It now seems likely that:
- In order for either Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio to become the Republican nominee, he must first consolidate the anti-Trump vote, which is to say that either can succeed only if the other drops out.
- Cruz and Rubio have approximately equal chances of driving each other out.
- Each would prefer to drive the other out sooner rather than later — i.e. before Trump wraps this whole thing up anyway.
Given that, it seems like one of the following two things should happen at tonight’s debate:
- Cruz, after making an eloquent case against Trump and explaining why he thinks it’s important to keep Trump out of the White House, turns to Rubio and offers to flip a coin right on the spot. The loser drops out of the race and the winner takes on Trump.
- Rubio, after making an elegant case against Trump and explaining why he thinks it’s important to keep Trump out of the White House, turns to Cruz and offers to flip a coin right on the spot. The loser drops out of the race and the winner takes on Trump.
This gives each of them only a 50% chance of survival. But if they’ve already each got only a 50% chance of survival, that’s no loss. And it substantially increases the value of survival, because it gets things over with now instead of a month from now.
If I’m wrong in saying that each currently has a 50% chance — if instead, say, Cruz has a 60% chance and Rubio a 40% chance or vice versa — then they can flip an appropriately weighted coin.