The really important results in the March 8th and March 15th primaries were in Michigan and Illinois. These two hardened blue states show how Kasich and Cruz split the anti-Trump vote and allow Donald to walk away with a plurality which gives him most of the delegates.
In Michigan, Trump got 37% but won because Cruz got 25% and Kasich won 24% bisecting the anti-Trump vote.
In Illinois it was the same story. There, Trump got 38% while Cruz won 30% and Kasich got 20%.
It is almost impossible to see how Kasich can win a single state with Cruz in the race.
Cruz can win pink or purple states with Kasich in the race as long as he gets the Rubio vote. Had Rubio’s people voted for Cruz, he would have won North Carolina and Mi
ssouri. But there is no guarantee that Rubio’s people would go to Cruz rather than to Kasich.
And a viable, strong John Kasich cannot win any states but can throw them one after the other to Trump. Were Kasich out of the race, virtually all of his vote (and his portion of the ex-Rubio vote) would go to Cruz, assuring him of repeated victories over Trump.
Kasich’s strategy is perfect for the Democratic Party’s rules which bar winner-take-all or winner-take-most primaries and require that all states vote on the basis of proportional representation. In such a universe, the more candidate that run the greater the chance that the vote will split and that nobody will win a majority.
But the Republican rules are different. Arizona, New Jersey, and a few other states are overtly winner-take-all. But most of the others are winner-take-most where the at large delegates all go to the candidate getting a plurality and many of the congressional district delegates do too.
If Trump wins a plurality with Kasich and Cruz splitting the vote he walks off with the lion’s share of the delegates. And the nomination.