Ted Cruz and Donald Trump are two candidates who always seem at odds, but it appears that they have found common ground, at least on one issue: John Kasich should leave the GOP race. This is an aggressive strategy, which suggests that the two leading GOP candidates are hoping for a contested convention in July.
While Trump and Cruz are often at odds about political policy and have even made what seem like personal attacks against each other, this quasi-alliance to kick Kasich off the ballot would be of benefit to both candidates.
At this point, Kasich has no mathematical chance of reaching the 1,237 necessary delegates to secure the GOP nomination. Currently, Kasich only has 143 pledged delegates, even fewer than Marco Rubio who has already dropped out of the race.
"I expect the Rules Committee to require a level of support that would leave only two candidates on the ballot at the convention," a senior Cruz Campaign aide reported. Trump even told a supporter, "Kasich shouldn't be allowed to continue and the RNC shouldn't allow him to continue." Currently, according to rule 40(b) of the Republican National Committee (RNC), any candidate seeking nomination must have won the majority of delegates in at least eight states. Trump has already passed that requirement and the Cruz campaign expects it will reach that point by the time of the Republican National Convention. Kasich, on the other hand, has only one the majority of delegate in one state: his home state of Ohio.
The highly controversial Rule 40(b) was put into place in 2012 as a way to keep delegates pledged to former Texas Rep. Ron Paul from trying to contest Mitt Romney’s nomination. Before this rule was put into place, the requirement was five states.
The RNC Rules committee will meet a week before the convention, as it does during every election, to look over and modify convention rules. The modifications will have to be approved by convention delegates before becoming official. Whether or not to revise Rule 40(b) will be decided later this month at the RNC’s spring meeting.
"There's been a lot of people who felt like that should have been changed over the last couple of years," RNC rules committee member Henry Barbour said, "But there's some political problems with changing it from eight to five at this point… Those rules were written to benefit a front-runner and Donald Trump is a front-runner."
Kasich’s campaign has thus far dismissed the push to drop out of the race, arguing that Kasich is the strongest match-up against Hillary Clinton. Kasich hopes that this argument will resonate with the delegates.
"Donald Trump said that I need to get out of the race because I'm getting his voters," Kasich said while campaigning in New York, "I've got news for him. I'm going to get a heck of a lot of his voters, OK?"