The agreement between Republican candidates Ted Cruz and John Kasich to cede states to each other is an apparent act of desperation by two losing candidates. The public reaction to the connivance was quick: A majority of potential Republican don’t like it. In the general sense, a political contest is an event that each participant is expected to win on his or her merit– the candidates are not running as a team. Because of the quick fallout of public opinion shortly after the “deal” was announced, Kasich and Cruz started backpedaling: Kasich said he was not telling his supporters in Indiana not to vote for him. Indeed, they “ought to vote for me”. Cruz’s campaign spokespeople made similar comments.
Trump is coming off from a recent delegate sweep in New York and favored to win all of the East Coast states tomorrow. Cruz and Kasich are taking this united stand (at least in theory) to stop Trump’s momentum in Indiana where Trump is leading. The thinking is that Kasich’s supporters will turn to Cruz making the race tighter between Trump and Cruz.
Trump has called the deal an act of collusion– “in business, you go to jail for that” and this proves what a dirty business politics is. Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge said the deal “plays into Trump’s narrative that the system is rigged.” We would add, now that the public is finally able to see how political sausage is made, they may lose their taste for it.
Gov. Mike Huckabee appeared on Fox News and said: “it looks like they are more interested in stopping Trump then they are stopping Hillary.” He noted that it had only been days since Cruz was telling Kasich to get out of the race. All of this plays into Trump’s hand because he can say that two established Republicans are working against him.
We agree that the deal between Cruz and Kasich smacks of collusion. And although the pact is likely to backfire on them, it bolsters Trump’s claim that backroom deals, in smoke-filled parlors, are no longer the politics of the day. People expect politicians to either win or lose their elections on their strength. We think that once again, Kasich has demonstrated that he is a man of hidden questionable character. Cruz is no better. The voters should reject this dubious ploy.