By the time all of the votes were counted in New York, it was apparent that Ted Cruz would face near-impossible odds in his quest to lock up the Republican nomination before the national convention in July. Cruz, who said in early April that anyone without a shot at 1,237 delegates should make way for candidates who can win on the first ballot, would need 98% of remaining delegates to win the nomination outright. Donald Trump, who won his home state in a landslide, said Tuesday night that it wasn’t “much of a race anymore.”
Even so, Cruz appears to have gladly embraced the new goalposts. For a man who once said that the only way to stop Trump was to defeat him at the ballot box, Cruz was defiant when asked if he should take his own advice and drop out. Gamely pushing forward, the Texas senator told radio host Chris Stigall that a contested convention was inevitable.
He said, “At this point, nobody is getting 1237. Donald is going to talk all the time about other folks not getting to 1237. He’s not getting there either. None of us are getting to 1237. We’re going to go into Cleveland, I’m going to have ton of delegates. Donald’s going to have a ton of delegates. It is going to be a battle in Cleveland to see who can earn a majority of the delegates who have been elected by the people.”
In a strategy that sounds more and more like Kasich’s with every passing day, Cruz pointed to his superior poll numbers when pitted against Hillary Clinton. Jabbing at Trump’s favorability numbers, he said, “If Donald Trump is the nominee, it elects Hillary Clinton.”
Kasich, who finished second in New York, has been promoting a similar message since his win in Ohio. Long since eliminated from the first-ballot nomination, the governor lashed out at the #NeverTrump movement this week, accusing them out not doing enough to steal delegates away from the frontrunner. Meanwhile, one wonders why Kasich needs outside help to defeat a political rival.
No matter what happens from this point forward, millions of Republican voters are going to emerge from this process with newfound cynicism about the GOP, the primaries, and the entire American election system. Over the course of the last six months, the establishment has done everything possible to crush the will of the people. Politics is a dirty game – no one was in the dark about that – but how many Americans realized just how dirty it really is?