The Case for a Crowded Field to Defeat Trump

by Nathan L. Gonzales March 3, 2016 · 9:25 AM EST

It’s too late to defeat Donald Trump, at least in the primaries. It’s too late for Republicans to unify behind a single Trump alternative. Now it’s a group effort to take down the celebrity businessman.

For the last nine months or so, the talk about the Republican presidential primary was about the GOP’s need to unify behind a single Trump alternative. That seemed like a reasonable scenario for much of the cycle, but it’s probably too late to employ that strategy now.

Of course, Trump hasn’t secured a majority of delegates yet. But it seems unlikely that even if any combination of Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, or Florida Sen. Marco Rubio exit the race (which seems unlikely), that any of them could rally the other’s supporters quickly enough to take on Trump. It’s also assuming that none of their supporters would go to Trump.

The only way to stop Trump now might be to keep him from securing a majority of delegates before the convention in Cleveland.

The best way to do that is to keep Trump from winning the primary’s biggest prizes. Cruz made sure Trump didn’t sweep Texas. Kasich’s mission (should he choose to accept it) is to keep Trump from winning Ohio on March 15. And Rubio needs to keep Trump from winning Florida that same day.

If Trump wins either Ohio or Florida, that’s probably the ball game. Of course he could still win either state with Kasich and Rubio in the race (considering he apparently leads in Florida), but their exit would likely make it easier.

So even though it might seem like a good idea for the field to narrow to defeat Trump, it may actually have the opposite effect.