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Presidential Horse Race 2016: Between Trump and Cruz, let the better man win

One day removed from Ted Cruz’s big win in Wisconsin, many observers are wondering if the balance in the 2016 Republican presidential race has completely changed or whether The Badger State was just another unfortunate bump in the road to a Donald Trump nomination.

In other words, has Cruz now overtaken Donald Trump as the favorite to win the party nomination?

Donald Trump Ted CruzWhether it’s true or not, some seem to think so. CNN’s Senior Political Analyst David Gergen writes, “With his decisive victory in Wisconsin, Sen. Ted Cruz has not only shaken up the Republican presidential race, but heading into the homestretch, he has suddenly become the odds-on favorite to win the nomination in Ohio.”

Odds-on favorite? Not sure about that one.

Gergen adds since both Cruz and Trump support the GOP’s Rule 40 (requiring candidates to have won the majority of delegates in at least eight states in order to be eligible for the nomination) that they will instruct their delegates to retain it at the convention.

Of course Trump has already passed the eight state threshold. Likewise, Cruz won his eighth contest in Wisconsin on Tuesday night, making him “eligible” as well. John Kasich and Marco Rubio are the only other candidates to have won a state, though Rubio doesn’t even qualify there either because he didn’t win the majority of the delegates in his lone win in Minnesota.

And yes, Rubio has suspended his campaign. End of story.

Therefore, only Trump and Cruz are eligible under Rule 40.

Between Trump and Cruz at the Republican National Convention, Gergen likes Cruz’s chances for the outright win if Trump fails to secure 1237 delegates on the first ballot. In essence, even though he’s still over 200 delegates behind in the overall Republican race, Gergen thinks Cruz is now the favorite to win.

I don’t find fault with Gergen’s reasoning as much as his conclusion. Cruz definitely took a major step on Tuesday night, but I’m still not convinced he’s the odds-on favorite – yet.

No one should underestimate Trump’s ability to recover, especially with his home state of New York the next in line to vote. There are almost two long weeks between now and then and a lot can change in that amount of time.

If you don’t believe it, look at the two weeks prior to Wisconsin. After his near 50 percent win in Arizona, commentators were paving Trump’s road to Cleveland with Republican gold. Then came Trump’s ill-timed comments on Heidi Cruz and “punishing” women who had abortions, etc…

Trump’s shown a remarkable ability to turn people off. Can he turn them back on again?

Meanwhile, during his victory speech on Tuesday night, Cruz expressed confidence that he himself would earn the necessary 1237 delegates “either before or at the convention.” To accumulate that many going into Cleveland would be a tall task, indeed. Perhaps he should eliminate the “before” part of the speech from here on out and focus on the “at the convention” line of reasoning.

Byron York of the Washington Examiner agrees, writing, “Before Cruz can benefit from many hoped-for wins, it's likely he will hit a point where it is mathematically impossible for him to get to 1,237 before the convention. There will no longer be even the rhetorical prospect of winning outright before Cleveland.”

York adds that Cruz’s people aren’t bothered by the prospect of winning at the convention after the first ballot falls short of the 1237 number for either candidate. Cruz will likely have momentum going in and only Trump himself will be accusing Ted of “stealing” anything.

At some point, Trump needs to admit he’s not just losing the delegate battle, he’s being outmaneuvered in the race. The Donald may believe in his heart that he’s the best candidate in the whole world to sit in the big chair in the Oval Office, but if he can’t win a party nomination, he’s not going to get there. Period.

Cruz has played by the rules, out-campaigned him, outsmarted him, out-hustled him and taken the higher road in the face of withering insults from a popular celebrity.

Cruz has proven over the course of the past year that he’s got a thick enough skin and the right temperament to be president.

Trump therefore has a big decision going forward. Should he start acting in a dignified manner and play along as part of a potential winning team or does he want to risk his entire family legacy to ultimately become known as an epic sore loser?

His press release on Tuesday night suggested he was taking the latter course. Should Hillary or Bernie end up as president because Trump makes a fool of himself and storms out of the convention as a whiner and a crybaby, he’s done forever.

Even his business name is at stake in such a circumstance. With unfavorable ratings near 70 percent of the country, his ONLY chance to salvage his good name is to graciously concede he was beaten by the better man and throw his unconditional support behind Cruz.

If not, who’s going to buy memberships at his golf clubs? Or want a Trump tie? Or invest in another building with a name that effectively spells m-u-d?

I’ve said many times Trump isn’t dumb – do you think he’d risk everything he’s ever worked for just because he was outsmarted by Ted Cruz in a political race?

Not likely. And don’t believe him when he threatens to walk, either.

Cruz statistically ties Trump in respected national poll

It’s too early to see how Ted Cruz’s stirring Wisconsin win will affect all the national polls, but one in particular shows the race practically tied.
Chris Hahn of Reuters reports, “Republican presidential underdog Ted Cruz has pulled into a statistical dead heat with front-runner Donald Trump, according to Reuters/Ipsos polling.

“The U.S. senator from Texas has 35.2 percent support among Republicans to Trump’s 39.5 percent, according to the survey taken from April 1-5, putting the two within the poll’s credibility interval of 4.8 percentage points. The two were also briefly in a dead heat on March 28.”

Cruz was 20 points behind in the same survey a month ago.

Donald Trump has often cited this particular poll as evidence of his large lead. Now that Cruz has practically caught him, here’s thinking The Donald won’t be so quick to talk about “all the polls.”

Trump is apparently going to be delivering several policy speeches in the next couple weeks ahead of the New York primary. That’s good…with his poll numbers sinking and his losing streak seeming to grow by the week, waxing on policy will give him something new to talk about.

The question is, will people listen or is the damage already done?

Kasich’s delusional disease symptoms show no sign of remission

During Fox News’s Tuesday night coverage of the Wisconsin primary, the network offered split-screen views of the candidates’ various whereabouts. One window showed a Bernie Sanders podium in Wyoming of all places, another a view of a ballroom draped with Ted Cruz signs, one was a look at the Manhattan skyline (for Trump) and I don’t remember what served as a backdrop for Hillary’s location, since she supposedly had moved on to New York and wouldn’t be speaking that night.

The Fox personalities announced John Kasich wouldn’t be addressing the press either, since he was already back in Ohio preparing for the “State of the State” address or something.

You can bet if Kasich was competitive in Wisconsin, he’d have a room full of people anxiously awaiting his appearance to cheer on his every word (assuming he could find enough bodies).

Instead, only dead silence. I don’t even think he had a split-screen slot from Fox.

Kasich predictably came in third in Wisconsin with a little over 14 percent of the vote. I can’t say for sure, but I don’t think he even came close to earning any delegates there (through winning a congressional district).

It’s reached the point with Kasich where people are asking, “why is he here?”

Jonah Goldberg of National Review compares Kasich to a John Belushi-inspired Saturday Night Live character that wouldn’t leave during one particularly memorable skit in the 70’s.

Goldberg writes, “John Kasich is this election season’s The Thing That Wouldn’t Leave…

“Since [New Hampshire], Kasich has lost some 30 contests and won one — in his home state of Ohio. But still, he just won’t go.”

Goldberg offers three myths or delusions as explanations for why Kasich is sticking around, including (according to the candidate), his supposedly superior resume, his electability and his “positive” campaign tone.

I would add a fourth – the delusion that Trump or Cruz will offer Kasich the vice presidency in exchange for releasing his delegates.  

Without knowing the rules, I don’t know whether Kasich has the power to order his delegates to vote for someone other than him, but after the first ballot, they could very well be free to vote for whomever they choose.

In that case, why would they listen to Kasich?

Bringing along John Kasich would help neither Trump nor Cruz on their respective tickets. He’d help win over the establishment, true, but there are other candidates who would be superior in that regard. Cruz could choose Carly Fiorina and Trump could select any number of people to fill that role.

As Goldberg points out, it’s a myth and/or a delusion for Kasich to keep insisting he’s part of the conversation. The race is down to Trump and Cruz. Kasich’s continued presence is superfluous at best and annoying at worst.

He’ll be less and less relevant as time goes on.

In The Empire State, Cruz hits on Trump’s ‘New York values’

It seems like ages ago, but you may recall in December there was a fairly sizable dust-up between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz when the Texas senator hit The Donald for his “New York values” in Iowa.

Now that the race has finally reached The Empire State, Cruz is back to touching on an old theme.

Jonathan Easley of The Hill reports, “Cruz said that when he uses the term ‘New York values,’ he’s referring to the ‘liberal Democratic politicians’ whose policies ‘have been hammering the people of New York for some time.’

“The Texas senator ticked through a list of high-profile New York liberals and disgraced former officials from the state that he said have long been in the pocket of Trump. The billionaire businessman has admitted to donating to Republicans and Democrats alike to curry favor for his business interests.”

It’s hard to tell whether Cruz will suffer any backlash from accusing Trump of being too New York-ish, but if you’re inclined to like or dislike The Donald in the first place, it probably wouldn’t make much of a difference.

Trump’s fans aren’t bothered by the New Yorker’s sordid past associations. But the voters in the general elections certainly could be.

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Numbers - figures lies and liars figure.

Seems like all the discussion about who has more delegates and who won those delegates whether those delegates were won by the votes of the people or by the State Republican bosses seems to have left out one very important part of the puzzle. How many votes for the front runner and how many votes against the front runner.
donald trump says he has millions of more votes than Senator Cruz or any of the other candidates. Well, seems like donald trump does have millions of more votes than other candidates but does he have more votes for him than against him.
Just looked up the raw numbers this morning and it seems that to this day there were 22,325,454 votes cast in the republican party and of those votes cast only 8,263,231 voted for donald trump with the second place vote getter being Senator Cruz with 6,324,157 votes, donald trump has just under 2 million votes more than Senator Cruz.
So let's just look at the votes that donald Trump did get out of the total and understand that there were 14,062,223 votes cast against donald trump. There is almost twice as many who voted against him than there were who voted for him, and the same can be said for Senator Cruz.
This does not mean neither should be considered for the nomination since they did start out with 17 candidates, being 65 years old I can not remember another election cycle where we had 17 candidates in one party.
What this does mean is that the two top vote getters are the two that have the right to fight for the nomination under the current rules. That is exactly what Senator Cruz is doing, knowing and using the current rules to gain delegates, whereas donald trump is whining about the process and accusing people of underhanded dealings, donald trump the GREAT DEAL MAKER has failed at his first big deal to become the President of the United States of America.
What this does mean is that the process of the campaign does have to change for the future, the rules of picking delegates should be the same for every state this is not a states rights issue it is an issue of voting integrity across this great nation.