Days of Change

The Last Best Hope | July 22, 2016

I had a lot of commentary piled up from the speech last night and I posted up, but it all boiled down to this.

This was all about Ted Cruz.

Cruz ran for Senate in 2012 in a year where the Tea Party was broke and hampered by the IRS. Sarah Palin could have run, but knew that she would be shut out of campaign funding and would likely lose. Instead, she became a savior of the down ticket. Texas would have a Republican Senator, but Palin helped to make sure it was Cruz.

Cruz quickly made a name for himself as someone who wanted to pass Constitutional limits on the White House and promote the conservative agenda. When he decided to run for president, he was probably at the top tier, but he was also a dark horse.

While there were 17 candidates in the media, only 12 entered a primary, 9 actually got at least 1 delegate and only 4 beat single digits. Bush, Rubio, Kasich and maybe Huckabee were establishment. Rand Paul, Carson, Fiorina and Cruz were the rebels. Then came Donald Trump.

I can’t easily define the Republican establishment. Because I don’t support Trump, some consider me within those ranks. There are prominent Republican politicians, reliable campaign donors, state organizers and professionals who win elections. Most of them do not like Ted Cruz. All those things the non-establishment supposedly hates are what Ted Cruz fought against. It doesn’t matter if he was grandstanding or not, at least he was standing.

Donald Trump got in fairly early and blended in like the transfer student who was already left back a grade. His name recognition and dubious celebrity got him 30% of the vote from the start. Even with 6 or so other contenders, it would be difficult to beat that. When Cruz did, Rubio and Kasich were right there to split up the vote. Jeb eventually gave up, as this was not a year for the establishment. Rubio had to salvage his Senate job.

Down to three candidates, Trump regularly got in the 40% range and Kasich sort of hung on as a spoiler. Kasich was part of the establishment and encouraged to stay in the race, which only means one thing. The establishment backed Trump, not Cruz. In fact, Kasich dropped out just hours after Cruz. His job was done.

Ted Cruz had a solid campaign, using data and a strong ground game. Unfortunately, while he may have planned for an establishment headwind, he did not expect their support for a bad human being because Cruz wasn’t chummy enough. This was a party who didn’t believe in the best candidate winning. Much like 2008, their chosen candidate failed and they scrambled for another and ended up with a sociopathic narcissist.

Ted Cruz could not commit political suicide or ruin his career in this GOP. His career was limited to that Texas Senate seat. So, on Wednesday night, he put down his marker for a coalition who doesn’t want some guy pulling authoritarian solutions out of his ass and practicing situational morality that re-calibrates every day. Some might call it a gamble, but he had nothing to gain by propping up this amoral, craven political party.

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