Houston, Texas – The single most important day of the Republican primary season. That’s today, Super Tuesday, according to Ted Cruz, and if he gets his way, it’s also the day the contest will narrow to a two-man race and allow him to square off directly with Donald Trump.
After casting his vote in Texas’s primary at Houston’s West Gray Community Center, Cruz told reporters that after 11 states go to the polls today, he and Trump will shoot ahead in the delegate race.
“I think tomorrow morning you’re going to see a clear choice with two candidates both with a big chuck of delegates and the remainder of the candidates with very very few,” he said.
Cruz’s attention remains focused on rival Marco Rubio, and he essentially called Rubio and the rest of his challengers to drop out of the race. “To get to the nomination you need 1,237 delegates. And so I will say for any candidate who wakes up tomorrow morning who has not won any states, for any candidate who wakes up tomorrow morning who has a negligible number of delegates, I think it’s time to start thinking about coming together and unifying and presenting a clear choice,” he said.
Over Cruz’s shoulder, Francisco Valle, a 73-year-old Houston resident foisted a sign depicting Trump as Adolf Hitler. It was both a reflection of the acrimony running through the Republican party right now and a portent of the divisiveness likely to come in the general election.
If Cruz wins Texas, and polls suggest he is poised to do, he will argue that Rubio simply cannot catch him in the delegate count. But his own path remains tenuous. His advisers say he will accumulate delegates in Missouri and Illinois and then in gather momentum if conservatives can coalesce around his candidacy. They argue that Cruz is the only viable alternative to Trump: If Cruz drops out, his voters will migrate to Trump, they say, but that if Rubio drops out, his supporters will come Cruz’s way.
Earlier in the morning, Cruz was forthright about his assessment of Rubio’s candidacy. “He is a very talented individual, but Marco Rubio does not have any viable path whatsoever to beat Donald Trump,” he told radio talk-show host Mike Gallagher.
In the eyes of Cruz and his team, it’s clear that Cruz’s own viability depends on Rubio’s next moves.