Election 2020

Mitt Romney on Facebook: I'm Voting for Ted Cruz

On Friday, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney announced he intends to vote for Ted Cruz in the Utah caucus this coming Tuesday. Romney described the nomination race as a battle between “Trumpism” and “Republicanism,” and even went so far as to categorize a vote for John Kasich as a vote for Trump.

Here’s his post on Facebook:

This week, in the Utah nominating caucus, I will vote for Senator Ted Cruz. Today, there is a contest between Trumpism…

Posted by Mitt Romney on Friday, March 18, 2016

Romney explicitly endorsed the idea of a contested convention, or an “open convention,” as he called it. He argued that “the only way we can reach an open convention is for Senator Cruz to be successful in as many of the remaining nominating elections as possible.” For this reason, he will vote for Cruz, even though he likes John Kasich. He said that others should not vote for Kasich, because such a vote “makes it extremely likely that Trumpism would prevail.”

Such a blatant declaration of support for a contested convention, rather than for a candidate, solidifies much of the distrust of the party base for the Republican establishment. Many voters — for and against Trump — feel disenfranchised by talk of a contested convention, fearing that their votes will not matter and that the party bosses would then foist upon them a candidate nobody has even voted for this cycle, like Romney or House Speaker Paul Ryan, whom former House Speaker John Boehner recently “endorsed.”

Perhaps it is good for Cruz that Romney did not explicitly endorse him, as the connection between the two remains unofficial. Nevertheless, many candidates tied to the “establishment” have endorsed him recently, including quite notably South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham. Cruz thanked the former Massachusetts governor on Twitter.

Trump did not hesitate to attack both Romney and Cruz at once:

Meanwhile, Utah Senator Mike Lee reiterated his official endorsement of Cruz with a short video on Twitter.

Next Page: Utah and Arizona Vote Tuesday. What Should We Expect? The latest Utah poll was from mid-February, and showed Marco Rubio in the lead with 24 percent, Cruz with 22 percent, and Trump with 18 percent. It is a caucus, a style which has generally favored Cruz’s campaign. Arizona, which also votes next Monday, has had two recent polls, and the RealClearPolitics average shows Trump in the lead with 32 percent over Cruz’s 21.5 percent.

Trump has 678 delegates, with Cruz in a distant second with 423 delegates. Trump would need to win 53 percent of the remaining 1,059 to win outright, and he has only won 46 percent of the delegates so far. Cruz may stop Trump from reaching 1,237 on his own, but Kasich’s 143 delegates would come in handy if Trump continues to win 46 percent of delegates, scoring 1,165.

It is still possible for Cruz to win outright, but unlikely, as Cruz would have to win almost 77 percent of the remaining delegates. So Romney’s calculation that a vote for Cruz is a vote for a contested convention may be accurate, as odious as it is for the base to hear.