Now that the crowded 2016 field of mostly GOP beta males is tripping all over themselves to genuflect to their vanquisher Donald Trump – and what an embarrassment to the cause of manhood they are – all eyes are on Ted Cruz.
Will he, too, bend at the knee to Trump’s chocolate bunny?
Or will Cruz continue on the righteously ornery path that has taken him from political nobody to conservative superstar in only four years?
If I was in Cruz’s inner circle at this moment, here are the seven things I’d be telling him:
1. There is more at stake for you in this decision than anyone else.
With the possible exception of Scott Walker, who will rightfully be given a chance to resurrect himself because of his record in Wisconsin, none of the 16 GOP candidates not named Trump have a guaranteed political future except Cruz and Fiorina. For they are the only two non-Trump candidates who definitely ended the race with more political capital than what they started with.
Furthermore, this election cycle painfully revealed the paucity of principled conservative leaders to rally and inspire us. Therefore, Cruz owes it to both the people who gave him his political capital, as well as conservatism, to not be pennywise and pound foolish here. The list of people waiting in the wings should he sell his birthright tomorrow for a pot of stew today isn’t long or credible, thus Cruz blowing his political capital has far-reaching implications for millions of patriots in desperate need of leadership.
2. This is not 1976, and you’re not Reagan.
As a first-born son of the Reagan Revolution, Cruz was fond of comparing 2016 to 1980. Clearly that’s not the case—2016 turned out to be 1789 instead. Now he should resist the temptation to cast this as 1976 and himself in the Reagan role. See that as giving an impassioned speech at the convention that sets him up for the future, all the while claiming to be the loyal soldier for the good of the party in the meantime.
3. Remember one of the 10 Commandments of Political Warfare: Don’t ever betray your base.
The only Republican with a future, whose base is likely to be disappointed if he kneels before Zod, is Cruz, for obvious reasons. Many of those people consider themselves “principle before party voters,” and they took Trump’s dirt bag attacks on Cruz’s family almost as personally as Cruz did…..
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…..
5. You will tarnish your brand, at least to some degree, because all the reasons to endorse Trump tarnish it.
How do you credibly endorse someone you called a “pathological liar” for the highest office in all the land after writing a book called “A Time for Truth”? How do you endorse a guy for president who dishonored your wife, called you a whoremonger, and claimed your dad was a presidential assassin?….
6. You will open the door to being out-flanked as the insurgent once again in your next presidential run, as you were in this one.
The biggest reason Cruz could not beat Trump is that Trump out-flanked him as the insurgent candidate (and yes, the media had a lot to do with that but not everything). If Cruz endorses Trump, he risks this happening to him again in the future. Except in 2020 it won’t be another megalomaniac celebrity candidacy if Trump loses, but a new hotness like fellow Senator Ben Sasse.
Sasse has been AWOL near as I can tell on pretty much every major fight since he got to the Senate, but he clearly sees an opportunity with #NeverTrump and is wisely exploiting it……
7. You literally gain nothing from this politically and it’s a one-sided waste of political capital.
Look at all the others who have assumed the position for Trump, and what have they gained politically for it? Answer: zilch. And at the cost of their integrities to boot. They now owe all their futures to Trump winning in November, and won’t have one if he loses.
On the other hand, the fertile political ground is the yet politically untapped #NeverTrump real estate. Cruz can have that all too himself, and it’s got long-term prospects. If Trump loses in November, Cruz becomes the immediate frontrunner in 2020. And if Trump wins, Cruz becomes the face of the principled opposition to what would likely be the most feckless presidency in the history of the republic.
Cruz learned early on there is hefty ROI potential on remaining principled in an era of cowards and charlatans. Now is the time for him to stay that course.
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