For everyone living under a rock for the last few days, it’s now apparent that Donald Trump has decided to focus his ridiculous attacks and rhetorical bombast on a new target— Sen. Ted Cruz, a man who apparently is more attractive to Republican caucus-goers in Iowa than Trump, the celebrity “green energy” mandate cheerleader and chief tinfoil-hat-wearer for this cycle, even though Cruz opposes the supposedly much-loved-by-Midwesterners ethanol mandate (which we are told must be political poison for him).
Despite Trump’s effort to characterize Cruz as some sort of “aboot” saying, weird bacon-eating Canadian peril (hint, hint, he might be sorta foreign and perhaps liberal), Cruz is, in fact, a natural-born US citizen and a red-meat conservative whereas Trump holds a lot of the same policy perspectives as you average liberal Democrat (and is, ironically, half-foreign himself—not that your author cares). This episode provides another important indicator that it’s time for the conservative movement, the liberty movement, and the GOP establishment (yes…) to act in concert, shut Trump out and send him back to the Clinton-supporting progressivism-cheering quarters where he belongs.
This is necessary both to ensure that America has its best chance of ensuring that something resembling conservatism as much as is realistically possibly is on the ballot in 2016, as well as to give conservative policy the best shot at actually being implemented, ideally with wins by people holding real, conservative policy stances, up and down the ballot.
Depending on your measuring stick, that may include a lot of Republicans, or just a few.
What is clear is, it definitely doesn’t include Trump, and it’s time for activists to, well, act, since the media is doing such a great job of boosting Trump, and key GOP figures and organizations appear to be too afraid of him saying mean things about them to take him on, beyond occasionally sniping in (often anonymous) quotes given to Politico.
Unless he is seriously marginalized and undercut, the guy is bound to be a branding problem and mega-problem-child for the GOP (which is already addled with them) heading into the 2016 general election, and someone who threatens to drag the party left on a bunch of important policy issues.
For as much as Trump wants conservatives to believe that Cruz is some kind of stealthy Canadian plant about to turn this country into a bunch of maple leaf flag-wavers, Trump is the one on record praising the Canadian health care system ad nauseum. He also thinks the UK’s socialized medicine system is pretty awesome. He is, in fact, running on a platform to replace Obamacare with full-on single-payer health care (just not Medicare-for-all, per se, like Bernie Sanders). Seriously. A guy purporting to be a conservative Republican is actually running to institute single-payer health care. Think about that for a minute. And then another.
His tax plan includes a very notable tax hike. This is not surprising, since he’s advocated wealth taxes in the past (again, really conservative, right?).
He’s a vocal supporter of the deeply unconservative “green energy” ethanol mandate (see also this), which Ted Cruz rightly opposes. This also puts him in line with his onetime wedding guest and recipient of his campaign contributions, Hillary Clinton.
He’s opposed to all free trade, and would very probably pursue trade policies that would get us in a trade war with other countries costing the blue-collar “base” he purports to speak for a lot of money since they have little cash to burn on consumer goods that would become more expensive. His trade policies are more in line with those of the AFL-CIO than any free market economist out there.
He has a record of amassing huge debt as a businessman, to the point where his business has gone into bankruptcy a record four times—more than any other major US corporation. It’s not hard to conjecture that he would massively increase our national debt, since he apparently doesn’t mind loading up with the stuff in other contexts, and his proposed tax and spending policies indicate an imbalance. (Remember, in this case, it would be up to millions of the rest of us to foot the bill).
Trump obviously thinks eminent domain abuse is fabulous and private property rights are a pain in the backside that need to be diluted, again, like a lot of liberals.
He has zero apparent interest in reforming unsustainable entitlement spending, which is a major fiscal challenge contributing to our debt load—again, kind of like Democrats who oppose it at every turn.
This guy cannot be—and can no longer be seen to be—a representative of the GOP or “conservatism” in any way, shape or form. And whether you support Ted Cruz for President or not (I am personally undecided as to whom I will vote for in Virginia when the day comes, but Cruz is one of my top four, and I supported his run for Senate in Texas), if you are a conservative, it’s imperative to take Cruz’s side in this particular fight. No good can come from conservative icons being targeted by big government liberal celebrity conspiracy theorists attempting to grab at Republican presidential nominations, perhaps as a new pastime since the kids seem to be running the business decently.
Obviously, as various conservative commentators have observed, that is not the position of some members of the actual GOP establishment (as opposed to what Trumpettes call the GOPe, which seems to mean anyone registered as an actual Republican who’s ever worked for or supported anyone who’s ever run for anything previously as a Republican). Some of these guys have an axe to grind with Cruz, and are quite happy to see him being targeted by anyone, including Trump. They don’t mind Trump’s rise, so long as it theoretically makes it harder for Cruz to get ahead and easier for their favored candidate to attempt to position as the alternative to Trump, which they erroneously think is electorally beneficial to them.
They are wrong. Whether you’re a Cruz supporter or not, if you are for any of free-market health care reforms, lower taxes, nixing cronyism, entitlement reform, lowering our debt, protecting property rights, or indeed freer trade, Trump hanging around in the GOP contest, attracting attacks that would make a 2-minute pillow-fight among wheelchair-bound 90 year-old women look tough is a problem.
He will drag a more moderate or establishment candidate down, should they win the nomination, if he continues to be strongly associated with the GOP in swing voters’ minds.
He will make it harder to draw a clear and beneficial contrast between the parties if he is seen as any kind of a power-broker with clout within the Republican Party.
Trump needs to be stopped, by hitting him where he’s vulnerable with his voters, where they actually get their news and information.
That’s what our group has been doing—with zero payout to myself or the other consultants involved— and it’s what we will continue to do, for the benefit of conservatism, liberty, freedom, and America.
We hope you’ll check us out, and consider helping fund our current ad campaign, which has been making waves in New Hampshire, making Trump voters there think twice about him, and garnering free, earned media being seen, heard by and influencing thousands of additional voters in the first primary state.
The GOP establishment—the real establishment—may not be interested in acting, or capable of acting competently. But the grassroots can, and should.
Liz Mair is a strategist with Make America Awesome, a SuperPAC targeting Donald Trump. She has previously advised the RNC, Sen. Rand Paul (in a non-presidential campaign context), Gov. Scott Walker (during his successful campaign against recall), Carly Fiorina (including during her successful 2010 primary campaign), multiple successful statewide ballot initiatives across the US, and various winning candidates and political parties in countries ranging from the UK to Cambodia.