Ted Cruz and John Kasich had finally decided to join forces and work to prevent Donald Trump from reaching a majority of delegates before the convention.
On Sunday evening, each campaign released a statement saying the two campaigns will strategically deploy resources to prevent splitting the anti-Trump vote. This is in large part to avoid Kasich dragging down Cruz in Indiana, letting Trump secure a plurality and reaping the 30 delegates which go to the overall winner, as well as many of the 27 delegates determined at the congressional district level. A big Indiana win for Trump would put an outright majority of delegates bound to Trump on the first ballot within his grasp.
But within hours of the plan’s announcement, Kasich and his allies were undercutting it. “They ought to vote for me,” Kasich said of Indiana’s voters. One of his supporters in Congress, Rep. Charlie Dent, said the same.. Kasich is still going to Indiana tomorrow for a fundraiser. And an MSNBC reporter found people voting for Kasich today at early voting centers.
That about sums up the Republican Party’s efforts to stop Trump: limp, halting, feckless, unwilling, incompetent.
Make no mistake, Trump was stoppable. Trump has won only 38 percent of the Republican primary popular vote, support that may be fervent but not broad. A strong rival with unified party support could have and would have beaten him.
But a unified party has principles, ideas, a shared sense of purpose. Today’s Republican Party has little of those. It’s lone common objective was hating Obama, and it abandoned principle in service of satisfying that hate.
The GOP never developed a fresh policy agenda to replace the failed policies of the Bush administration. Its bench of governors eschewed good governance for right-wing nonsense in a futile bid to impress primary voters. Instead, they contributed to the intellectual hollowing out of the Republican Party, leaving behind a shell of a party for the demagogic Trump to seize with his niche of supporters fueled by more hate: not just of Obama, but immigrants and Muslims, too.
Kasich is widely considered to be the most sane and decent of the three remaining Republicans. Quick: Name a policy proposal that he is campaigning on. You can’t. Not even he is running on substance.
Oh, he likes the idea of substance. He candidly told The Washington Post last week: “I am a fundamental believer in ideas. If you don’t have ideas, you got nothing. And frankly, my Republican Party doesn’t like ideas. They want to be negative against things.”
But TaxVox’s Leonard Burman retorted that Kasich actually has the least amount of detail in his tax plans compared to his rivals.
Granted, it’s hard for a party to unify around complicated policy ideas. Parties are made up of lots of people, and there are many places for disagreements once you get into the details. Building that unity takes time, and Republicans have squandered the last seven and a half years.
So we are left with a Republican Party that is so woebegone that not even two people can successfully coordinate the most basic of strategies: You go here and I’ll go there.