[T]he whole Republican contest could come down to Indiana. The state has 57 pledged delegates, and it awards those delegates on a winner-take-all basis statewide and by congressional district. As a result, the difference between a narrow win and a loss is huge for Mr. Trump. If he wins statewide — even by a point — it will be fairly easy for him to reach 1,237 delegates with a victory in California, which on paper is probably an easier state for him than Indiana.So... Kasich is stepping aside, but that doesn't prevent Hoosiers from voting for him, if he's their style. Meanwhile, is Cruz boosted by this deal? It seems to me that it makes him look like a deal maker, which changes his brand. His brand is principle and ideology. Not only is deal-maker not Cruz's brand, it's Trump's brand.
The most recent polls show Mr. Trump leading in Indiana with around 40 percent of the vote. That’s a number low enough for him to be vulnerable, but Mr. Kasich has been at 19 percent in an average of the same surveys — giving Mr. Cruz a very narrow path to victory.
AND: "Ted Cruz-John Kasich Alliance Against Donald Trump Quickly Weakens":
Mr. Cruz trumpeted what he called the “big news” in Indiana, a state that appears pivotal to stopping Mr. Trump from winning a majority of delegates. “John Kasich has decided to pull out of Indiana to give us a head-to-head contest with Donald Trump,” the Texas senator said.So he's not good at deals. Don't tout the deal before it's locked down. Cruz seems to have offended Kasich somehow. Deal-maker is not his forte.
But at his own campaign stop in Philadelphia on Monday, Mr. Kasich tamped down Mr. Cruz’s triumphalism. Voters in Indiana, Mr. Kasich said, “ought to vote for me,” even if he would not be campaigning publicly there. He added, “I don’t see this as any big deal.”
ALSO: A dialogue at FiveThirtyEight, "Will The Kasich-Cruz Alliance Work?" Excerpt:
natesilver (Nate Silver, editor in chief): My question is whether you guys are looking at this too much in a vacuum. Yes, if you combined Cruz’s and Kasich’s support, Trump would probably lose Indiana. But as I wrote this weekend, the most important development of the past couple of weeks might be that Trump is successfully persuading Republicans that “the system is rigged,” or at least that he’s clearly going to win the plurality so they might as well get this over with.I agree. It reinforces Trump's narrative.
clare.malone: Are you wondering if the sheeple are going to follow this directive, Nate?
natesilver: I think some of Kasich’s voters will follow it, yes. But I also think it could give Trump a good talking point and persuade some undecided Republicans to go with Trump.