Collusion! After weeks of attempts and upsets, the hopes of the anti-Donald Trump wing of the GOP scored a boost Sunday night as Ted Cruz and John Kasich announced their campaigns would coordinate in the coming contests to better allocate their resources to stop Trump. In simultaneous statements, the campaigns announced that Cruz would focus on Indiana’s primary next week, while Kasich would be the preferred candidate in Oregon and New Mexico. But make no mistake, the development is truly about Indiana’s contest, in which the candidate with a plurality in each congressional district and statewide wins delegates—providing a key opportunity to keep delegates away from Trump and slow his path to 1,237. As one might expect, Trump was none to pleased, calling it “desperation” and a sign of weakness. The cooperation—long sought by the Kasich campaign—comes as both Trump rivals are mathematically eliminated from reaching a delegate majority on the first ballot. The Cruz campaign approached Kasich aides on the sidelines of the Republican National Committee last week, ironing out the details in phone calls over the weekend. The news was announced days after Trump’s rout in New York and before an expectedly strong showing by the front-runner in the northeastern primaries in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Connecticut on Tuesday.
Trump’s path to 1,237 is complicated by his poor showing among the dozens of free agents already selected to attend the RNC. Unlike Democrats, who have super-delegates, only about 5% of GOP convention attendees are able to vote for the candidate of their choosing on the first ballot—a critical slice of the delegate electorate who could put Trump over the top if he falls short, or stand united to deny him the nomination. According to a TIME survey, Cruz holds an overwhelming lead among these unbound delegates who have already been selected for the convention. But that universe will double Tuesday, when Pennsylvania elects their congressional district delegates directly on the ballot. Cruz, meanwhile, had a another successful weekend of infiltrating Trump’s delegate haul with supporters loyal to him.
Bernie Sanders isn’t committing to aggressively backing Hillary Clinton after she locks down the Democratic nomination, saying it will depend on her platform. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus fired a shot at the #NeverTrump forces within the GOP, calling them an enemy to party unity that threatens to hand the White House to Hillary Clinton. Clinton’s closing message before this week’s northeast contests is one of “love and kindness” in a new ad. And a Koch Brother for Clinton?
Here are your must-reads:
Ted Cruz and John Kasich Are Uniting To Block Donald Trump
The move fulfills a longstanding wish of anti-Trump forces within the GOP [TIME]
Donald Trump Losing Unbound Delegate Race to Ted Cruz
TIME survey finds the front-runner in trouble among convention free-agents
Why Donald Trump Thinks He Shouldn’t Have to Testify in University Lawsuit
TIME’s Philip Elliott on Trump’s novel legal argument
The Problem With Bernie Sanders’ Polling Argument
General election polls have little meaning this far out, TIME’s Sam Frizell explains
Ted Cruz Outflanks Donald Trump in Weekend Delegate Battle
Senator’s supporters secure delegate slots in Maine and Utah [Wall Street Journal]
Bernie Sanders and Allies Aim to Shape Democrats’ Agenda After Primaries
His White House chances fading, Sanders plans for a lasting impact [New York Times]
“Well, that is totally dependent on what the Clinton platform is and how she responds to the needs of millions of Americans who are sick and tired of establishment politics and establishment economics.” — Bernie Sanders on whether he would work to support Hillary Clinton if she secures the Democratic nomination
“We were talking about evolving the campaign, not the candidate.” — Trump convention manager Paul Manafort on his comments suggesting Trump would evolve as a candidate
Bits and Bites
In This Snapchat Campaign, Election News Is Big and Then It’s Gone [New York Times]
White House Poised to Release Secret Pages From 9/11 Inquiry [Associated Press]
Campaign’s Populist Tone Rankles America’s CEOs [Wall Street Journal]