With only 145 delegates of the 1,237 needed to win the Republican nomination, and less than 1,000 delegates yet to be determined, it is mathematically impossible for John Kasich to win the nomination before the July 18 Republican National Convention. If you support Kasich, your only path to the nomination includes keeping both Donald Trump and Ted Cruz from reaching the 1,237 delegate threshold in order to force a contested convention.
With 683 delegates, Trump is by the far the largest threat to a Kasich nomination. Even if Kasich were to win the contests in Ohio’s neighbors (Indiana, West Virginia and Pennsylvania), there is still a good chance that Trump will accumulate enough delegates to wrap up the nomination before the convention. This is primarily due to the winner-take-all nature of many of the upcoming primaries, including Arizona.
All of Arizona’s 58 delegates will be awarded to the candidate with the most votes in this coming Tuesday’s primary. The latest RCP average of polls in Arizona show Kasich at 12.5% with no real chance of winning. However, Cruz is at 21% and is within striking distance of Trump at 34%. These polls were taken before the March 15 drop out of Rubio, so there is a good chance Cruz is much closer to Trump.
So the question for you, as someone who lives in Arizona and wants Kasich to be president is, “Who do I vote for to best advance Kasich’s chances of winning the Republican nomination?”
Since Kasich has no realistic chance of winning Arizona, the best possible outcome as a result of voting for him would a better-than-expected showing. Such a showing would push the storyline that Kasich is surging, which would hopefully set him up for a better night two weeks later in Wisconsin. However, if this were accompanied by a Trump win in Arizona, any attention paid to Kasich’s performance would be drowned out by the stories of the inevitability of a Trump nomination. It is doubtful that there would be any positive effect from a better-than-expected showing by the time the Wisconsin primary occurs.
But what if you decide to vote for Cruz and it is enough to push him past Trump to a victory in Arizona? This is the best possible outcome for Kasich. By denying Trump Arizona’s 58 delegates, you would be making his quest to gain 1,237 delegates much harder. Furthermore, if as expected, Cruz wins Utah, it would be the first time since Iowa that states have held primaries and Trump won none.
With Trump losses in Arizona and Utah, and no more contests until two weeks later in Wisconsin, Kasich and Cruz would hammer home the notion that Trump’s momentum has been stopped and a Trump nomination is far from assured.
Kasich will never ask you to vote for someone else, it’s just not in his DNA, but his actions speak louder than words. As of this writing, a look at his upcoming events at www.johnkasich.com/events/ shows events in Utah and Wisconsin with nothing in Arizona. As an Arizona voter, he may not ask you to vote for Cruz, but he isn’t actively asking for your vote either.
In the end, to support Kasich, the answer to the question, “Who do I vote for?” is Ted Cruz. For Kasich to have a chance at a contested convention, Trump momentum must be stopped. The best chance to stop that momentum is a Trump loss in Arizona. The only way to secure a Trump loss in Arizona is to vote for Cruz. So if you want John Kasich to be president, your best option is to vote for Ted Cruz.