Many of those who argue Trump can and should be denied the nomination if he fails to come into the convention with a majority of the delegates — and who are actively trumpeting scenarios and methods by which Cruz (and maybe Kasich) can win delegates here and delegates there to ensure Trump doesn’t get to 1,237 — also argue simultaneously that say that Cruz must and should, therefore, become the nominee. And that just doesn’t make logical sense, or at least, it doesn’t to me.
The anti-Trump case is simple. The rules say the nominee must have a majority, and if he doesn’t come in with a majority, tough luck, Orange One. No first ballot victory for you. Then many of the delegates get released to make their own decisions, and so much for him. The primaries and caucuses are convened to choose a consensus candidate for the party. An open convention means the primaries and caucuses will have failed to do this, and, therefore, the convention must make the choice — the delegates will select the nominee instead because the voters were sadly unable to do so. That is the only way in which the open convention would have any legitimacy.
Look, to say it shouldn’t be Trump under these conditions is fine, especially for those of us who believe Trump is just about the worst thing to happen in American politics in our lifetimes. But the logic governing that idea can’t simply apply only to Trump because he’s so bad. If Trump doesn’t get to 1,237, neither will Cruz. If you’re going to claim in July that it matters profoundly whom the voters voted for before the convention, then by simple logic the #1 guy deserves it more than the #2 guy. Period.
While at this point it is certainly more likely that Ted Cruz would get the nomination than Donald Trump if the vote goes beyond the first ballot, this is far from automatic, and the claim that Cruz deserves the nomination over any one else simply because he came in second place makes no logical sense at all.