Op-ed by thisdonald
I’ve had approximately twenty hours to process what Ted Cruz said or (more accurately) didn’t say at the Republican National Convention last evening. And also what he did. First, let me say, I have supported him, from here in my home state of Texas, in his Senate elections and all through the presidential primary process. I am a Constitutional Conservative and, as such, Cruz was my obvious and first choice. Had he proven more electable than Donald Trump, he would have remained my choice. Unfortunately, no republican proved more electable than Trump. No one had the charisma or ability to tap into the angst of the American electorate to the degree Donald Trump did and he easily emerged as the people’s choice. Ted Cruz shares my principles and values more than any of the former candidates. However, Ted was a candidate with great intelligence but short on charisma. At least in the context of a contest with Donald Trump. (And so was every other candidate, for that matter.) It doesn’t matter if Ted Cruz was or remains the smartest candidate in the room. Or that he is the most fierce defender of the Constitution. If he couldn’t get himself elected―it paid no dividend. Trump got himself elected as the republican nominee and I think Trump will get himself elected President. Ted will never have the panache of Trump but he could have caught on to what was working for Trump and, like Trump, and had the courage to tell middle America what we so desperately wanted and needed to hear. But he didn’t. He just patiently waited for Trump to derail and that never happened. It didn’t happen because that’s how desperately America needed what Trump was selling. “Make America great again―don’t apologize for who or what we are and―get out on board or get the hell out of the way!” So much did we need to hear this, there was no stumble Trump could make big enough for him to lose his support.
I am more than disappointed that Ted Cruz did not climb aboard the Trump Train last night. That being said, he was on the horns of a dilemma. Literally. He could do as Dr. Ben Carson did―put his personal pride aside and (at least for the time being); forget the disparaging comments Trump made about Cruz’s wife and father; and put our country first by supporting Trump in getting elected. Or―he could break his pledge to support the republican candidate (whoever it was) if not himself. I’ll be the first to say, “That’s a tough one.” Not quite up there with “Sofie’s Choice”, but tough. I’d like to say he made the correct one but I can’t. Being a strict constitutionalist, at least to me, implies putting your country above all else. Including personal welfare and pride. As our Founding Fathers did. Cruz claims to be one but he put family honor and personal pride first. To me, nothing I or my family have will mean much if we lose America and our way of life. And that is what is at stake here. I am disappointed and somewhat embarrassed for him that Cruz did not sacrifice the former for the latter. He should never have taken the convention stage if he could not endorse Trump. That decision has lumped him in with the Republican elites in so many ways. “I endorse Donald J. Trump for the Presidency of the United States!” That’s what Cruz didn’t say last night.
Now to address what he did. I think Cruz was positioning himself for the presidency. I don’t think being a Supreme Court Justice would satisfy him. As qualified as he is, I don’t think he wants to spend the rest of his life behind the bench. He wants to be on the front line leading the charge. I think he positioned himself such that―in the event Trump fails to be elected; or follow through on his promises; or totally fails to honor conservative principles―Cruz will be there in 2020 to say, “I told you so.” And to offer the alternative.
Lastly . . . you gotta admit―Cruz stands on HIS principles no matter the venue or opposition. Which is entirely why I supported him in the first place. But, for now, Republicans must win back the White House. Which means we have to elect Donald Trump. We have to start somewhere, or as a nation we are doomed. I don’t think even Ted Cruz could turn our sinking ship around after four years of Hillary on top of the eight we’ve already suffered with Obama!
Cruz’s knowledge and defense of the Constitution is too great an asset in Washington to lose. There are too few like him. But he needs to get on board in his support of Trump or―in the event Trump loses to Hillary―forever be perceived as bearing some of the responsibility for Hillary’s election.
(Ted waving, possibly goodbye, to his chances for the White House in 2020.)