Ted Cruz has, notably, not endorsed Donald Trump as of today. One of his most vocal supporters, Steve Deace, says he shouldn’t — ever. Deace gives several reasons, and his piece is worth reading in full. Here is one reason that stands out:
4. This is a rare opportunity in politics when the morally righteous thing to do is also the most politically expedient.
It’s rare in politics to be politically rewarded for doing the most principled thing, but that is the case here for Cruz. And it will be much easier for him to win over people mad at him for not “unifying” later than it would be to reunify his base if he were to endorse. Look at all the voters who don’t care Trump is a progressive and a Hillary donor. Look at all the other candidates groveling before the same Trump they once insulted. These are soulless people that will come to your beck and call in the future if you’re winning. But Cruz’s odds of winning diminish if he splits his base.
This echoes what I said on the day of the Indiana vote, even before the polls closed and Cruz bowed out:
I think Cruz genuinely believes (as I do) that Donald Trump will end up as a disaster, either because he will hand the election to Hillary Clinton — or else will get into office and stab conservatives in the back so many times that they’ll look like someone sicced O.J. on them.
At some point the depth of Trump’s incompetence and betrayal will be obvious to all but his most mindless supporters. So why not be the person who actually stood athwart history yelling stop? — in the words of the founder of National Review, which actually did that in this primary, to their everlasting credit.
Deace’s point about the other soulless candidates is dead on target. I have already written about Perry and Jindal. Perry said Trump was a “cancer on conservatism” and now rolls on his back hoping Trump will rub his belly and make him VP. Jindal called Trump a “shallow, unserious, substance-free, narcissistic egomaniac” and a “madman who must be stopped.” Jindal now says he’s voting Trump! Guess the madman doesn’t have to be stopped any more.
I also wrote about Marco Rubio, who said Trump is a “con artist who should not get access to nuclear codes.” He also said we should not hand “the nuclear codes of the United States to an erratic individual.” Apparently he didn’t mean a word of it — or his “pledge” is more meaningful than the future of the world.
These people are pathetic, weak, and unprincipled. They were in a tough spot, to be sure, having “pledged” to support the nominee — but they put themselves there.
BUT WHAT ABOUT THE PLEDGE???!!!1! People will, of course, throw that in Cruz’s face, just as they have thrown it in the other candidates’ faces. Never mind that Trump broke the pledge before he became the nominee. Cruz must be held to a higher standard than the lying Trump.
The Smart Set assumes Cruz will endorse, just like the rest of these weasels, because he made that same “pledge” everyone else did, and he is certainly thinking of running again in 2020. But if Cruz is worried about people throwing stuff in his face, let’s not forget that he also said this (video at the link):
Donald Trump alleges that my dad was involved in assassinating JFK. Now, let’s be clear. This is nuts. This is not a reasonable position. This is just kooky. . . . This man is a pathological liar. He doesn’t know the difference between truth and lies. He lies practically every word that comes out of his mouth. . . .
The man cannot tell the truth, but he combines it with being a narcissist. A narcissist at a level I don’t think this country’s ever seen. Donald Trump is such a narcissist that Barack Obama looks at him and goes: ‘Dude, what’s your problem?’ Everything in Donald’s world is about Donald.
And he combines being a pathological liar — and I say pathological because I actually think Donald, if you hooked him up to a lie detector test, he could say one in the morning, one thing at noon, and one thing in the evening, all contradictory, and he’d pass the lie detector test each time. Whatever lie he’s telling, at that minute, he believes it.
But the man is utterly amoral. Let me finish this, please. The man is utterly amoral. Morality does not exist for him. It’s why he went after Heidi directly and smeared my wife. Attacked her. Apparently she’s not pretty enough for Donald Trump. I may be biased, but I think if he’s making that allegation, he’s also legally blind.
But Donald is a bully. You know, we just visited with fifth graders. Every one of us knew bullies in elementary school. Bullies don’t come from strength. Bullies come from weakness. Bullies come from a deep yawning cavern of insecurity. There is a reason Donald builds giant buildings and puts his name on them everywhere he goes.
And I will say: there are millions of people in this country who are angry. They’re angry at Washington. They’re angry at politicians who’ve lied to them. I understand that anger. I share that anger. And Donald is cynically exploiting that anger. And he is lying to his supporters.
It’s worth remembering that Cruz made his “pledge” before Trump called his wife ugly, insinuated that his dad was involved in the JFK assassination, blatantly lied on national TV about whether he had impersonated his own publicist . . . and God only knows what he’ll do over the next six months.
Cruz is laying low now, but I suspect he’s already made his decision. He won’t support Donald Trump. But the way he’s doing it is clever. He has made adherence to constitutional principles the key to whether he can support Trump. As a smart Cruz observer, Erica Greider, has noted:
[Cruz] specified a series of lofty standards that he expects a presidential candidate to meet, knowing full well that Trump struggles to meet standards, and visibly resents expectations. He later made no distinction between Trump and the presumptive Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, when offering the following observation: “I fear that our nation may be facing four very challenging years.”
Cruz already knows that Trump can’t and won’t adhere to constitutional principles. But as Trump continues to tack left in the general election, he will drift further and further away from any semblance of constitutionalism and support for limited government.
And Cruz can then say that he can’t support a nominee who doesn’t stand for conservatism.
Cruz could always disappoint me and his other followers, and fall in line like the rest. It wouldn’t be the first time I have been disappointed by politician.
But somehow I think Ted Cruz will not disappoint.