10

Cruz Endorses Trump

 

Well, he says he will vote for him.  Here is the text of what Cruz said:

 

This election is unlike any other in our nation’s history. Like many other voters, I have struggled to determine the right course of action in this general election.

 

In Cleveland, I urged voters, “please, don’t stay home in November. Stand, and speak, and vote your conscience, vote for candidates up and down the ticket whom you trust to defend our freedom and to be faithful to the Constitution.”

 

After many months of careful consideration, of prayer and searching my own conscience, I have decided that on Election Day, I will vote for the Republican nominee, Donald Trump.

 

I’ve made this decision for two reasons. First, last year, I promised to support the Republican nominee. And I intend to keep my word.

 

Second, even though I have had areas of significant disagreement with our nominee, by any measure Hillary Clinton is wholly unacceptable — that’s why I have always been #NeverHillary.

 

Six key policy differences inform my decision.

 

First, and most important, the Supreme Court. For anyone concerned about the Bill of Rights — free speech, religious liberty, the Second Amendment — the Court hangs in the balance. I have spent my professional career fighting before the Court to defend the Constitution. We are only one justice away from losing our most basic rights, and the next president will appoint as many as four new justices. We know, without a doubt, that every Clinton appointee would be a left-wing ideologue. Trump, in contrast, has promised to appoint justices “in the mold of Scalia.”

 

For some time, I have been seeking greater specificity on this issue, and today the Trump campaign provided that, releasing a very strong list of potential Supreme Court nominees — including Sen. Mike Lee, who would make an extraordinary justice — and making an explicit commitment to nominate only from that list. This commitment matters, and it provides a serious reason for voters to choose to support Trump.

 

Second, Obamacare. The failed healthcare law is hurting millions of Americans. If Republicans hold Congress, leadership has committed to passing legislation repealing Obamacare. Clinton, we know beyond a shadow of doubt, would veto that legislation. Trump has said he would sign it.

 

Third, energy. Clinton would continue the Obama administration’s war on coal and relentless efforts to crush the oil and gas industry. Trump has said he will reduce regulations and allow the blossoming American energy renaissance to create millions of new high-paying jobs.

 

Fourth, immigration. Clinton would continue and even expand President Obama’s lawless executive amnesty. Trump has promised that he would revoke those illegal executive orders.

 

Fifth, national security. Clinton would continue the Obama administration’s willful blindness to radical Islamic terrorism. She would continue importing Middle Eastern refugees whom the FBI cannot vet to make sure they are not terrorists. Trump has promised to stop the deluge of unvetted refugees.

 

Sixth, Internet freedom. Clinton supports Obama’s plan to hand over control of the Internet to an international community of stakeholders, including Russia, China, and Iran. Just this week, Trump came out strongly against that plan, and in support of free speech online.

 

These are six vital issues where the candidates’ positions present a clear choice for the American people.

 

If Clinton wins, we know — with 100% certainty — that she would deliver on her left-wing promises, with devastating results for our country.

 

My conscience tells me I must do whatever I can to stop that.

 

We also have seen, over the past few weeks and months, a Trump campaign focusing more and more on freedom — including emphasizing school choice and the power of economic growth to lift African-Americans and Hispanics to prosperity.

 

Finally, after eight years of a lawless Obama administration, targeting and persecuting those disfavored by the administration, fidelity to the rule of law has never been more important.

 

The Supreme Court will be critical in preserving the rule of law. And, if the next administration fails to honor the Constitution and Bill of Rights, then I hope that Republicans and Democrats will stand united in protecting our fundamental liberties.

 

Our country is in crisis. Hillary Clinton is manifestly unfit to be president, and her policies would harm millions of Americans. And Donald Trump is the only thing standing in her way.

 

A year ago, I pledged to endorse the Republican nominee, and I am honoring that commitment. And if you don’t want to see a Hillary Clinton presidency, I encourage you to vote for him.

Continue Reading

41

Exit Ted Cruz: For Now

 

Only Trump knows why he decided to give a prime time slot to Ted Cruz when he knew, based upon an advance copy of his speech, that Cruz would not endorse him.  It might well be a final sign of contempt for a defeated adversary who Trump believes is now harmless.  “Let him say what he wants”, Trump might have thought, “what do I care?”

As for Cruz after the personal attacks that Trump had made against his wife and father, he could not endorse Trump. He plans to run in 2020.  He knows that there are two possible outcomes in the fall.  If Trump loses he will not be associated with what most Republicans will then regard as a mad episode in the history of their party.  If Trump wins, Cruz likely assumes that his Presidency would be a train wreck of epic proportion and that if Trump runs again he will be vulnerable in the 2020 primaries. Continue Reading

34

Ted Cruz Talks to A Trump Supporter

 

Ted Cruz talks to a Trump supporter.  Cruz is intelligent and patient, the Trump supporter, like his candidate, is ignorant, obnoxious and belligerent.  If Cruz loses tomorrow in Indiana then Trump will be the Republican nominee.  If Cruz wins, it is likely that Trump will not win on the first ballot and he probably will not be the nominee.  It all comes down to the Hoosier State.

7

Who Is the Buddy of the GOP Establishment?

 

cbs_lucifer_cruz

 

One of the frustrating thing about this campaign for sentient observers is the absurd claim of the crony capitalist Donald Trump to be an outsider running against the establishment.  John Boehner, former Speaker of the House, put paid to that notion yesterday:

A few months ago I asked a Washington insider for the scoop on Ted Cruz. His first words were, “No one likes Ted.” Well, John Boehner certainly doesn’t:

The longtime Ohio powerhouse had not been very outspoken on the race since retiring last year, but he held little back when asked about the Texas senator and underdog GOP presidential candidate during a forum at Stanford University.

“I have Democrat friends and Republican friends. I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life,” he said, according to The Stanford Daily.

Boehner also called Cruz “Lucifer in the flesh.” Trump, on the other hand, he described as a “texting buddy.” Continue Reading

19

Ted Cruz Names Carly Fiorina as Veep Running Mate

 

Taking a tip from Ronald Reagan’s playbook, Ted Cruz names Carly Fiorina as his running mate.  Back in 1976 Reagan was behind Ford.  Prior to the Republican convention he named Senator Richard Schweiker (R.Pa) as his running mate.  Schweiker was a moderate Republican, although a strong pro-lifer.  Reagan came close to taking the nomination away from Ford at the convention.  Interestingly, Schweiker’s voting record became much more conservative thereafter.  In 1981 President Reagan appointed him as Secretary of HHS.

So, will this work?  Quien sabe?  It will get Cruz a lot of publicity going into the crucial Indiana primary.  Fiorina is an articulate and tough campaigner, and she should be getting intensive coverage for the next few weeks.  Trump, in the truly classless manner that he normally displays, will probably go over the top in his attacks against Fiorina.  All in all, I like the move.  It is unusual, but when you are behind doing the usual is a recipe for slow defeat.   Better to be bold and do the unexpected.

11

The Solid South Goes for Trump

Donald Trump’s clean sweep of southeastern states has taken many pundits by surprise, but it shouldn’t have. Trump’s performance in the south among evangelical voters is actually quite in keeping with the strain of evangelical conservatism prevalent in the bible belt.

Many moons ago in a prior blogging life I wrote a multi-part series detailing the different strands of American conservatism, and reading it now I may have forecasted the rise of Trump. First, I noted a type of conservatism (cranky conservatism) that seems to typify the Trump voter.

On the other end of the spectrum, the paleo-conservatives and crankycons seem to hate everything.  And yet they are most comfortable with populist schemes that betray the Framers’ original plans.  Their anti-elitism runs so deep that they would bequeath to the masses enormous power.  Their enemies are the ghouls in the academies with their fancy ideas.  But while they would have you believe that they are the true inheritors of the conservative mantle, their philosophy is a deep betrayal of the republican tradition.  Their ultimate designs are no less radical than the hated neocons they so regularly disparage.

Sounds like a typical Trump supporter to me.

As related to religion and conservatism, this is what I wrote back in 2005 (please ignore the horrible misspelling of hear as “here”):

Traditional conservatism is generally less concerned about the temporal world.  This strain of conservatism dates to Augustine, who saw utopian schemes for the foolishness that they were.  Thus, it should come as no surprise that the intellectual impetus behind this brand usually comes from the Roman Catholic Church, or its near neighbors in the Episcopalian version.  Buckley, Kirk, Ponnuru, Reagan: all thinkers who are Catholic or whose religion was close to that of Roman Catholicism.  This is no mere coincidence.

We here a lot about religion and the conservative movement, and indeed religion has played a crucial role in all conservative parties throughout the world.  But what many fail to understand, principally because they fail to understand Christianity is that there are crucial differences in the religious outlook of Evangelicals and Catholics, and these differences play out in the political world.  The steadfast pessimism of the Catholic faith is mirrored in the political outlook of most conservative Catholics.  They see this as a fallen world.  And while we should strive to make this world as good as we can, our expectations for the temporal world should not be so high.  Consequently, we should not put much stock in government and its ability to change the world.

I am not as well-versed in Evangelical religion to speak authoritatively, but it seems to me that the Evangelicals are much more optimistic about reshaping this earthly realm.  Their fervor for conversion seeps into their political consciousness, thus they have grander visions for reform than does the Catholic conservative.

It would be easy to simply paint as the essential demarcation in conservative thought as the interplay between Catholic and Evangelical theology.  It would be easy because it is essentially correct.  We share many of the same values, but at some point there is a rift in our fundamental vision of the government because there is a fundamental rift in our theological outlook.  That is not to say that all Catholics are all of a particular political stripe, and all Evangelicals of another.  But if one wants to understand the divergence in American conservative thought, there would be worse starting points than this examination of the difference between Catholicism and Evangelical religion.

None of the developments of the previous decade has changed my thinking on these matters. To be sure, not all Evangelicals are utopian, nor are all Catholic conservatives necessarily fierce opponents of “big government.” Indeed the lone remaining standard bearer of traditional conservatism is Ted Cruz, a fervent Evangelical himself. Yet the populist appeal of Trump in the south indicates there is something to this distinction. Meanwhile Cruz has done better in the southwest and midwest, areas of the country that have a more libertarian hue and better represent the traditional strain of conservatism.

Contrary to the narrative, this primary is far from over. Trump is likely to be the nominee, but Cruz still has a fighting chance. This is the ultimate showdown of the two types of conservatism I detailed many years ago. Regardless of who wins, I believe we’re just seeing the beginnings of a much fiercer war for the heart of conservatism.

23

National Review Endorses Ted Cruz

No doubt this will only embolden a portion of you to oppose Ted Cruz all the more, but NR’s editorial endorsing Cruz lays out, with eloquence, the case for Cruz (and saves me a lot of time writing).

We supported Cruz’s campaign in 2012 because we saw in him what conservatives nationwide have come to see as well. Cruz is a brilliant and articulate exponent of our views on the full spectrum of issues. Other Republicans say we should protect the Constitution. Cruz has actually done it; indeed, it has been the animating passion of his career. He is a strong believer in the liberating power of free markets, including free trade (notwithstanding the usual rhetorical hedges). His skepticism about “comprehensive immigration reform” is leading him to a realism about the impact of immigration that has been missing from our policymaking and debate. He favors a foreign policy based on a hard-headed assessment of American interests, one that seeks to strengthen our power but is mindful of its limits. He forthrightly defends religious liberty, the right to life of unborn children, and the role of marriage in connecting children to their parents — causes that reduce too many other Republicans to mumbling.

That forthrightness is worth emphasizing. Conservatism should not be merely combative; but especially in our political culture, it must be willing to be controversial. Too many Republicans shrink from this implication of our creed. Not Cruz. And this virtue is connected to others that primary voters should keep in mind. Conservatives need not worry that Cruz will be tripped up by an interview question, or answer it with mindless conventional wisdom when a better answer is available. We need rarely worry, either, that his stumbling words will have to be recast by aides and supporters later. Neither of those things could be said about a lot of Republican nominees over the years.

Of course the Trump forces will just say that this is proof that Ted Cruz is really a member of the Establishment (as indeed one wag on Twitter suggested immediately upon seeing this news), but basically anyone who doesn’t think Donald Trump is the Messiah is deemed to be part of the evil Establishment by Trump supporters.

29

And Then There Was, Let’s Face it, One

There have been roughly 456,343,455 articles written explaining the Trump phenomenon. My estimate might be off by one or two, but it’s in the ballpark. While I’ve long maintained that Trump is the most inappropriate vehicle possible for those who rightly feel dissatisfied with the Republican party, to me the anger expressed in the pro-Trump movement is entirely justified.

You would think by now that Republican party boosters would have a firm grasp on the political culture in which we’re operating in. Alas, based on the continued intransigence of a certain subset of the #NeverTrump movement, it is clear that they are as pigheaded and foolish as any Trump supporter.

#NeverTrump, for those of you who (smartly) don’t use Twitter, is a hashtag to express the solidarity of a movement that not only seeks to deny Trump the nomination, but which has also indicated its unwillingness to support Trump in the general election, no matter what. This group – and I am or was a part of this movement – has advocated strategic voting meant to deny Trump the ability to win the needed delegates before the GOP convention to secure the nomination. Many anti-Trumpsters advocated strategic voting wherein people voted for non-Trump candidates that were not necessarily their first choice but who had better chances in select states. So, for example, Cruz supporters should back Rubio in Florida, while Rubio backers were advised to go with Cruz in Louisiana.

We are now nearly two-fifths of the way trough the primary season, and it has become manifestly obvious to all but the most strident of Rubio and John “let them bake cakes” Kasich boosters than Ted Cruz is the only viable option to Donald Trump. Cruz has now won six states, and finished ahead of Trump in another. He has, moreover, won in the northeast, the northwest, and the heartland. In other words, the GOP electorate is coalescing around Cruz, while Rubio and Kasich struggle to even win enough votes to garner delegates. Cruz continues to poll the strongest against Trump, and regularly maintains an advantage in a two-man race.

Unfortunately Rubio supporters have acted much like Homer Simpson chasing the pig in the clip above. They deny the reality of the situation, and instead insist on strategic voting despite evidence that such a strategy will, at best, simply deny Trump getting the required 1,237 delegates. If this strategy works we’re left with a nominee being selected at the convention. If that nominee is anyone other than Donald Trump (unless it’s someone like Cruz who garners a similar amount of delegates during the primary season), then the result would be just as disastrous for the long-term future of the Republican party as a Trump outright win in the primary.

Considering the mood of the electorate – Democrat and Republican alike – a brokered convention that nominates Marco Rubio or, even worse, John Kasich, would completely turn off not just Trump supporters, but a fair number of other voters as well. Sure, it would be within the rules (as people are fond of repeating), but such a nominee – again, if it’s someone who didn’t have at least 1,000 or so delegates going into the convention – would be utterly damaged. Whatever your opinion of Trump supporters, completely turning them off and making them feel disenfranchised is an awfully stupid election strategy.

No, this thing needs to get settled in the primary, and the only two men who can win the Republican nomination outright are Ted Cruz and Donald Trump. Rubio backers have relied to a great extent on the argument that Marco Rubio is the most electable Republican in the general election. This argument from pragmatism – which is dubious to begin with – is countered by another pragmatic reality: Rubio is not nominateable. Neither is Kasich. It’s over for them, and any process that gives them a nomination through the back door of a contested convention will damage any general election chance they have.

So if you live in Ohio, Michigan, or Florida, and you don’t want Donald Trump to be the nominee, here’s your strategic play: vote for Ted Cruz.

NB: Rubio backers might argue with some credibility that Rubio’s poor numbers are due to strategic voting. While I can’t deny that there might be something to this, it’s hard to believe that the enormous gap between Cruz  and Rubio/Kasich is due to any great extent to Rubio/Kasich backers voting strategically. Voters are not quite that sophisticated.

12

Palmetto Pitfight

Trump-Rubio-Cruz-AP-640x423

 

An early evening.  Trump wins with a third of the vote, which appears to be his ceiling.  Rubio and Cruz are battling for second place with each of them approximately at 20%.  A good night for Rubio in that he gets back into the top three.  A bad night for Cruz in that South Carolina was a state made for him to win, or at least be a close second.  Kasich and Bush are each at nine percent and Carson is at 6%.  Jeb Bush spent a huge amount of money in South Carolina.  Back in 2000 his brother won soundly against McCain after McCain won in New Hampshire, putting Bush in front for the nomination.  History did not repeat itself for the Bush family, South Carolina this time underlining that Jeb Bush has no chance for the nomination.  Jeb hates Trump and I expect him to drop out and endorse Rubio.  I expect that Carson will soon do the same.

On the Democrat side there are no results in South Carolina as the Democrats hold their primary next week.  In the Nevada caucuses, Clinton squeaks by with 52% of the vote.  The Republicans hold their caucus on February 23.

Bottom line:  a good night for Trump, a bad night for Cruz and perhaps a great night for Rubio if both Bush and Carson swiftly drop out and endorse him.  A meh night for Clinton as she remains locked in a tight battle with Sanders, and a good night for Sanders as he remains locked in a tight battle with Clinton.

 

Update:  Well that didn’t take long.  In his concession speech Jeb Bush just announced he is “suspending” his campaign.