Presidential hopeful Senator Marco Rubio is encouraging his own Ohio supporters to vote for Governor John Kasich, in an attempt to deny delegates to Donald Trump. This very unusual move was apparently not coordinated with the Kasich campaign.
At this point, Rubio has no chance in Ohio, however the race is very tight between Donald Trump and Kasich in Kasich’s home state.
Alex Conant, spokesman for the Rubio campaign said, “I’m just stating the obvious. If you are a Republican primary voter in Ohio and you want to defeat Donald Trump, your best chance in Ohio is John Kasich, because John Kasich is the sitting governor. He is very close to Donald Trump in some of the polls.”
He also suggested that Cruz and Kasich may want to support Rubio in Florida for the same reason. Rumors abound that a deal was made, to support Rubio in Florida, Kasich in Ohio and for Cruz to stay out of both.
We speculated earlier this week that if the polls go true to form and Trump wins all states on Tuesday, it would be an easy lift to get the rest of delegates needed to clinch the nomination. If Kasich wins over Trump in Ohio – a distinct possibility – Trump can still get enough delegates to win the nomination outright. If Rubio wins Florida (highly unlikely according to the polls), Trump will likely not get the delegates he needs, and the nomination will be decided at the Republican convention next July.
Trump will still likely have the most delegates come convention time. The battle is for second place.
Author’s Speculation: Why the maneuvering and posturing by Rubio and Kasich when it is clear they have no chance to win the nomination? This is a time-honored political strategy that conforms exactly to classic game theory equations. It’ about self-interest – each candidate is saying “What is best for me?”
If Rubio stays in the race, even if he is only supporting others, he continues to build his own brand, and maintains his constituency. It doesn’ matter that it may be better for the other candidates if he simply left the race. As long as his influence matters he may be able to make a deal to improve his political career.
The same with Kasich, his governorship will eventually come to an end, by extending his run he should be able to bargain for a place in the administration (especially if he wins Ohio). He will be a valuable addition to either a Cruz or Trump, since Ohio has always been a key state in the general election.
At this point Rubio and Kasich are supporting Cruz. If Cruz wins, he owes them. If it looks like Trump is winning, they can make a deal to withdraw gracefully.