In twin statements released Sunday night, it was announced that Ted Cruz and John Kasich will join together in dividing upcoming primary contests in order to keep Donald Trump from gaining enough delegates to get the Republican nomination. It's a stunning move from the campaigns and a clear sign that they'll stop at nothing to prevent the former reality TV star from moving on to the general election.
To make life harder for Trump, Cruz and Kasich have essentially given the races in three specific states to each other. Cruz will campaign in Indiana, where he has a significant lead over Kasich and is gaining on Trump in the polls, while Kasich will focus on Oregon and New Mexico, all in order to try and keep Trump from gaining a plurality, and therefore gaining all or most of the delegates in those three primaries.
In the statement from Cruz campaign manager Jeff Roe wrote, "Having Donald Trump at the top of the ticket in November would be a sure disaster for Republicans. Not only would Trump get blown out by Clinton or Sanders, but having him as our nominee would set the party back a generation." Kasich's chief strategist John Weaver gave a similar sentiment, writing, "Our goal is to have an open convention in Cleveland, where we are confident a candidate capable of uniting the Party and winning in November will emerge as the nominee."
Of course, both Cruz and Kasich think that they're that capable candidate. Although they're essentially giving these states to each other, both made very clear that they'll continue to campaign for the nomination against each other — their ultimate goal is making it to a contested convention, where they could have a chance at the nomination, something neither of them can achieve right now because of their respective earned delegates and how many more remain.
Trump is currently leading the Republican pack with 844 delegates out of the 1,237 needed to win the nomination outright. Cruz has 543 delegates under his belt, in second place, whereas Kasich boasts only 148, which is actually less than Marco Rubio, who dropped out in mid-March.
This is all part of a growing trend among Republicans, who seem to be realizing that a Trump nomination is definitely not what the GOP needs right now. Many of the former Republican candidates who withdrew from the race cited the need for unity in the party in a not-so-subtle dig at Trump, whose divisive rhetoric has even well-known billionaire conservative Charles Koch backing away from the GOP.
And it seems like that those left in the race are trying to unify as much as it can — if handing over a state to your opponent all to stop a hateful person from nabbing the nomination isn't unity, I don't know what is.