Will Kasich make it harder to defeat Trump?

Some Republican strategists agree that Kasich’s presence in the race could help slow Trump’s momentum in the Northeast. If the Kasich and Cruz campaigns worked strategically to deny Trump delegates that could also help the anti-Trump movement. For now, however, it’s difficult to envision that kind of coordination taking place. “Asking politicians to put their ego aside for the good of the party is a lot like asking a thief not to steal,” said Ford O’Connell, a Republican strategist who worked on John McCain’s presidential campaign…

For his part, Cruz has taken up the argument that Kasich is making it harder to stop Trump. “Right now Kasich’s role is really being a spoiler. Kasich benefits Donald Trump,” Cruz told CNN earlier this week. “What Kasich can do is pull enough votes away to let Trump win.” Trump, meanwhile, also wants fewer candidates in the race. “While I believe I will clinch before Cleveland and get more than 1237 delegates, it is unfair in that there have been so many in the race!,” he tweeted on Wednesday.

It’s difficult to say exactly what would happen in a two-person matchup between Cruz and Trump since it is hard to predict which candidate Kasich’s supporters would gravitate to. A two-person race might allow the anti-Trump vote to consolidate and overtake Trump, or Kasich supporters might defect to Trump in large numbers. In the meantime, if anti-Trump Republicans can’t agree on how to respond to Kasich’s decision to stay in the race, it will be more difficult for the Never Trump movement to mount an effective campaign. If nothing else, Kasich could be a convenient target in the inevitable scramble to assign blame if the anti-Trump forces ultimately fail to take their adversary down.