John Kasich has a plan for winning the Presidency: he hopes to make his case at the convention that he is the best candidate to take on Hillary, and get the nomination in the event of an unresolvable deadlock between Cruz and Kasich supporters. The main thing standing in the way of that goal? The John Kasich campaign.
People point this out to John Kasich literally all the time. In response, he always says two things, neither of which are true. The first thing he always says is that there’s no chance that anyone gets to the 1,237 delegate threshold. This is demonstrably false. It will become more obviously demonstrably false when Trump has his best day of the campaign on Tuesday and ends up with close to 1,000 delegates, with about 500 delegates left to go.
In other words, all Trump has to do is get half the remaining delegates and he wins. Very easy. If not easy, then definitely doable. Especially with a lot of friendly territory like New Jersey and California on the map.
The second thing that John Kasich says, which is even stupider, is that he is costing Trump delegates, and Ted Cruz ought to be thanking him. You would basically have to have a double-digit IQ to think this is true. The delegate system places an extraordinarily high premium on winning, much more than it does on proportional representation. While Kasich is maybe taking some number of votes away from Donald Trump, he is without a doubt taking a greater number away from Ted Cruz, which means that he is helping Trump win and thus get closer to 1,237.
The state of Indiana provides a perfect example. Most polls show that Trump gets about 40% of the vote in Indiana, with Cruz getting 35% and Kasich getting 15-20%. Indiana allocates their delegate winner-take-all by state (27 delegates) and winner take all by congressional district (another 27). John Kasich has absolutely no chance to win either the state or a single congressional district with these numbers. However, if you assume that his supporters would break at least 60-40 for Cruz, then his presence in the race is directly giving Donald Trump at least 27 statewide delegates, plus probably the lion’s share of the delegates by congressional district.
So, if John Kasich were not in the race, Trump would probably walk away with 9-12 delegates. With Kasich in the race, Trump might well walk away with 48 delegates and be well on the path to 1,237.
This is all the more true of California, which will likely decide whether Trump gets to 1,237 or not. The polling shows that Kasich himself will not be competitive in California, or really in any Congressional districts, but he very well could play spoiler in a huge number of districts and throw the election to Trump.
But you don’t have to get into all of that to see that John Kasich is not costing Trump delegates. In fact, all the evidence you need can be seen in the fact that Kasich still has fewer delegates than Marco Rubio, who dropped out over a month ago. In fact, after Tuesday, he will still have fewer delegates.
The last potential usefulness John Kasich had in this race as an actual candidate was in New York, where his presence might have theoretically kept Trump under the vital 50% threshold by district. However, he utterly failed in even this mission, and it is now time for him to go home.
If Kasich really wants a shot at a contested convention, he needs to suspend his campaign immediately and ask his supporters to vote for Ted Cruz. Then he can go to the convention and make whatever case he wants. By actually staying on the campaign trail and asking people to vote for him, he’s ensuring that a contested convention won’t happen and he has absolutely no shot. And for that reason, he is the dumbest man in America.