Donald Trump’s Republican critics sent a clear signal Thursday that have no plans to give up their fight to deny him the nomination in the wake of his overpowering win in the New York primary .
The political arm of the conservative Club for Growth announced plans to spend $1.5 million on television advertising in Indiana ahead of the state’s primary on May 3. The 30-second spot has a fairly simple message: “To stop Trump, vote for Cruz,” the narrator says.
The Indiana ad, entitled “math,” makes the case that “only Ted Cruz can beat Donald Trump,” telling viewers that a vote for Ohio Gov. John Kasich “actually helps Trump by dividing the opposition.” What the spot doesn’t say is that the math doesn’t work that well for Mr. Cruz either: While the Texas senator has far more delegates than Mr. Kasich, he also has no direct shot at clinching the nomination before delegates gather in Cleveland this summer.
Mr. Trump’s victory Tuesday in his home state of New York delivered a much-needed boost toward the front-runner’s efforts to collect the 1,237 delegates required to lock up the nomination before the Cleveland convention. But he still needs strong performances in the remaining contests to have a shot.
Our Principles PAC, another prominent anti-Trump group, issued a memo Thursday making the case for why Mr. Trump won’t get there. In a memo to reporters and other interested parties, the group points out that Mr. Trump needs to win 63% of all of the remaining bound delegates – those required to support a specific candidate – to clear the necessary threshold.
By their logic, Mr. Trump would win all the committed delegates in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey, a large majority of the delegates in Connecticut, Indiana and California and a plurality in five of the remaining states and still not get there. “He still has a nearly impossible path to secure the 1,237 delegates needed to win the nomination on the first ballot,” the group says in its memo.
That, of course, is not the view of the Trump camp. His campaign released a memo of its own on Wednesday arguing he will easily eclipse the number he needs and could come close to securing some 1,400 bound delegates before the Republican National Convention begins in July. And if he doesn’t get there, Mr. Trump has been arguing for weeks that the system is “rigged” to prevent an outsider like him from winning the nomination.
“He is using the process to call attention to what he thinks is an abuse of the political system that should be repaired,” Trump adviser Paul Manafort told the Journalon Thursday.
Mr. Trump’s critics didn’t make the same stand in New York they did in Wisconsin two weeks earlier, but some of the advisers behind the Club for Growth and Our Principles PAC have been eying Indiana and Nebraska for weeks with the goal of denying delegates to the Republican front-runner. That means May 3 (Indiana) and May 10 (Nebraska) have become make-or-break contests for Mr. Trump’s critics.
“Indiana is facing a unique moment in history: the opportunity to stop Donald Trump,” said Club president David McIntosh, a Republican former congressman from the Hoosier State. “There is now no state more important than Indiana for electing Cruz and keeping Trump from reaching 1,237.”