When Ted Cruz stood before the Republican National Convention and told us to vote our conscience, we had every reason to think Trump would lose in a landslide. The political risk was minimal, and no one would hold his non-endorsement against him in 2018 or 2020. It was easy to stand on principle.
When the polls tightened, the political calculus changed. If Trump lost a close race, Republicans would hold a grudge against Cruz, making it more difficult for him to keep his Senate seat in 2018 and run for president in 2020.
If Trump won…well, nevermind. Trump isn’t going to win, and Cruz knows that.
I think Trump will lose in a bloodbath. If the polls show Hillary up 5 or 6, in reality, she’s likely up 8 or 9. Even if Trump keeps it close, Cruz just made it tougher to point fingers his way. He’s hedging his bet, and this wasn’t so much an endorsement of Trump as a rejection of Hillary. It wasn’t the slobberfest we got from Carson, Christie, Gingrich, and a few others.
I understand the logic behind Cruz’ decision. I’m still disappointed, but I guess it’s better to live to fight another day than die on your sword. Cruz is still the most conservative candidate we are likely to have in 2020.