A few days ago, Jeb Bush reportedly met with Ted Cruz, John Kasich and Marco Rubio in Miami. Why would three of the final four Republican candidates agree to a summit with the campaign’s giant-ass loser? Well, Erick Erickson has a pretty good theory:
So to review:— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) March 11, 2016
(1) Bush has meeting with Rubio, Cruz, Kasich.
(2) Cruz gets out of FL.
(3) Rubio says go Kasich in OH.
(4) Cruz in NC, MO, IL
If the theory is that the Republican party needs—and wants—to do anything possible to keep Donald Trump from amassing enough delegates to secure the nomination so it can then steal it from him at the convention, the three other candidates maneuvering behind the scenes so that they can all plausibly stay in the race would actually make sense.
And this conspiracy is at least based in some sort of reality. Erickson appears to be referencing this CNN report stating that Cruz super PACs are divesting money from Florida and pouring it into other states, and Rubio campaign manager Alex Conant did say today that Republicans in Ohio should go ahead and vote for Kasich if they want to keep Trump from getting the nomination.
If Erickson is right, then all parties involved are at least keeping up the charade. In Cruz’s closing statement at last night’s debate in Miami, he urged the Republican party and its voters to coalesce around him. The Kasich response to Conant urging Republicans to vote against his own boss was a squarely-landed jab:
Kasich spox Rob Nichols on Rubio news: "We were going to win in OH without his help, just as he's going to lose in FL w/o ours"— Kathleen Ronayne (@kronayne) March 11, 2016
And yet it’s still very fun to think about the remaining candidates, with Jeb Bush as their leader, acting in concert to deny Donald Trump a fairly won election. Trump is essentially a wrestling heel-as-presidential candidate anyway, so it’s not that hard to believe that his opponents have conspired to seize his championship belt in the most dramatic way possible.