The two kids on the Republican block have joined forces to beat the bully, strategizing to keep Trump from reaching the magic delegate number of 1,237.
Cruz will campaign in Indiana where 57 delegates are at stake. Kasich will work Oregon and New Mexico, which weigh in at 65 delegates combined.
In the meantime, Cruz continues sniping at Kasich for having no chance to win the nomination while Kasich fires back that he, not Cruz, is the voice of moderate conservativism, the reasonable choice of a party that used to be moderate and conservative.
What well-oiled teamwork. What an innovative game plan — make an ally, publicly stab that ally in the back, but keep working with that ally for a few more weeks.
Next to these two, Brutus really was an honorable man.
Trump has called his rivals’ behavior desperate. And it is. The Koch Brothers have done one better — they’ve decided to save their money for more insidious causes and sit out this year’s Republican convention.
Cruz and Kasich’s delegate-busting strategy shows, in microcosm, why the Republican Party is in disarray.
Their political maneuverings have been about destruction instead of construction, about stopping instead of creating. Are Cruz and Kasich uniting to take the high road against a low-road candidate?
Are Cruz and Kasich working together to refine their message, to consider the true desires of the majority of Republicans?
Are Cruz and Kasich making a newly-concerted effort to escape their anachronistic take on life, to formulate forward-thinking solutions to various issues?
The answer is No, No and No.
When Barack Obama was elected president, the Republican elite refused to work with their Democratic leader.
Sour grapes is one thing. Jeopardizing a country’s progress is another.
Mitch McConnell and his band may have advertised themselves as patriots, as upholders of America’s values and morals, but the truth is they couldn’t stomach having a black man as president.
They have worked to block everything our president has proposed, from a humane healthcare plan (which they hatefully labeled Obamacare, transforming a public remedy into a personal attack) to our president’s latest Supreme Court nomination.
But now the backlash has begun.
Republican stasis brewed discontent. And discontent became the catalyst to turning a passive mistrust of business-as-usual government to an active anger against non-business-as-usual government.
Trump and Sanders articulated this discontent, and while their positions have come from different sides of the aisle, their messages are similar: the current system is broken, so it’s time to change the system. That’s what separates Sanders from Clinton; that’s what separates Trump from the Republican’s newly-formed tag-team.
Clinton is using the system to attain victory at all costs (and to cover all costs), but her principles are questionable.
Cruz and Kasich have decided to use the system with its built-in intricacies to keep the system intact, but their principles have nothing to do with their unification.
Right now, they’re not even thinking about a brokered convention, where the ideal (as in representing ideals) candidate emerges.
They’re thinking about a broken convention, one that smashes away that single delegate which will put Trump over the top.
Cruz and Kasich are claiming their unified effort is for the country’s good. They’re telling us they’re working to preserve the best that’s America.
But really they’re continuing the Republican ethos that started when Barack Obama became president, when he beat down McCain, then beat down Romney harder.
It’s an ethos of stasis, of stopping, of breaking.
Finally, this ethos is catching up with the party whose symbol is a slow-moving elephant.
Finally the Republican Party is being viewed as an anachronism, as dated as their appointed hero Ronald Reagan.
Listen to Ted Cruz’s reaction to Donald Trump’s modern-day take on the transgender/bathroom issue: “Now let me ask you, have we gone stark raving nuts?”
The real nut is Cruz, who thumps the bible but raves like an ancient man who casts stones by the dozens.
Listen to John Kasich anytime someone questions his motives for staying in the race. He bristles in a way that belies his down-home Ohio façade. His is the arrogance of the comfortable insider.
And don’t just listen, but look.
I’m amazed Donald Trump hasn’t laced into Kasich’s tics — his mouth twitches, his hands jump, and he seems on the verge of a Tourette’s outburst whenever he’s challenged.
Kasich brings nothing new, nothing current to the political table. Maybe that’s why he’s so nervous.
Breaking forward movement. Coalescing to destroy instead of heal. That’s what diseases do.
I don’t think the Republican-born Kasich-Cruz microbe is strong enough to penetrate Trump’s Teflon skin, but if it is, the Republican Party should beware. Diseases spread.
And the Republican Party, which has hosted this disease for too long, will die a static death.
Adam Berlin is the author of "Both Members of the Club" (winner of the Clay Reynolds Novella Prize), "The Number of Missing,” "Belmondo Style" (winner of The Publishing Triangle’s Ferro-Grumley Award), and “Headlock." He teaches writing at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and co-edits "J Journal: New Writing on Justice" (AdamBerlin.com). For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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