There is no sugar-coating tonight’s results. Even the one, small bright spot — John Kasich denying Donald Trump Ohio’s delegates — may end up presenting the conservative movement with a classic case of winning a battle but losing the war. Kasich is going to soldier on, doing his dead-level-best to sail into the convention as some sort of kingmaker/power-broker. In the meantime, however, he’ll split the anti-Trump vote even further, allowing Trump to continue to win contest after contest with a plurality of voters. It’s self-serving, it’s vain, and it’s Kasich.
And while I like and respect Marco Rubio, his futile decision to stay in the race to swing for the fences in Florida certainly cost Ted Cruz victories in both North Carolina and Missouri (at least if Trump’s narrow lead in Missouri holds overnight).
Trump is presently not on pace to accumulate a majority of delegates before the GOP convention, and he will face one — and perhaps two — losses next week in the Utah caucuses and the Arizona primaries. Mormon Utah will obliterate Trump (serving a heaping helping of humble pie to squishy Evangelicals), and Cruz should be competitive in Arizona. Any victory going forward will increase the chances of a contested convention.
The only defeat that #NeverTrump should acknowledge is final defeat in November, and even then conservatives should immediately plot their comeback. Our crisis cannot compare with the crisis faced by American patriots in 1776, but Thomas Paine’s words resonate still:
These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.
Stand now. No matter the odds. There is no other choice.