2. The reason struggling candidates typically drop out is that it’s best for the party. It allows support to coalesce behind a winner. In exchange for a timely exit, party leaders promise some chit or future support. With Cruz, they won’t. “They ain’t promising him sh–!” says Michael Steele, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee. “Trust me on that one.” Exactly. And since the party loathes Cruz, and vice versa, the ordinary incentives don’t apply.
3. Since there’s no reason to get out, Cruz will stay in. “The only danger for Trump in this race is an ideological fight against Cruz in a two-man race,” says Schmidt. Though it seems unlikely at this late date, Trump could finally implode. “Politics is a funny biz,” says Stuart Stevens, who managed Mitt Romney’s campaign in 2012. “You’re running against an unstable, unvetted, almost child-like figure in Donald Trump.”
4. If Cruz, Trump, and Rubio all stay in, the likely outcome is a brokered convention. “Cruz will be an important power broker in the party,” says Schmidt. He probably wouldn’t emerge as the nominee—although in this crazy cycle, who knows?—but he could trade his delegates for some conservative policy pledge (say, input on Supreme Court nominees), along with the promise of a primetime speaking slot at the convention.