The power of political momentum is often underestimated to the chagrin of the various “stop” movements designed to slow down or displace successful candidates. After a substantial lead in delegates has been achieved, it is nearly impossible to erase it.
Such a situation is now playing out in both political parties, with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton poised to become their respective parties’ nominees.
Ted Cruz has tried to be clever in his strategy, and his cunning has destroyed him. He thought it was smart to refuse to criticize Donald Trump and just position himself to get Trump’s voters after what he thought was Trump’s inevitable collapse. When Trump didn’t collapse, Cruz waited too long for his negative attacks to have any discernible effect.
If Cruz had joined other Republican candidates in their attacks on Trump, he may have found himself in a different situation today. Instead, his attacks on Trump are “a day late and a dollar short.” Trump’s momentum is well established, and his supporters have become too loyal.
One may make similar observations about Bernie Sanders. His negative attacks on Hillary Clinton only came after she had amassed a formidable lead in delegates after landslide wins in Southern states. His failure to appeal to black voters from the beginning of the campaign doomed him to these Southern losses and helped Mrs. Clinton develop an unstoppable momentum.