On Friday, Senator Ted Cruz endorsed Donald Trump for President of the United States, in a move directly contradictory to all his prior statements about Trump’s fitness for the office. He cited the need to stop Hillary Clinton, he asserted that he and his family had forgiven Trump’s many transgressions against them. He offered it as a stand for the nation over his own desires and above the need to protect the conservative cause, whatever it may be these days.
It’s not the end of the world, of course. It isn’t ideal, but we’re not all going to turn into zombies or zombie food. Still …
After the news broke, triumphal chest-thumping predictably ensued among the predictable set: The NEVERNeverTrump folks who have made attacking people who refuse to endorse Donald their only business and special, creepy obsession this election.
I don’t need to name them; regular RedState readers are savvy enough to know who these sad creatures are, and the creatures know it themselves without needing to read it here. They will continue to gloat for days about the supposed death of #NeverTrump, despite the fact that Ted Cruz was not at any point #NeverTrump, the fact that #NeverTrump is not an organization but just a self-identifier for people who refuse to vote for him, and the really important fact that a sizable portion, if not majority, of those who self-identify as #NeverTrump were also equally opposed to Cruz in the primary and would probably have welcomed the term #NeverCruz all along.
But who needs facts? Certainly not Trump-voting, sadly obsessive little creatures. Let them fling their poo. This is already more text than they rightly deserve.
Now, there is still the matter of Ted’s endorsement itself, and of Ted himself. I think he’s made a yuge mistake, and I’ll tell you why.
But first, we should dispense with some of the reasons fans of this decision have been offering. They, and by they I generally mean Trump voters, say he is choosing the good of the country over the good of the conservative movement. Impossible. Conservative values and policy ideas are good for the country. Trump’s ideas are bad for the country. Dumping the former in favor of the latter isn’t doing something good for your country.
Stopping Hillary is an admirable cause. In the abstract. But that’s primary season talk. That ship has sailed. There are now and instead two Hillarys running; they both have dumb hair, they are both older than dirt, they are both pathologically incapable of honesty, and they are both big government liberals determined to destroy the conservative movement forever. If you believe, as some do, that she’s even MORE destroy-happy than Trump is, then try to stop her. Many good people have made that choice.
But don’t try to turn it into a virtue. That’s what the monsters do. In a classic case of projection, they cast upon #NeverTrump that which they are the most guilty of. Namely, they accuse the #NeverTrumpers of sanctimony or condescension. A laughable complaint from the people who never stop piously bragging about how they are putting country first or how they are stopping the real threat, and in this Cruz is no different. Say you want to stop Hillary. Don’t martyr yourself as making some big sacrifice for your country. It’s gauche.
For a specific example, Cruz cites Trump’s new and this-time-he-super-means-it list of potential Supreme Court nominees he’s totally and for real going to select from. At the top of that list is Senator Mike Lee, who already said “no thanks”. Sen. Lee told RedState that the Trump campaign never reached out to him, never asked him if he wanted it, never even floated the idea to him. They just stuck him on a list.
Trump is big on sticking people on lists against their will.
Sen. Lee’s office told me all of this was a surprise, including Cruz’s endorsement in which he specifically mentions Lee.
Oh yeah, that’s an airtight list. Good call, Ted.
Look, a lot of #ReluctantTrump voters have made a decision they aren’t happy with. They, and this is key, do not try to sell Donald as some wise or virtuous product. They do not lie to pitch their ware. They do not suddenly say they never took him seriously on immigration when there are ample recordings of them saying repeatedly they take him seriously on immigration. These #ReluctantTrumps are usually smart, good, conservative Republican people. They can be admired for their tough decision.
I know several people in this category. All of them are honest about how terrible he is. All of them make credible, reasonable arguments without trashing those who have not crossed the line. None of them write for Breitbart. You know, good people. And that’s fine.
But don’t pitch him as some boon to the nation. It’s not honest. It’s dumb.
Anyway, I’ve wandered afield. why is it a yuge mistake? I think the most devastating assessment I saw yesterday was the one tweeted by Mediaite’s John Ziegler, which you can see below.
OUCH. The truth is is painful, and the truth is that this was politically bad. As in, not especially helpful to Ted. It was badly timed. He has little to gain from it. Look, the party is in for a pound now, they are going to try to drag their dead, orange weight across the finish line. And in four years, Republican hopefuls are still going to need the party. So in the sense that playing ball now may, and I mean may get the party to play ball later, then fine, that is a minor upside. Likewise satisfying donors.
But when it comes to voters, all he has done is taken his only remaining dedicated fan base, his hardcore supporters who make up an also large, though probably not half, segment of the #NeverTrump population, and utterly disappointed them. And I mean utterly. Cruz groups on Facebook are changing their name. Twitter was awash with gnashing teeth and garment rending. He has alienated them thoroughly.
Now, don’t get me wrong, voters have short memories, and a lot of people won’t care anymore about it in four years, despite the passion now. But a lot of them will. But more than that, in the short term, that hardcore base of popular support that he could wield as a weapon against the establishment and in his many fights in the Senate … well that mandate is out the window.
Not to mention the enormous hit to his credibility. Both he and Trump said unforgivable, irrevocable things about one another. ‘No takesies backsies’ things. ‘I’m telling mom on you’ things. Putting on this show of bygone-letting is not an easy sell, in the same sense that breathing concrete is not easy. We all know what they said. “But Hillary” just isn’t a good enough reason to toss out on Facebook to explain the mother of all about faces.
And among a non-trivial group of people that have influence in the waters where Ted swims, he wasn’t doing super great on the credibility front already. He isn’t “terrific,” you might say, in their eyes. I repeat, in *their* eyes.
Thinkpieces today will ask “where does #NeverTrump go from here,” because it’s easier and more salacious and self-serving to ignore the fact that Cruz had nothing to do with #NeverTrump. But it’s a dumb question, so feel free to ignore it. The real question is about where Ted goes from here.
I can only tell you how a voter sees it. I don’t swim in that shark-infested D.C. water. And as a voter, I suggest he pipe down. Keep your thoughts to yourself for a while. Do what you do in the Senate. Avoid interviews at all costs. After the election, sit down with a group of advisors, do a few primal screams, maybe punch a hippie or two, and reevaluate.
It would have been better to do nothing than to endorse. It would have been better to lend a hand to the party than to endorse. It would have been better, more helpful, and still made peace with the establishment to help down ticket races across the country than it was to endorse. It would have been better to invent a new kind of cheese, quit your job, get a spot on late night T.V. and pitch it with the slogan “I would kill every animal in the Zodiac to get this cheese” than it was to endorse. But that’s all over now. You’ve made your choice.
Some will praise it, some will condemn it, some will thump their sagging old white guy chests about it, and some will pull out their hair and make voodoo dolls of you with it. But if you want my opinion, and I am sure that you don’t, just keep quiet. Go Zen for a while. Consider the next few months your rebuilding year. Then get back to the good work you’ve always done, and I trust will do again.
As always, it’s just my two cents.