With both the Republican and Democratic conventions behind us, it is a good time to get a little perspective on what “might have been.” By now everyone knows that Sen. Ted Cruz did not endorse the Republican nominee, Donald J. Trump. This set off a news and social media firestorm. Ted Cruz trended #1 on Twitter worldwide for nearly 24 hours after he completed his speech.
Cruz’s non-endorsement elicited the furious ire of John Boehner, Newt Gingrich, and a host of other Republican establishment types who all wanted the rogue senator to endorse their chosen nominee. So much for Donald Trump being the “anti-establishment” candidate. But imagine a world in which Senator Ted Cruz had endorsed Trump. What would it be like to wake up in that world the morning after Ted Cruz’s endorsement speech? What follows is a headline and news story from the morning after the convention.
Ted Cruz Sells Out His Base!
In a completely unexpected move, Sen. Ted Cruz gave his official endorsement to the Republican nominee, Donald J. Trump, at last night’s Republican national convention. Cruz’s endorsement came as a surprise to his base of supporters who have continually viewed him as the true “anti-establishment” candidate. “We were very disappointed,” said Texas delegate Troy Johnson. “We expected Senator Cruz to stand by his principles and not sell them out for the sake of party unity. We thought we could trust him. Apparently we were wrong.”
Johnson is not alone in his disappointment. I spoke with a number of delegates from a variety of states who all expressed their frustration with the system and with the Republican Party. One delegate, who wished to remain anonymous, said, “I gave months of blood, sweat, and tears while working for the Cruz campaign to try and get Ted elected. I thought he was different. When he said that Donald Trump was dangerous, unstable, and unfit to be president of the United States, we believed that he was telling us the truth. Now it turns out, Senator Cruz is just like all the rest of these gutless politicians who will say or do anything that the Republican establishment demands.”
When Donald Trump initially asked Cruz to speak at the convention, there was no agreement between the two of them that Cruz would endorse Trump. Trump knew Cruz might not endorse and Cruz was under no obligation to do so. That is why this endorsement comes as such a surprise to everyone watching.
Republican Primary observers are well aware of the personal attacks that Trump hurled at Ted Cruz and his family. Trump tweeted out an unflattering picture of Heidi Cruz implying that she was ugly. When pressed on it, Trump denied that he meant anything by the tweet, only to reverse course hours later and defend, then excuse the tweet. On the eve of the Indiana primary, Donald Trump, slanderously circulated the rumor that Rafael Cruz was somehow involved with Lee Harvey Oswald in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Cruz’s endorsement of Trump can only be interpreted as a slight against his wife and his father. What kind of a man would endorse someone who attacked his family with such vitriol?
Some might argue that Cruz had signed a pledge to endorse the eventual Republican nominee. This was a pledge that Trump himself signed, and then immediately broke. In light of that, and Trump’s vicious attacks on Cruz’s family, nobody expected Cruz to endorse.
“This endorsement of Trump, though good for Trump, spells the end of Ted Cruz’s political career,” opined Newt Gingrich. “This will only be interpreted as a sellout of his base of supporters.”
Chairman Reince Priebus expressed his gratitude for the endorsement noting that “Cruz clearly put the party ahead of his own principles, and for that we are grateful.”
A couple hours after the Cruz endorsement, Donald Trump took to the microphone in a specially-called press conference. Trump responded: “I didn’t ask for the endorsement. I didn’t want the endorsement. Quite frankly, if he did not endorse me, it wouldn’t matter. This I can tell you, I didn’t ask for the endorsement. People told me to ask for the endorsement, but I didn’t. Ted endorsed me, okay? Everybody endorses me, okay? But it wouldn’t matter, it wouldn’t matter if he. . ., well, he did, but it wouldn’t matter if he didn’t. I don’t care. He is “lying Ted.” I told everyone during the primaries that Ted would say anything to get elected. Well, he is just endorsing me to save his own political career. He lost. He lost with evangelicals. He lost in the South. He is a loser. I don’t need his endorsement. I can win without it, because I’m a winner. I know how to win. I don’t need endorsements to build hotels. I don’t need endorsements to win the presidency. He gave his speech. It was a good speech. It wasn’t a great speech. It wasn’t a fantastic speech. But it was an okay speech. It was a good speech. My speech will be better. My son’s speech was fantastic. Ted’s speech wasn’t. But he endorsed. Nobody cares. Not a single person there was really listening to what he said, because nobody really believes anything that “lying Ted” says. He knew that if he didn’t endorse, his political career would be over.”
Ted Cruz, once a bright and shining star, has started to dim. The man who claims to be a champion of the Constitution has just endorsed a presidential candidate who seems to care nothing for the Constitution. Ted Cruz, like Bernie Sanders, is willing to sell out his principles to the highest bidder.