Don’t Bury Cruz Just Yet

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

“Et tu, Schweppe?”

A Shakespeare you may be, but a Michael Barone not so much.

Without a doubt, Donald Trump had a stellar Tuesday night and drew closer to the nomination. But don’t get out the “Make America Great Again!” party horns just yet. Trump is still almost 281 delegates away from securing the nomination and the hill will be steeper than you think.

“These are not margins that can be explained away by geography or demographics. These margins are a symptom of a campaign that has now concluded.”

I’d agree except that these margins were similar to Trump’s margins in other states in the Northeast: Massachussetts (+31), New York (+35), and New Hampshire (+20).

Also, you’re from the Midwest. You had an opportunity to turn the tables on all those elitists from the Northeast that can’t tell the difference between Illinois and Ohio, and instead you give them the benefit of the doubt?

All five of these states are very similar in demographics and voting trends. Don’t believe me? Tell me the last time that Connecticut, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, or Rhode Island voted for the Republican nominee in November.

Concluded? There are 583 delegates left. You know where almost 30 percent of them are located? In California, where Carly Fiorina — Cruz’s pick for VP who garnered 4.2 million votes there in 2010 — is from. You don’t think that will have an effect on the outcome there?

If Trump underperforms in California, Indiana, and West Virginia, he will not reach the 1,237 threshold. Continue Reading

New Poll: Trump Surging to 49 Percent in California

Donald Trump (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Just a few weeks ago, Ted Cruz was within striking distance of Donald Trump in California, 39 percent to 32 percent. The assumption of many (including me) has been that Trump has a ceiling — as the front-runner’s controversies mounted, the undecideds were looking for an un-Trump they could support.

Instead in the last two weeks, it is Cruz who is hitting a hard cap on his support, while Trump surges again. The latest CBS poll shows Trump gaining massive ground, rising to 49 percent while Cruz stays at 31 percent.

What is happening? Two weeks without a disgust-invoking moment from Trump certainly helps. But it looks to me that Cruz’s embrace by the establishment GOP, tentative though it may be, is resonating with Trump’s “voter-less victory” charges to Cruz’s disadvantage.

Throughout this campaign cycle, 60 percent of GOP voters have sided with an outsider, shifting their proportions around from Trump to Cruz to Ben Carson to Carly Fiorina at various moments.

The one most powerful message GOP voters are sending is they dislike their own party.

The un-Trump sentiment is not nearly as strong as the anti-Washington GOP sentiment.

Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project and can be followed on Twitter @MaggieGallaghe. Continue Reading

Even After Ending Campaign, Rubio Still Working to Stop Trump

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Sen. Marco Rubio may have suspended his campaign over three weeks ago, but he has not given up the fight to defeat Donald Trump just yet.

In addition to calling Ted Cruz “the only conservative left in the race” in a thank you call to supporters, offering Cruz implicit support if not an explicit endorsement, Rubio has also been taking other quiet steps to halt Trump’s march to the nomination.

Last week, RedState reported that Rubio filed paperwork to have his name removed from the California primary ballot — a move which could improve Cruz’s chances of defeating Trump in the state by ensuring Rubio does not steal any votes from the leading non-Trump candidate.

Rubio has also taken the unprecedented step of requesting that party leaders not release the 172 delegates he won during the early stages of the race, even though he is no longer campaigning:

If state parties agree to let Rubio keep the delegates he won, that effectively blocks Trump from gaining their support between now and the Republican convention in July.

Rubio’s 172 delegates represent more than half of 323 unbound delegates that could essentially be up for grabs between now and July, NBC News explains.

And if not getting those 172 delegates keeps Trump from reaching a majority of 1,237 by the convention, then a second vote for the nomination could take place in which essentially anyone — i.e. not Trump — may win.

Continue Reading

My Prediction: Trump Won’t Break 1,000 Delegates

Donald Trump (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Donald Trump is headed to victory in New York, but the question is: can he can break the 50 percent barrier? I think not because lately he’s been underperforming his polls.

But looking ahead, things start to get really tough for Trump, who continues to face massive resistance for a front runner and who has refused to invest in an actual campaign infrastructure to fight for delegates.

Two polls show Trump ahead in California and Maryland (by 7 and 10 points, respectively), but Trump is polling at only 39 percent in California and 40 percent in Maryland.

Meanwhile, the rich delegate pile in Pennsylvania (where Trump is also at 39 percent, 9 points ahead of Ted Cruz, who typically outperforms his polls by around 5 percentage points) is going to depend on getting voters to vote not for your name in the primary but for the delegates who will actually vote in the convention, and whose names are not matched with any candidates on the ballot.

Who would bet against Cruz pulling off the massive share of actual delegates in Pennsylvania? Trump will threaten to sue, again. But the delegates will vote for Cruz.

It’s a messy system, but nobody has ever had a Pennsylvania GOP presidential primary vote that mattered. Winning requires more than appearing on TV for free. Trump has exhausted that strategy. He’s going to see diminishing returns — yes, even in New York.

Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project and can be followed on Twitter @MaggieGallaghe. Continue Reading

New California Poll: Can Cruz Beat Trump?

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) (photo credit: Michael Vadon via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

A new Los Angeles Times poll has Ted Cruz surging to within one point of Donald Trump in California, 36 percent to 35 percent, with John Kasich lagging at 14 percent.

That’s a big jump for Cruz from the last poll in early March which had Trump leading 38 percent to 27 percent with Kasich at 14 percent. Ex-Rubio voters appear to recognize that Cruz is the only candidate who can beat Trump.

Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project and can be followed on Twitter @MaggieGallaghe. Continue Reading

New Polls: Where Is Trump in California?

Donald Trump (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Two new California polls show Donald Trump is either at 38 percent, up 16 points over Ted Cruz, or he’s at 25 percent, just five points over Cruz.

Either way, Cruz has 20 or 22 percent. John Kasich (and Marco Rubio, who was still in the race) trail.

Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project and can be followed on Twitter @MaggieGallaghe. Continue Reading