There Is Still Hope

Watching the also-rans Rubio and Kasich phone it in while Trump ran out the clock at the debate last night might have given the impression that it is all over. The Republican candidate will be a cheesy, obnoxious, irresponsible, openly tyrannical fraud who most of the country already hates, and who will lose to Hillary Clinton in a landslide that will put Democrats back in control of both houses of Congress, spelling long-term doom for the conservative cause. But it’s not over yet. There is still the hope that Trump will win in Ohio and Florida, taking all 165 delegates. That would give conservatism a chance in the person of its greatest living champion, Ted Cruz. Daniel Horowitz explains:

First, while all of the media attention is focused on Ohio and Florida, Cruz should be able to win the other three big states that day: Illinois (69), Missouri (52), and North Carolina (72). … Those three states alone could allow Cruz to net 80-90 delegates over Trump and counter Trump’s 99-delegate haul from Florida or 165-delegate haul from Florida and Ohio combined.

Then comes the good part: a two-man race between the phony conservative and the real one, with Rubio’s spoiler campaign and Kasich’s VP bid finally out of the way (presumably both will drop out after losing their home states certifies the failure of their campaigns).

Throughout this race, the polls and exit polls have consistently shown that Cruz would beat Trump head-to-head in almost every state, winning by wide margins in many of them. In most states Trump has a floor of about 35-38%, but he has an impervious ceiling in the low 40s.

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The national polls show that if Kasich and Rubio exited the race, Cruz would […] rise by about 30 points and Trump would get somewhere between 4-6 points. The latest NBC/WSJ national poll projects Cruz to beat Trump 57-40 in a hypothetical two-way race while the ABC/Washington Post poll has Cruz beating Trump 54-41. …

Not only does the math change once this becomes a two-man race, the entire tenor, narrative, and dynamic of the race changes. In addition to consolidating the anti-Trump vote, Cruz will have the opportunity to win back some (not all) of the conservative voters supporting Trump. Rather than this being a false choice of “an anti-establishment outsider” vs. a gang of boring politicians cheered on by the very establishment figures that have fueled Trump’s rise to begin with, Trump would be countered entirely by the only true anti-establishment outsider in this race.

Horowitz crunches the numbers and concludes that Cruz could clear the 1,237 delegates to win the nomination outright if Trump drives Rubio and Kasich out of the race by winning Florida and Ohio.

At the very least, Cruz stands a good chance of winning a plurality. Stopping Trump at an open convention would tear the party apart and result in defeat even with a different nominee — but only if Trump comes into it with the most delegates.

Despite the rocks the Donald theatrically throws at mainstream media people, their free publicity is responsible for the success of his campaign. They want him to win because he attracts more viewers, being more entertaining than the tedious grownups, and of course because he would get steamrolled by Shrillary in the general election. After Tuesday, the spin will be that Trump is inevitable. But this would only be true if conservatives shamefully abandon their limited government principles like Ben Carson just did and get in line behind him.

We’ll come out of this Valley Forge.

On a tip from JusttheTipHQ. Cross-posted at Moonbattery.

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