Cruz Losing Patience With Kasich

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For the first six months of the 2016 Republican race, Ohio Governor John Kasich was essentially a non-entity. With 17 candidates in the field, some wondered how Kasich even managed to hold onto his main-stage spot in nationally-televised debates. Was anyone at all interested in this guy? Even candidates like Rand Paul, who clearly had no shot at the nomination, got more press coverage than Kasich.

Today, with only three contenders left in the race, Kasich’s position is only marginally better. He’s lagging with voters, lagging in coverage, and his path to the nomination has been mathematically foreclosed. Yet he is remaining in the race, because he believes that the Republican National Committee will turn to him when no one arrives at the convention with the required number of delegates.

That persistence is beginning to get on Ted Cruz’s nerves. Kasich has claimed that he is the only candidate who can defeat Hillary Clinton in a general election, but Cruz waved that assertion away when Megyn Kelly asked him about it Monday night. “Someone is not electable if he can’t get elected,” Cruz said.

Polls indicate that Cruz will probably win tonight’s primary contest in Wisconsin, where the governor (and perhaps more importantly, conservative talk radio) has championed him as the best choice. Cruz has noted that Wisconsin is not dissimilar demographically to other upcoming northeastern states, and he hopes to duplicate tonight’s likely success in New York and elsewhere. But Kasich could prove to be a spoiler.

Rankling Cruz even more is Kasich’s ultimate strategy of stealing the nomination away at the convention. Though the prospect of an open convention is looking more and more likely, Cruz has been consistent in denouncing any plot that would rob the voters of their say.

“If over 80 percent of delegates are Cruz delegates and Trump delegates, under what universe do 1,000 Trump delegates or 1,000 Cruz delegates go vote for some uber-Washington lobbyist that hasn’t been on the ballot?” Cruz asked reporters in Madison.

Well, it would happen in the universe where establishment types want to hold on to their power. Their entire lifestyle is predicated on preserving the status quo, and many of them care much more about that than what’s best for the Republican Party. And they certainly care more about it than the country as a whole. Some of them have already said they would rather lose to Hillary than nominate Donald Trump. You can bet they have a similarly dim view of Cruz.

Kasich may not be an “uber-Washington lobbyist,” but he knows what’s going on. His ambitions are unlikely to be realized, his strategy borders on un-democratic, and he has not one drop of energy behind his campaign. But hey, if it’s all up to the party, he’s going to be there to give them a choice, no matter the cost.

Another Republican whose interests can be summed up by one four-letter word: Self.