This has now boiled down to a three-person race: Trump, Cruz, and whomever a brokered convention chooses. In Ohio, some Cruz and Rubio supporters are getting #NeverTrump letters encouraging a vote for Kasich which would increase the chances of a brokered convention. I have been a brokered convention-denier until now, but this is exactly what the GOP will get unless either Trump or Cruz begin sweeping contests after the March 15 winner-take-all states. After March 15, we have a whole month where less than 200 delegates will be awarded before the late-April contests in New York, Pennsylvania, and other states. If those late contests are split, neither Trump nor Cruz may get 50% of the delegate count.
On the bright side for fans of the outsider, Trump PLUS Cruz will amount to over 70% of the delegates coming to Cleveland. For those who are afraid that the Mitt Romney gang will then pick their own person with the blessings of the delegation, they are sorely mistaken. I’ve met some Trump delegates, and they are steadfastly intransigent. I know some Cruz delegates and they won’t roll over for anybody either. I also know some Kasich delegates, and they… well yeah, they’re preparing to act as deal-makers.
But the question is: who exactly are the Romneys and Kasichs going to be making deals with? Each other? Neither the Trump nor Cruz delegates are going to roll over for a Paul Ryan nomination or some other GOP insider. Trump people want a Trump person, and Cruz people generally want a constitutionalist.
If the Trump and Cruz camps get together, they can make a deal between themselves for one or both of their guys or for some new candidate agreeable to both camps. Sen. Jeff Sessions, as someone who endorsed Trump but is generally respected by Cruz conservatives (before the Trump endorsement), would be an example of somebody who may fit that bill. Maybe a return to Carly who was the second or third choice of many Trump and Cruz supporters. I’m sure there are other suggestions, but the point of this conversation is to find a new Trump/Cruz compromise candidate.
Of course there could be a Trump/Establishment or a Cruz/Establishment partnership although that has the chance of alienating the top guy who was left out. I would prefer the former option, but this latter one is a possible scenario.
The silver lining that I am talking about though, is that we will not have a Kasich/Graham ticket or anything of that sort. Outsiders, as long as these delegates remain united and strong, would be in a position to choose the 2016 candidates, and that’s the good news.