- Trump – 28
- Cruz – 2
- Rubio – 0
- Trump – 285 (+203)
- Cruz – 161 (+144)
- Rubio – 87 (+71)
- Kasich – 25 (+19)
- Carson 8 (+3)
1.Keep The Field Populated. To the proposition that the only way to beat Trump is via a head-to-head contest: don’t buy the spin.
The latest NBC News/SurveyMonkey Weekly Election Poll played out such scenarios involving Trump versus Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. The results? Rubio lost by six points; Cruz, by 13.
Assuming Rubio soldiers on past the March 15 vote in Florida, he and Cruz need to strike an accord: they don’t attack each other; their super PACs stick it to Trump. And they draw straws to decide who has to call Jeb Bush to ask for his super PAC join in the Trump-bashing.
Syndicated columnist and Fox News contributor Jonah Goldberg takes this unholy alliance a step further, suggesting a Rubio-Cruz ticket ala Reagan-Bush in 1980. I’m not sure it’s in Cruz’s DNA to be so magnanimous, since he leads Rubio in states won and delegates earned.
Trump may keep winning states moving forward, but from here on it’s a quantity-not-quality argument, with the goal being . . .
2.Keep Trump Under 50 percent. The number that matters most? It’s not states won, but the 1,237 delegates needed to win the GOP nomination.
Of the 1,744 Republican delegates left on the board after Super Tuesday, 391 are in winner-take-all states. The two most important: Florida and Ohio, on March 15. Trump has to be stopped in one, if not both, to slow down the express (at present, he leads in both).
That leaves 1,353 delegates to be allocated either proportionally or by some hybrid scheme. Most crucial of all: states where a 50% majority winner earns all the delegates (Texas has such a system).
Before Super Tuesday, not counting South Carolina where Trump won all 50 delegates, he and Cruz-Rubio split almost equally divided 65 delegates (31 for Trump, 32 for the senators). If something similar occurs in the remaining proportional states, with Trump staying near his mid-30’s ceiling, there’s still a shot at wheeling and dealing in Cleveland.
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