David Herdson on the US race
The next rounds take place this weekend with four states electing delegates for the Republicans (Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana and Maine) and four for the Democrats (Kansas,Louisiana,Maine and Nebraska). Much has been made of the apparent desire of the GOP establishment to stop Trump. Donâ€™t expect it to come to anything.
The fact that there are two competing and opposing strategies to stop the Donald should reveal that both are inherently weak. The first strategy, which weâ€™ll call the â€˜favoured sonâ€™ route, is for Cruz, Rubio and Kasich to all remain in the fight and target the states where theyâ€™re strongest (presumably with some tacit agreement to go easy where theyâ€™re not), hoping that between them they can deny Trump the delegates to win outright; the other, the â€˜head-to-headâ€™ is for two of Trumpâ€™s challengers to drop out, so enabling the third to close Trumpâ€™s huge lead.
The problem with the â€˜favoured sonâ€™ approach is that even if Trump were denied an overall majority, heâ€™d still have a massive lead at the convention and an establishment stitch-up there would be an almighty two-fingered salute to the voters in the primaries, as well as risking Trump running as an independent. On the other hand, if the anti-Trump field is to consolidate then it has to happen now â€“ but Cruz, Rubio and Kasich all have good reason to keep going until at least March 15, after which the time for game-playing may well be over. And thereâ€™s no guarantee that, for example, Kasichâ€™s supporters would consolidate around Cruz anyway.
The only way the establishment can defeat Trump is head on. Trying to fix delegate allocations wonâ€™t work; taking him down from his 40%+ support is the only thing that will. As long as he has that vote share in a 3+ field, heâ€™ll win the nomination.