This Backroom Deal With Jeb Bush, Cruz, Rubio, and Kasich Could Stop Trump on Tuesday

Radio host and conservative commentator Erick Erickson has laid out what he thinks are the details of former Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush’s “backroom deal” with Senators [score]Marco Rubio[/score] and [score]Ted Cruz[/score], and Governor John Kasich to stop Trump.

On his website The Resurgent, Erickson writes:

Jeb Bush has a private meeting with Kasich, Cruz, and Rubio.

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Cruz’s campaign, after a lot of bluster about going all in in Florida admits it was all a head fake. They had one event scheduled for today with Sean Hannity in Orlando that was previously scheduled and will be nationally focused, not Florida focused. Then Cruz is bailing on Florida. For the Rubio folks complaining, I’m told the campaign did try to make adjustments, but couldn’t for reasons not in the campaign’s control.

Cruz’s campaign takes down its Florida ads. The Cruz Super PACs follow suit allegedly — at least some of them have signaled they too are getting out.

Marco Rubio revs up his Florida presence and is nowhere to be found in Illinois, Missouri, and North Carolina.

The Cruz campaign redirects all its resources to those three states, with Cruz rallies, ad buys, GOTV etc.

Now Rubio’s spokesman goes on national television and says Rubio supporters should vote for John Kasich in Ohio.

Kasich is going all in in Ohio and ceding Illinois, Missouri, and North Carolina to Cruz. In fact, Kasich suddenly has no events in Illinois, and only one event in Pennsylvania after the Ohio primary.

In other words, Kasich is now only campaigning in Ohio; Rubio is only campaigning in Florida; and Cruz is avoiding events in Florida and Ohio.

There is clearly a plan to stop Trump.

Now National Review is coming out with an endorsement of Cruz. [Emphasis mine]

We’ll all find out Tuesday if their plan to stop Trump worked.

On Tuesday, March 15th, there are five states voting (as well as the Northern Mariana Islands): Florida with 99 delegates up for grabs; Illinois with 69; Missouri with 52; North Carolina, 72; Ohio, 66; and the Northern Mariana Islands, 9.

Altogether, there are 367 delegates at stake. And per the Republican National Committee’s (RNC) rules, Ohio and Florida are winner-take-all. Illinois and Missouri have the potential to be winner-take-all, but their delegates are awarded based on congressional districts. So, if one of the candidates were to win all congressional districts, regardless of the vote proportions, that candidate would win all the delegates.

Of the five states voting Tuesday, only North Carolina allocates its delegates proportionally.

FiveThirtyEight lays out some possible scenarios for March 15th:

If Trump loses Ohio but still wins Florida and sweeps Illinois and Missouri, he would need to win 50 percent of all other remaining delegates, a slightly higher bar but still very doable — and he would probably still be “on pace” for the nomination according to our delegate targets. But if Trump were to lose both Ohio and Florida, along with, let’s say, half of Illinois’s and Missouri’s districts, he could find himself needing to win 63 percent of remaining delegates to clinch the nomination, a much less plausible goal, considerably raising the odds of a contested convention in Cleveland.

Which of those scenarios is most likely? There haven’t been any polls of Missouri since August, but considering the state’s relatively large share of evangelicals (36 percent of the population), it would seem that Ted Cruz would be Trump’s main threat in the Show-Me State. But, unlike the last three states Cruz has won (Kansas, Maine and Idaho), Missouri has an open primary — the type of contest Trump has dominated thus far. In fact, Illinois and Missouri are among the relatively few states remaining to vote where the rules permit non-Republicans to vote in the party primary.

It makes sense that the remaining three candidates have formed an alliance to stop Trump based on where they each fare the best in an effort to deprive him of as many delegates as possible. It remains to be seen if their plan will work.

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