Why Is Ted Cruz Still Running for President?

Why is Ted Cruz still running for president? Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters

As his path to the GOP nomination shrinks, many are asking: Why is Ted Cruz still running for president? The Texas senator was, in fact, "mathematically eliminated from the first-ballot delegate race" on April 22, according to the Associated Press.

But what does "mathematical" elimination actually mean? What it doesn't mean is that Cruz can't be the GOP nominee for president. Rather, it means that he can't get there through traditional channels. He can't get the 1,237 delegates—or 51 percent of all Republican delegates—needed to win the nomination outright. But he can still win the nomination if he can manage to stop Trump from getting 1,237 delegates, which he can pull off by winning delegates out from under Trump, and letting Ohio Governor John Kasich, who is also still running despite only claiming victory in the primary in his home state, win delegates.

It's a risky strategy, and unlikely to work. Indiana's delegates are winner-take-all, both statewide and by congressional district, and Trump is likely to take all 57 of them. If he does, the reality TV star would only need to win an extra 184 delegates to clinch the nomination and kiss Cruz goodbye.

With nine primaries to go, there are several ways this could happen. According to The New York Times, "even the most pessimistic projections" show Trump racking up 120 delegates in West Virginia, New Jersey, Washington, Oregon and New Mexico. This means the front-runner would only need 64 more delegates from Nebraska, California, Montana and South Dakota, which together award 264 delegates. If Trump wins all of Indiana's 57 delegates and performs at least adequately in California, he's the nominee. Or, if he does slightly better in several smaller states, and pulls out a surprise win in Montana or West Virginia, he won't even need to perform all that well in California.

So Cruz absolutely must stop Trump in Indiana—which is why the senator is pulling out all the stops he has left, and why he trotted out the state's governor, Mike Pence, who recently endorsed him, to cajole voters this week. It's also why he announced his running mate—a choice that's usually made after one becomes the nominee—in the form of Carly Fiorina last week.

Indiana is something of a make-or-break moment for Cruz. If he loses the Hoosier state, he may as well go home.

Why Is Ted Cruz Still Running for President? | U.S.