Semi-bold prediction: Donald Trump will unite with John Kasich and Ted Cruz will unite with Marco Rubio at the Republican Convention. Depending on what changes are made in the rules, both sides will do whatever they can to compel delegates in some of the states to shift their votes as soon as possible, whether on the first ballot or later.
This means that if the rules allow, Trump could end up hitting the 1,237 mark on the first ballot. While most are saying that if he doesn’t do this that Cruz and his organization have made a strong play for his delegates on the second ballot and would therefore win it then, I’m not so sure. Yes, he’s accumulating loyal delegates for when they’re unbound, but most of these delegates have never seen a force like Trump. I believe that he’ll still make it competitive on a second ballot, particularly if he has Kasich on his side as VP.
It forces Cruz to pull in Rubio. While this seems to many to be a dream ticket, it’s not the ticket that Cruz wants. He’s most likely more interested in a diverse ticket; two Cuban-American conservatives would not be ideal. He’d prefer to have more contrast on the ticket; Carly Fiorina and Nikki Haley come to mind as obvious diversity choices based upon their lightened conservatism and the obvious benefit of having a female running mate.
If Trump ends up less than 100 delegates from 1,237, he’ll be well positioned on every ballot, including the first, to make a play with Kasich’s delegates if he’s able to release them. Each state has different rules and there’s no guarantee that doing so will compel Kasich’s delegates to vote for a Trump-Kasich ticket, but if anyone can pull it off, it’s Trump.
This should act as a rallying cry (as if we needed a louder one than we already have) to get everyone possible away from Kasich and Trump and promote the only true conservative in the race.