exposed the two other candidates’ weaknesses.  In something of a moment of achievement for the Kasich campaign, Trump seems to finally be taking the Ohio governor seriously enough to bestow his highest honor — a derogatory nickname.  So now joining the canon of Trump nicknames, such as “Lyin’ Ted.” “Little Marco” and “Crooked Hillary,” comes “1-For-38 Kasich,” a nickname that will presumably change with every primary that Kasich loses.

As for the alliance between Cruz and Kasich itself, Trump uses the term “collusion,” which in the business world is an actual crime, and while it is fair game in the political arena, the word does have a shady connotation.  (Trump is very effective in his use of language and what words can devastate.)  Cruz and Kasich, however, use some variation of “allocation of resources” as a justification of their partnership.

Will the alliance work, though?  Who knows, but if the focus of the Cruz campaign is the May 5 Indiana contest, it could.  Trump is currently slightly ahead in Indiana, but Cruz is close.  The only problem is that the Republican Party in Indiana is really right-wing nutty.  You may recall that they were the ones who passed the first anti-LGBT bathroom bill last year, and GOP Gov. Mike Pence only agreed to modify it after a national outcry.  Will voters who support the policies of John Kasich really forsake him and vote for the likes of Ted Cruz?  I have serious doubts.  It’s asking a lot from voters to ask them to change their vote in order to enable someone else’s political strategy.

As of Monday morning, the partnership was already showing signs of fraying.  When asked whether he really wanted his voters to cast their ballot for Ted Cruz, Kasich said no, he wants his voters to vote for him.  He said that within minutes of his campaign spokesman saying exactly the opposite.

This partnership may well be a pipe dream and be but a memory by Wednesday morning after Trump has completed his 5-state sweep on Tuesday night.  But it is yet one more curve ball in what has become the most unpredictable primary campaign in decades.  Can’t wait to see what’s next!