Other leading Republicans in the state have remained silent. Former Gov. Mitch Daniels, who controversially tweaked his own party for its unstinting social conservatism during the last presidential campaign, has been publicly silent on Trump from his perch at Purdue University. As a principled pragmatist, he would have been a powerful voice in convincing John Kasich supporters how important it is to support Cruz—simply as a means of denying Trump the nomination. If Kasich ends up playing spoiler, Daniels’s silence will have spoken volumes.
Behind the scenes, donors are exhausted. Even when the stakes are the highest, many are unwilling to dish out more anti-Trump dough. It’s one reason why the “Stop Trump” groups were mostly off the airwaves in the expensive Northeastern states holding primaries, given the prohibitive cost of advertising. Meanwhile, there’s little enthusiasm within Republican leadership circles to deny Trump the nomination if he comes very close to the magic 1,237 number. Trump’s past political blunders have quickly been forgotten; if he wins Indiana, it would take another epic blunder for him to blow it. With Paul Manafort and a more professional staff now on board, that’s less likely to happen again.
What makes this GOP surrender so remarkable is that, by not fighting Trump more aggressively, Republicans are acting against their own self-interest. This rarely happens in politics.