Donald Trump’s rivals are once again going to the extra mile to hold each other back — and Trump is once again set to profit from it.
Trump spent the election’s first two months opening a large delegate lead, in part because his rivals keep cutting into each other’s strength. Now they’re set up to do it again Tuesday, when Republicans compete in Arizona and Utah.
Trump is already expected to win 58 delegates in Arizona’s winner-take-all primary. And in Utah, where 40 delegates are at stake, John Kasich threatens to do just well enough to stop Ted Cruz from getting the big victory the Texan would need to keep pace.
Utah’s caucus rules threaten to trip up the anti-Trump forces. If any candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote, he takes all 40 delegates. The most recent poll shows Cruz threatening to do just that: A survey by Y2 Analytics put Cruz at 53 percent, Kasich at 29 percent and Trump at a bottom-scraping 11 percent. If those results were to be exactly borne out, Cruz would still finish second in Tuesday’s overall delegate haul — but he would keep the day from becoming another Trump rout, even if the Manhattan mogul scores his expected big win in Arizona.
But if no candidate scores a majority of the vote in Utah, the delegates are divided proportionally, and that’s where Kasich comes in. With a late campaign push, the Ohio governor threatens to peel off enough Cruz support to deny the Texan an outright majority — leaving the two to share the delegate pool. And in the establishment’s absolutely worst-case scenario, Trump could add insult to injury by snagging a few delegates for himself.