The plan is for Kasich to refrain from competing in Indiana, a winner-take-most contest on May 3 that represents one of the best opportunities to stop Donald Trump from reaching the threshold of 1,237 delegates needed to claim the nomination outright. Kasich’s absence should theoretically help Cruz close the gap on Trump. In return, Cruz won’t compete in Oregon and New Mexico, giving Kasich the run of the field in those states.
Trump has already criticized the Kruz-Kasich tag team as the latest evidence that the primary is “totally rigged” against him. If this harebrained scheme does work, it may end up delegitimizing the entire contest in the eyes of Trump’s supporters, which means there will be hell to pay at the June convention in Cleveland. But can it actually work? It’s not like Kasich’s name will disappear from the ballot in Indiana. Kasich has not instructed his supporters to explicitly vote for Cruz, at least not yet. In fact, one of Kasich’s central appeals, perhaps his only appeal, is that he is neither Trump nor Cruz. Why should his supporters play along?