Ted Cruz is crumbling before our very eyes

For the past few weeks, Republican campaign professionals and conservatives who are seeing the GOP nomination heading into Donald Trump’s hands have been counseling anti-Trump voters not to panic and consoling themselves with the notion that things will turn around for Ted Cruz when the final weeks of the campaign shift to the Midwest and mountain states.

After Trump’s astounding five-for-five primary night, by margins that were likely surprising even for Trump fans, it’s now Indiana or bust. If Trump wins the primary next week in the Hoosier State, Cruz is toast and Trump will almost certainly be the Republican nominee.

There’s no putting lipstick on this pig. Cruz’s numbers Tuesday night, like his numbers in New York last week, were beyond horrible. With six weeks to go before voting concludes, the man conservatives are hoping can overcome Trump with his clever delegate game and more serious mien is getting 10 to 15 percent of the vote in major states.

It isn’t only that the not-Trump vote is failing to coalesce around Cruz — he’s going backward.

And people are kidding themselves if they think Tuesday night’s results won’t have an effect on voters in Indiana and elsewhere.

The big announcement over the weekend that the Cruz and John Kasich campaigns had agreed to a divide-and-conquer strategy to deny Trump the 1,237 delegates he needs to win on the first ballot at the Republican convention in July made no difference. Indeed, it only comes into effect with Indiana’s voting.

But note well: Based on the returns, Trump would have won all five states in landslides even if Kasich had dropped out of the race weeks ago and Ted Cruz had had Trump all to himself.

As it is, Kasich’s emergence in the news just seems to have given Trump new material to freshen up his shtick.

In Warwick, RI, on Monday, Trump went after Kasich for eating during his press conferences, and found new comedic inspiration for his ad hominem assault: Joan Rivers.

“He has the news conference all the time when he’s eating. I have never seen a human being eat in such a disgusting fashion,” Trump said. “I’m always telling my young son, Barron, always with my kids, all of them, I’d say, ‘Children, small, little bites.’ This guy takes a pancake and he’s shoving it in his mouth, it’s . . . it’s disgusting.”

Trump’s cadence and manner in delivering this coup de grace to Kasich were so shockingly similar to Rivers’, it was almost as though her spirit had possessed his body. It seems fitting, somehow, that the #NeverTrump effort may have met its end in the voice of the 2009 winner of “Celebrity Apprentice.”

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