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Scenarios: How Cruz Could Pull It Out

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH:  I checked the e-mail during the break, and an e-mail says, "Screw the Democrats!  The Republicans aren't finished.  Let's start with the Republicans."  Folks, we're gonna get to everything going on on the Republican side.  Florida is coming up.  I know there's a huge push now to get Rubio and Kasich to drop out now, before Florida and before Ohio, and have everybody unify behind Cruz on the theory that the only way to win this... By the way, this is a fascinating theory and the question then becomes: Can it happen? Is it possible? 

The theory is to get rid of the divided opposition, which Trump benefits from. Get everybody out except Cruz.  Rubio and Kasich aren't gonna win anything.  It isn't possible.  There's no gold star for winning your state, not in this context. There's too much at stake.  Rubio and Kasich get out, everybody unify behind Cruz, and maybe even have Cruz select a potential running mate.  And then that unifies the anti-Trump vote on the Republican side, which many people think is greater than the Trump support on the Republican side, which tops out at 35, 40%. 

The question then becomes "Is there enough time left?"  Because what... If you do that, if that's what they ultimately decide to do -- and I think the strategy makes sense.  There's two theories.  Let's stick with this one.  Kasich, Rubio resign from the campaign today, resign before next Tuesday, announce unification of the party behind Cruz.  What then has to happen, folks, if this is gonna have any prayer... Because you can't do this unless you think... If you're the Cruz camp, you can't do this unless you think you can show up at the convention with 1,237 delegates. 

You can't show up a close second.  You can't show up with Trump, say, 50 votes short, 75 votes short and expect a contested convention where you can win.  You have to go all out.  That has to be the thinking.  If Trump shows up and he's only 25 or 50 votes short of the 1,237, it'd be crazy. It'd be crazy to deny him the nomination that circumstance. That would be utter chaos.  Cruz knows it.  A lot of people confused here over what Cruz has said. 

When Cruz talked about how silly it would be for the establishment to deny the legitimate winner -- the leader in delegates, the plurality leader in delegates -- the nomination, what Cruz specifically was talking about was, in that scenario, if the establishment would then take that occasion and, say, give the nomination to Romney or give the nomination to Jeb, or give the nomination to somebody who has not contested. Then that would be major error.  That would cause an explosion as a result and the end of the party. 

Cruz was opposed to that. 

Cruz did not say, and he's made it clear now... Cruz was not saying that if you have a contested convention and somebody other than the leader gets the nomination, that would be fine if it's a candidate that meets all the other rule requirements and has been in the race all this time and has had a lot of support.  His only point, Cruz's only point was: Do not blow up the convention. Do not deny the leader -- he was talking about Trump -- and replace him with an establishment pick.  That would be disaster.  Okay? 

So, if you buy into this theory that there's still time for Cruz to get 1,237, to essentially beat Trump by unifying everybody, there's a big part of this that also has to get behind Cruz.  You know who that is?  That's the good old establishment.  It's not gonna be enough for Rubio and Kasich to get out and pledge their support if you still have a Mitch McConnell-led faction, per se, in the Republican establishment, which hates Cruz for personal reasons and others that will not get behind him and can deny donor support, can deny establishment support, which is gonna be necessary. 

I'm just telling you right now: It's gonna take an entire unity effort.  If the establishment doesn't get on board then it's all finished.  And how do you get them on board?  Are you gonna go get Lindsey Grahamnesty?  Lindsey Grahamnesty has floated a possibility.  Lindsey Grahamnesty either earlier this week, or late last week, or maybe over the weekend, said, "It may be time to consider all of us unifying behind Cruz."  And, remember, a lot of people stopped dead in their tracks over that, 'cause the conventional wisdom is that Cruz is hated by the establishment even more than Trump is.

'Cause they view Cruz as intractable. 

Cruz won't make deals with 'em.  Cruz will not be flexible.  He is who he is and he's gonna remain who he is, and they know that.  Now, I believe what Lindsey Grahamnesty was doing... I don't think Lindsey Grahamnesty was making a pitch to the establishment there.  When Lindsey Grahamnesty said it may be time to start thinking about unifying behind Trump, he was not talking to Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan and whoever the big donors are.  He was sending a message to Cruz.  The message to Cruz was, "Hey, bud, come back to us, and we can talk." 

Now, what does that mean? 

Would that mean that Cruz has to, I don't know, apologize to members of the establishment that he has attacked, like McConnell?  Well, I don't know. But I'm just telling you: If you are of this school of thought which says, "Kasich, Rubio, get out; everybody unify behind Cruz," "everybody" means everybody. You gotta do something to get the establishment that doesn't like the guy on his side and treating him as though Jeb Bush got the nomination. All the money, all the donors, all of the ground support, all of that that the party can bring to it.

That would have to happen.  The other theory involves Kasich.  Rubio is... Essentially, if he doesn't get out after Florida -- and if he doesn't win it, he will be out.  But Kasich. The latest Fox News poll, Kasich is, what, down five or six points to Trump in Ohio?  Six points.  So the other theory involves Kasich staying in for as long as he can.  The other theory, essentially, you know what it is?  It's an Operation Chaos for Kasich.  Keep Kasich in, have Kasich win Ohio, deny Trump those delegates.

Have Kasich and Cruz stay in and continue to deny Trump the delegates. Keep him short of 1,237, and then at some point down the line come together, as we're talking about in the first theory, and then seek the 1,237.  Now, the Cruz camp... I don't know this. The Cruz camp, for that second theory. Keep Kasich in it as long as you can, maybe even do an Operation Chaos-type thing so that Kasich wins Ohio, deny Trump delegates, deny him getting 1,237. If the Cruz camp believes that they can eventually prevail in a contested convention where Trump has a plurality, and neither of them have the minimum requirement, 1,237...

If the Cruz camp... I don't know. I'm speculating here. If the Cruz camp believes that neither Trump nor Cruz can get to 1,237, and therefore it's a contested convention, in the Cruz camp there may be elements there that think they could win that contested convention on the theory that when you get to the second ballot, all bets are off.  That theory that may be popularly held within the Cruz campaign relies on this: That all of the delegates that are pledged to Trump and Cruz in the first ballot... Let me use Florida as an example. 

Let's say Trump wins Florida, winner-take-all, 99 delegates.  On the first ballot, all 99... The delegates are elected by the state. It's a big honor. On the first ballot, they have to vote the way of the popular vote in the state.  So on the first ballot, Trump would get the 99 delegates from Florida.  But, if there's no winner -- and in this scenario there isn't because nobody's got 1,237.  So if there's no winner, the Cruz theory is that some of those 99 that had to vote for Trump on the first ballot are really not Trump supporters and would vote for Cruz, or could be persuaded to vote for Cruz on the second ballot, third ballot, what have you. 

Now, speaking just for myself, I don't think that theory has much of a chance.

I think, if Cruz is to win the nomination, he's got to do it in the primaries.  He's got to go to Cleveland with 1,237, and I think they think they can do it.  I think they think there's a pathway there. But it involves Kasich and Rubio getting out now and somehow the establishment unifying behind Cruz, happily, cheerfully, with no animosity, no disappointment. I mean, they've gotta be all-in that Cruz is the guy. 

They think there's a pathway to the nomination.

But those are the two theories that survive here in the world of how to defeat Trump. 

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH:  No, no.  Was not an error.  I didn't get it wrong.  I misspoke.  It was Kasich up five.  I said Trump was up five over Kasich in Ohio.  It's Kasich up five over Trump in Ohio.  And, given that, this theory that requires Kasich and Rubio to get out now, you're gonna have a really tough time getting Kasich to pull out of there.  So it looks like theory or scenario two is what the Cruz campaign is gonna have to glom onto here, and that is Kasich staying in and trying to take delegates away from Trump at every state along with Cruz, to deny the 1,237. 

Now, here's another thing to think about, folks.  And don't think that I did not consider this.  In theory number one, scenario number one, where Rubio and Kasich get out and the establishment and everybody unifies behind Cruz, the establishment has not changed.  They do not all of a sudden like conservatives.  So any scenario that involves the establishment getting full bore behind Cruz, you have to ask:

"How serious is it?  How deep is it?"  Folks, everybody's under the illusion... Not illusion. Everybody's under the impression the Republicans want to win the White House.  Remember, there are elected Republicans telling Bret Baier they will vote for Hillary over Trump -- and some of them, no doubt, ditto instead of Ted Cruz, who is just as reprehensible to 'em for different reasons.  

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: This is Patty, Columbus, Ohio.  Great to have you on the EIB Network.  Are you a Kasich supporter?

CALLER:  No.

RUSH:  Oh, you're not?

CALLER:  I think he's a great governor, but I think him and Rubio both are being very selfish.  He's been a really great governor for Ohio, but there's no way that he can win the nomination, the same way with Rubio. And I just think they're being selfish to the people and to the party by staying in and causing the chaos at the end.  I heard you in the beginning of your show explaining a lot of things to me in the beginning. I understand that.  I just think they're being very selfish to the people and the party and trying to cause chaos at the end.

RUSH:  So you think Kasich and Rubio should get out.  What is that...? You're a Cruz, obviously, supporter, or you're Trump?

CALLER:  Well, I'm a Cruz supporter.  If Kasich would have done well in the beginning and had a chance, I would be backing Kasich.  But I think Cruz has a very good chance if they would just get out and not cause chaos for the people or the party.

RUSH:  Well, but Kasich is leading in Ohio.  He's up by five right now, and there is a feather to be had here for your cap.  I mean, winning your home state in a presidential campaign, you have to do that.  It will be a resume enhancement for him for whatever else he wants to do later in politics.  So it's kind of hard to expect Kasich to get out of this when he's leading in Ohio.  I know your point is he doesn't have a prayer of winning the nomination, right?

CALLER:  Right.

RUSH:  So he's being selfish by just hoarding that one state's delegates because what's it gonna matter in the presidential race.  But, you know, there is a scenario.  You --

CALLER:  Like with Hillary and Bernie Sanders. Hillary was winning by 21% going in, and she lost in Michigan.

RUSH:  Yeah.  That's true.  That was one of the biggest polling errors since 1984.  But just because it happened once doesn't mean it's gonna happen again.  But there's a scenario here that involves Cruz with Kasich staying in.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH:   Now, Governor Kasich.  Governor Kasich is obviously angling for more than just winning Ohio.  I think that his dream is to become postmaster general in a future administration, even though postmaster general is not really a cabinet-level position any longer.  There's family history there that might be relevant.  Some think that Governor Kasich is attempting to secure the vice presidential nod from Donald Trump, maybe Ted Cruz.  But in addition to Ohio, Governor Kasich says that he can win the Rust Belt, and he thinks that he can do well in places like California, New York, New Jersey. 

That's what he says.  Now, all of this in the context of him getting out, and he would tell you, "Don't compare me to Rubio.  Rubio hasn't won anything.  Rubio... Well, won one. Minnesota.  But Rubio's trending nowhere, and I still have a legitimate chance here, and I'm a working governor, and I have these accomplishments, and I know how to get people working together," and all these other aspects.  In those two scenarios that I described, the second scenario that the Cruz people have... Look, I don't know this for certain.  I'm just assuming that if...

There are only two ways this can happen.  There are only two ways that Cruz can get there.  And one way, as I said, was for everybody to get out, Kasich, Rubio to get out now, before Florida and before Ohio. Well, maybe afterwards. But, no, the key here is they have to get out, and everybody has to unify behind Cruz, and that would include the establishment.  And I think, just to repeat the thing, Lindsey Graham has opened a door.  But remember how he did it. 

What Lindsey Graham said was, "We may be getting to the point where getting behind Ted Cruz looks doable or attractive or what have you." But he was not sending that message to other members of the establishment.  He was saying that for Cruz's benefit.  What he was saying was, "Senator Cruz, there's an opening here to get us back on your side, but you're gonna have to do some things for that to happen.  'Cause there's still a lot of animosity for you." 

All of this is unstated, but I just don't see Lindsey Graham stepping outside the establishment and going rogue and aligning himself with Cruz yet.  That's not what he was doing.  He was essentially saying, "Senator Cruz, there's a chance here to mend fences.  There's a chance here to bury some of these wounds, but that's gonna be up to you."  Now, who knows what that would be?  Mitch McConnell's nose is supposedly still out of joint over what Cruz did to him on the floor of the Senate, calling him a liar about any number of things. 

So that would have to be patched up.  And I'm telling you Cruz people, if you go that way, you have got to go for the whole thing. You've got to go for 1,237.  That scenario, with Kasich and Rubio getting out, you cannot show up in second at the convention with neither you nor Trump having 1,237.  You can't show up in second place.  You have got to go all the way under this scenario.  That means you've got to win 1,237.  It means you've got to beat Trump the rest of the way.  And getting Rubio and Kasich out, the theory being that all of that Republican opposition to Trump will unify behind you. 

You better rework your math or look at your math because you can't go in there in second place with neither you nor Trump having the required number of delegates.  If Trump goes in there in first place and is only 50 or 60 delegates short, he's going to get the nod.  They're not gonna throw it open. That would cause chaos. I know that Senator Cruz has said that no, that wouldn't be chaos.  What would be chaos is if they throw a situation like that wide open and the establishment uses it to give it to Romney or some such thing. 

The other scenario involves keeping Kasich in.  Rubio is gonna drop out at some point.  The other scenario is to keep Kasich in for as long as he can stay in and hope that he wins some and denies Trump the 1,237, and you go in there and the convention is thus contested, and you win it on the second or third ballot by then unifying everybody behind you.  That... I don't know which of these two scenarios is the better of the two. The Cruz campaign obviously has a preferred scenario if they're looking at one of these two. 

What do you folks think?  What do you think is the most...? If you want to beat Trump, if you want Cruz to be the nominee, which take do you think is the best way to go about it?  Getting Kasich and Rubio out and everybody, including the establishment, unifying behind Cruz -- keeping in mind that the establishment is not gonna all of a sudden overnight start loving conservatives, and they're not all of a sudden gonna start actually loving Cruz.  This is all gonna be about stopping Trump. 

It does not mean the establishment is once again welcoming conservatives.  It won't mean that at all.  The other scenario is to keep Kasich in this as long as you can, go to a convention, deny Trump on the first ballot, have it contested, and then all bets are off after that.  Then you have a fun, exciting, unknown outcome at the convention, unlike we've had in a few.  One of those two scenarios has to be what they're working on -- and Cruz being the only nominee from this day forward involving Kasich and Rubio getting out.

You can't show up in second place in that theory, in my way of thinking. 

You've got to beat Trump before you get to Cleveland if you go that route.  

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: John in Mount Clemens, Michigan. It's great to have you with us on the EIB Network today.  Hello, sir.

CALLER:  Hi, Rush.  I've wanted to chime in on your original question back about an hour ago about the strategy that, oh, the establishment Republicans might use to steal the nomination from Donald Trump.  I agree with you there's some strategies, and you were talking about getting behind Cruz. But I think you're underestimating how tone deaf the establishment Republicans are, and let's just talk about congressional establishment Republicans -- and I always think of Mitch McConnell as the face of the establishment Republicans when I think of establishment. 

That would be the smart strategy if they're gonna try to do what you're talking about.

But they are so tone deaf in the conservative movement that I think Kasich is their guy.  I think we're gonna wait for Ohio, wait for the governor to win Ohio, and then somehow do what you're talking about and ride it into Cleveland.  That's what I think they're going to do.  They are so tone deaf.  The last three times conservatives have handed them Congress, whether it's '82 and taking Senate with Reagan, whether it was in the future and the Contract with America, or the Tea Party and pushing back at Obama, would you agree with me that it's always been energized conservatives who have given them either the Senate, the House, or both? 

RUSH: Oh, yeah.

CALLER: Would you agree with me on that?

RUSH:  Oh, yeah, no question about that.

CALLER:  And then they turn around... They're almost like some kid who takes over a business from hardworking moms and dads and then run it into the ground by disrespecting the customer base, not doing what they're supposed to do, just being boorish.  That's what these people remind me of.  And they're on the verge of doing that again.  Now, that was the point, to answer -- agreeing with your strategy, which I do.  I just think that they are so tone deaf that they think Kasich is the guy and they're waiting for Ohio.  Now, can I tell you why that logic solidified my support for Donald Trump?  Can I do that, or not?

RUSH:  Yeah, you do that, but I've lost you.  You need to go back to the very beginning of your call to find out what you're actually talking about here.  Because I think I want to dispute what you said about Kasich. But go ahead and make your point about Trump.

CALLER:  My point about Trump is, listen, we call... Uh, you're saying about low-information voter and RINO Republicans and all the other monikers we put on people.  About six months ago when I was thinking I was losing my mind because I was starting to support Trump, you said something on your show about conservatives like us and the concern we have on certain issues. And let's use abortion as the leading issue of that, his position or his changing position. And you said something about six or seven months ago, which is this: 

Republican Congresses come and go, Senate and House.  What's really changed?  What have they accomplished?  They say things that we want to hear, but what have they changed?  What's changed about Planned Parenthood since we find out that they're doing organ and tissue harvesting?  What has changed?  Go by the nearest Planned Parenthood and see if there's a sign out front saying "Defunded by a Republican Congress."  You ain't gonna find it.  So if Donald Trump has mixed messages over 30 years on abortion and Planned Parenthood, what is the difference gonna be? 

But I do know what what he says on immigration, on illegal immigration; what he says on how's he going to fight ISIS and unleash the American military -- which I agree with -- making free trade really free and fair trade, all these things I can he can accomplish.  What I want to call these conservatives who put these other issues in an area when nothing is being done by the Republican House and Senate. They're think tank Republicans.  They're living in a think tank.  Of course I would want him to be consistent with everything else I think is conservative, but with those... Look at the budget! We've got a fiscal conservative --

RUSH:  Wait, wait.  Okay, hold it.  I know what you're saying.  You're using my own words, but you're making a connection that doesn't exist.

CALLER:  Well, that's --

RUSH:  You are talking about the Republican Congress as though it's all conservative and that they're all phonies and that they never get done what they say they're gonna get done -- and that's not right.  The conservatives are a minority in the House and they are a bigger minority in the Senate.

CALLER:  But they're going to remain that way, and the people who lead the Senate and lead the House who block these things we want, if Trump is president... Again, it comes back to this same pragmatic issue.  I agree with you.  There are people in that Congress who would love to see what we want to see done as conservatives, but it doesn't get done.  So with Trump coming in --

RUSH:  I know this was...

CALLER: -- change.

RUSH: I take... I said this back in November when people were trying to understand --

CALLER:  Yes.

RUSH:  -- why Trump was supported.  I was saying, "Because people supporting Trump have given to think tanks, they've given to conservatism, and they're asking, 'Where's the conservatism?'"

CALLER:  Yes.

RUSH:  So we're on the same page here.  And you think, after all these years of promises and good intentions, there isn't results. Planned Parenthood's still fully funded. There is no push-back on Obamacare. I know the drill.  And you think Trump means it, and he's got the power to do it, and you want to invest in it, and I'm not gonna try to talk you out of that.  But I --

CALLER:  And I think the... I think the big issues -- the big issue that he talks about, pushing back against terrorism and calling it what it is, and immigration, those are the things I think he can accomplish and I think he can do.

RUSH:  Well, those are the things you have faith he's gonna accomplish, and I'm --

CALLER:  Yes.

RUSH:  -- not gonna try to talk you out of it.  I know he's saying the right things that none of the others say.  He's --

CALLER:  Well, he said it when it wasn't popular! See, that's the difference. He didn't say it when it was popular. He said it when it was not popular. He was called everything -- and still is -- from a fascist to a Nazi.  So, you know, you don't say things that are unpopular unless it's your plan to try to do them.

RUSH:  Right.  Okay.  That's still... I don't have any dispute with that.  I mean, that's of course where Trump's where he is.  He's taking on these sacred cows, and he's giving people confidence that he means it and can do it simply by the force of his will, the force of his personality.  But I want to go back your theory. You were talking so fast, I wasn't able to keep up.  Do you think that the Republicans...? I know you don't want them to win; you're for Trump. But do you think...? Are you saying the conservatives' best chance is to rally around Kasich?

CALLER:  No.  No.  I think you were right.  I think the best chance is to rally around Cruz.  What I'm saying is the people who would broker such a deal and use that strategy are so tone deaf and so stupid, that I think they would do what you're saying. But they would choose Kasich as their water boy.

RUSH:  Oh, oh, oh! I see. I see what you're saying.  You're saying that they will choose the wrong horse. Well, yeah, 'cause they dislike Cruz even more than they do Trump, really, and because there's no doubt Cruz is a conservative, and that scares them as much as Trump does, but in different ways.  But I was... My theory is that Kasich doesn't have a prayer, and you're saying they're so stupid that they would ignore that and still get behind him.  Okay.  I understand that.  I can see why you would think that.  But I think that if there's any of that going on, they're gonna unify behind Cruz.

I think, following your train of thought, the biggest pothole in that road is that as soon as they have a chance, they'll sell Cruz out simply because he is conservative.  They can't help themselves.  That's just who they are and so forth.  But Cruz knows this.  He's as forceful as Trump is. He just expresses it in a different way.  He's just as aware of what his obstacles are as Trump is.  Now, he may have a different way of expressing it and a different way of dealing with it.  Trump's is just bull in a china shop. "I don't care! Here's what I'm gonna do and if you're with me, fine; if you're in my way, I'm just gonna run you over! I'm gonna leave you for the trashman."

And people cheer that because they're sick and tired of being lied to, and misled and all that. 
I totally get it.

END TRANSCRIPT

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