Love him or hate him, it is hard to deny that Ted Cruz has made the right strategic decision at every turn of this primary. Initially, Cruz made people uncomfortable by buddying up to Trump when all those who attacked him went by the wayside. Then, he turned on the attack on Trump at just the right time.
He built an incredibly impressive turnout machine that carried him to victory in Iowa, and continued to invest heavily in the nitty gritty day to day operations that allowed him to consistently overperform the polls. He has picked his spots and kept himself in the news with a regular spate of wins while the other GOP candidates failed. At the end of the day, he has successfully set himself up as the sole feasible alternative to Trump.
Now, although Cruz is a couple hundred delegates behind Donald Trump, and although it is becoming almost mathematically impossible for him to get to 1,237 delegates, Cruz is acting like a front runner, which is something Trump has never been able to do. Cruz has mainly been doing friendly interviews, and keeping himself only on the periphery of the news, while allowing Trump to bury himself with GOP delegates, and allowing an increasingly acrimonous feud between Clinton and Sanders to fester.
That’s the proper way to understand Cruz’s alleged refusal to go on Hannity, as we reported yesterday. Hannity can pretend all he wants to the contrary but he is basically a mouthpiece for Trump these days, and he spent all of the last interview he had with Cruz asking Trump-generated questions. Normally a candidate in second place would be glad for the chance to speak to Hannity’s audience, but Cruz knows he doesn’t need that.
Why? Because Cruz knows good and well that the die is cast with respect to reaching 1,237 delegates. So, while he will continue to campaign aggressively on the local level, and will make sure that he does the regular slate of campaign appearances and dots all the I’s and crosses all the T’sin order to make SURE Trump doesn’t reach 1,237, he knows that the choice is pretty much already before both the GOP voters and the delegates: do they want Trump to destroy this party in November, or not? And if the answer is “not,” he knows that he is the only alternative.
There’s no further benefit at this point to pleading his case to any remotely hostile media outlet. So he’s going to act like a front runner while Donald Trump continues to demonstrate that he cannot. And he hopes – for good reason – that doing so will make the choice all that much easier for the delegates at the convention.