Cruz is running a tight, disciplined campaign focused on maximizing his delegate count through mastery of the rules governing delegates at the state level. But he’s running a mediocre campaign when it comes to winning over masses of voters.

If he continues to lose to Trump with voters in state after state, as it appears he will from Connecticut to Maryland to Rhode Island to Pennsylvania, the melioristic notion many not-Trumpers have entertained that Cruz just needs to wait out the bad states until he can turn to more favorable terrain like Indiana and Nebraska and California may turn on them.

He (and Kasich) may succeed in denying Trump the 1,237 delegates needed to secure a first-ballot victory at the convention in Cleveland. But the idea Cruz can take the nomination away from Trump on the second ballot at the convention if the Texan ends this primary season with a string of defeats flies in the face of everything we know about politics and political psychology.

The more Cruz loses, the more he will look like a loser. He’d better start winning, or he won’t have a case to make, and those private assurances he has of support on the second ballot will remain private and will cease being assured.