On WOIO CBS Cleveland, Dr. Jason Johnson previews the Indiana Presidential Primary, and comments by Donald Trump tying Ted Cruz’s father to Lee Harvey Oswald.
The Indiana primary will likely be the sad ending to what looked to be one of the most exciting presidential primary seasons in recent history. On the Republican side we’ve seen a field of 17 candidates whittled down to just Donald Trump, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich. However, it’s increasingly looking as if Trump will succeed in knocking off his last two challengers. On the Democratic side, Indiana may be the end of a wall-to-wall drubbing. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign has been competitive, but Hillary Clinton leads in every state poll. What will the final results of the Indiana primary hold? There are three possible scenarios:
1. The front-runners win.
Most polling in Indiana shows Trump with a double-digit lead over Cruz, and Clinton leading Sanders by about 5 to 7 percentage points, just above the margin of error. If Trump wins on the Republican side, he’s all but assured to win the Republican nomination on the first ballot at the Cleveland convention in July. Trump needs only 241 more delegates to reach the 1,237 threshold, and if he can win the majority of the 57 available in the Indiana primary, there won’t be much of a chance of any other candidate stopping him.
If Clinton wins, the Sanders campaign will be forced to admit, at least internally, that the campaign is continuing only in order to make ideological points, as opposed to really winning. Clinton needs only about 220 delegates to reach the finish line to become the Democratic nominee, and a victory in Indiana would be more about getting Sanders to give up than pushing her toward what is now an inevitable nomination.
2. The challengers win.
A Cruz victory in Indiana would mean several things for the Republican Party and the race in general. First, it would prove that the “anti-Trump” forces can actually put together a victory that defies the polls. More specifically, it would mean that despite most polling in Indiana showing Cruz losing, the grassroots fear of a Trump Republican nomination, along with larger party fears about a loss in November, can flip the script. In addition, a Cruz victory would feed into the narrative that after weeks of stunts (the Cruz-Kasich alliance, selecting Carly Fiorina as his vice president), his campaign still has enough juice to bring about a contested convention.
This week Sanders has said that he believes a contested convention is likely for the Democrats, too, and while mathematically this is incredibly unlikely, a win in Indiana would give Sanders more potential influence over what Clinton does down the road as the likely nominee. Indiana is another open-primary state, meaning that you can vote no matter what your party affiliation. Sanders has done well in states in the Midwest, with large white populations and open primaries, so in theory, Indiana might be the kind of state where he makes a final stand.
3. A split victory.
At this point, given the number of delegates remaining for both Republicans and Democrats, the only real change in strategy would come from a Cruz victory over Trump and a Clinton victory over Sanders. If Trump defeats Cruz and Sanders beats Clinton, not much will change. It will mean that a contested Republican convention won’t happen, which is hugely disappointing for the news outlets hoping for a melee, but most Republicans resigned themselves to a Trump GOP nomination after he swept the Northeastern primary states on Super Tuesday, part 3. Sanders will stay in the race no matter how Indiana turns out, so a victory doesn’t so much change the nature of the Democratic race as it simply drags out a sad but inevitable conclusion.
This article originally appeared online at The Root.
On CNN, Jason Johnson and U.Va. professor Larry Sabato talk about Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign and remarks by former Speaker John Boehner comparing Cruz to Lucifer.
Not all collaborations are created equal.
When Run-DMC and Aerosmith came together to make “Walk This Way” in 1984, it transformed rap and rock worlds for the better. When Jay Z and R. Kelly started their Best of Both Worlds tour in 2004, it seemed like a good idea at the time, even if it crashed terribly. When Brad Paisley and LL Cool J got together for “Accidental Racist” in 2013, we were pretty sure neither of them had any idea what they were doing.
On Monday, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich announced they’re going to make political music together and collaborate to stop Donald Trump from winning the Republican presidential nomination. This is a bad idea, this is R. Kelly and Justin Bieber bad, and it’s a sign that not only is the Republican nomination race over, but none of these candidates ever really understood what the audience wanted.
Monday, a team of Kasich and Cruz managers, pollsters and strategists announced that the two campaigns would be coordinatingefforts to keep Trump from getting the 1,237 delegates necessary to win the Republican nomination this summer. Trump has 845 delegates, Ted Cruz has 559 and Kasich has 148 (still fewer delegates than Marco Rubio, who dropped out weeks ago). To make this dream collaboration a reality, the Kasich campaign will supposedly stand down for the upcoming Indiana primary, where Cruz has a chance to beat Trump, and the Cruz campaign will stand down in Oregon and New Mexico, where Kasich is seen as having a better chance of beating Trump. The idea is that while individually they can’t take down Trump, working together, Kasich and Cruz can peel off enough delegates in the next few weeks to stop Trump. The problem is, this idea sounded so much better in studio than it does on the election stage.
On a practical level, the team-up is already showing fractures. Kasich and Cruz never met personally to discuss this plan, and while it’s unlikely that their campaign teams conceived of this plan without the candidate’s knowledge, without so much as a handshake, it’s hard to believe that either man’s heart is really in the deal. Less than 15 seconds after the arrangement was announced, Kasich told the press that he’d still hold a fundraiser in Indiana and he wouldn’t tell his supporters directly to vote for Cruz. And while Cruz has publicly said he’s happy about the plan, a super PAC supporting Cruz will still be running anti-Kasich ads in the state just to make sure. Meanwhile Trump is playing his fiddle while the Republican establishment burns.
The collusion between his two opponents feeds into the same old song that Trump has been singing for months: that the Republican establishment is trying to rig the primary to keep him out, denying voters their rights in the process. However, it’s really worse than that. Kasich and Cruz aren’t really politically harmonizing at all; it’s a cynical and transparent stunt to retain relevance for fading stars of the Republican Party. Think Madonna kissing Drake, or Madonna kissing Brittney Spears, or Madonna kissing … . You get the point. Stunts didn’t save the Material Girl and they won’t save Cruz and Kasich either. There are already reports out of Indiana that Republican primary voters don’t like the sound of this Kasich/Cruz collabo and are planning to vote Trump out of protest.
Occasionally a team-up will work, like when the mentor and the mentee get together we get Jay Z and Kanye or Joe Biden and Barack Obama. Or perhaps one star teams up with another to rehabilitate their image, like Elton John with Eminem or T.D. Jakes rolling with George W. Bush. But these arrangements only work when they’re authentic, and focused on making the individuals better, not as an attempt to stop someone else.
I don’t think anyone would’ve bought Watch the Throne if they knew it was an attempt to knock Drake off the charts, and Republican voters aren’t going to be compelled buy this Kasich/Cruz gambit to stop Trump either. It is not Trump’s fault that 43 states into the primary and no one is listening to the GOP establishment. Maybe they need to get back in the studio and work on some better campaign tracks that people want to hear before they try to snatch the mic out of Donald Trump’s hands.
This article originally appeared online at The Root.