Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz can finally agree on something: Ohio Gov. John Kasich will never be allowed to parlay a single primary victory – in his home state – into the Republican presidential nomination.
Advisers to both men spoke to Politico on Wednesday and said Kasich’s plan to seize the Republican nomination at a brokered convention is a fantasy. The governor has 142 delegates compared to Trump’s 661 and Cruz’s 406. Obtaining the 1,237 delegates necessary to outright win the nomination is a mathematical impossibility at this point for Kasich.
“There is virtually zero chance he can even be nominated,” Saul Anuzis, a former Michigan Republican national committeeman who’s advising Cruz, told Politico. “It’s a two-man race.”
Trump’s team noted that convention rules currently require a candidate to win the majority of delegates in eight states or territories to be eligible for the nomination.
“The Cruz folks would never allow the rules to be changed and of course we wouldn’t either,” said Barry Bennett, who’s coordinating Trump’s convention strategy. “The laws of math are not amendable.”
Charlie Dent, a Pennsylvania Republican congressman and Kasich supporter, told the website that a deadlocked convention between Trump and Cruz would create an environment where rules would likely be changed.
“The rule of the party is to make sure to advance the best candidate for the general election. I think all the delegates are going to have to sit down and think this through very carefully,” Dent said, Politico reported.
Tom Rath, a Kasich adviser from New Hampshire, added, “It’s a political convention, and sooner or later the realities of the moment politically, which we cannot foresee now, will overwhelm all the process in the world. You cannot make a judgment about what could happen until you know the political context within which that action is happening.”
Proof that a brokered convention would create fluid alliances comes from the Cruz campaign. The Texas senator did not completely rule out the possibility of working with Kasich to defeat Trump on Wednesday when asked by reporters, NBC News reported. He added there would “absolutely be a place” for Kasich in a Cruz administration.
Kasich’s victory in Ohio on Tuesday night will now test a theory by radio host Rush Limbaugh that members of the Republican establishment will find a way to nominate their preferred candidate.
“If not Jeb [Bush], they’ll go [Mitt] Romney,” Limbaugh told his listeners on Tuesday, WND reported. “The GOP is throwing every egg in its basket in Ohio today. They’re saying that the future of the party is in Ohio today. The future of the GOP hangs in Ohio. What that means is Kasich’s gotta win Ohio. If Kasich wins Ohio, the establishment is still alive, and that way they can engineer a contested convention where they run, that they can then install whoever they want.”
One of Limbaugh’s listeners from North Carolina said there would be “hell to pay” if elites within the Republican Party unfairly denied Trump the nomination.