There seems to be three camps making their cases for the Republican nomination. The first two are taking the standard approach; Ted Cruz and Donald Trump want to win enough delegates to become the GOP nominee for President. The third camp is the worst idea that has been floated by Republicans in modern history (yes, even worse than nominating Bob Dole). A brokered or contested convention is the end of Republican party and will propel the country towards disaster with at least four more years of a liberal in the White House.
It would never even be a consideration in any year that didn’t feature a frontrunner that was so unpopular with Republicans, but that’s what we have. Donald Trump seems to be appealing to many of the anti-Establishment Republicans, but he’s performing so well in states that have open primaries that some are calling his onslaught a case of sabotage by the Democrats. This will shift based upon his momentum as many ill-informed Republicans start to buy into the inevitability of a Trump nomination, but unexpected wins in Iowa, Oklahoma, Alaska, Kansas, and Maine – all closed primaries and caucuses – demonstrate that actual Republicans want to nominate Cruz.
For Marco Rubio and John Kasich, the only mathematical path to victory is for them to win their home states on March 15 and to prevent Trump and Cruz from getting enough delegates to win the nomination outright. In such a situation, the first ballot at the Republican convention would not yield a winner, leaving the second and subsequent ballots to be mostly open for their delegates to choose who they want. The idea is that Rubio or Kasich can appeal to the pragmatism of the delegates to select them instead of one of the anti-establishment candidates.
The very concept of a contested convention would hurt the Republican party in the general election. It will demonstrate a weakness within the fractured party and the Democrats would exploit it. That would hurt. What would actually splinter and destroy the Republican party is if Rubio or Kasich get their way. If the 3rd or 4th place finisher is propelled to the nomination, it’s over. It will be a bloodbath in the general election. Many Republicans will stay home. Many others will revolt. As much as they don’t want to see Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders as President, polls will be so poor for the “fake” Republican nominee that a lot of Republicans will simply give up.
There’s another factor: Congress. While the Presidential race is definitely the most important individual prize, the idea of forcing a brokered nominee down the Republicans’ throat will keep them home and cost the party seats. We will end up with a very delicate lead in the House and we will lose the Senate. Any argument to the contrary is grasping at straws for Rubio’s and Kasich’s sake.
Ted Cruz can unite the party. He’s the most acceptable alternative for Trump supporters and he’s even starting to pull some Establishment support his way.
Lindsey Graham Warms Up to Ted Cruz https://t.co/WES5b40dvx Suddenly Cruz doesn't look so bad, does he, Lindsey?
— Mark Krikorian (@MarkSKrikorian) March 6, 2016
Most importantly, he can win the general election. Compared to Trump, Cruz polls much stronger head-to-head against Hillary Clinton.
It’s time for the party to continue to coalesce around Ted Cruz. The two alternatives – a Trump nomination or a brokered convention – will throw the party and the country into turmoil. As bad as a Trump nomination would be, the idea of a brokered convention may actually be worse.