Cruz vs. Rubio Hindsight in the Dark Days of Trump

For those of us who have been paying attention during this election cycle, the Rubio-Cruz drama remains vivid. As we near an election day in which Donald Trump is the actual GOP nominee, the days of infighting between two legitimate conservatives now seem absurd, don’t they?

After my preferred candidate, Scott Walker, left the race, I quickly threw my support behind Rubio. Walker’s exit was unfortunate, since governors make the best presidents, in my opinion. But we quickly learned that 2016, at least from this side of the aisle, is all about charisma and crassness. Voters who lean (R) are suddenly looking like Obama voters from 2008 and 2012. Some can’t stomach that truth.

As Trump was continuing to rack up primary victories, there remained a deep division among those who supported Rubio and those who supported Cruz, the only two (apart from Trump) who really had any shot at becoming the nominee. The divide was vicious and filled with attacks, strange accusations, and some legitimate grievances. I guess the mood from both sides was desperate as they saw the disastrous, embarrassing Donald Trump suddenly lead the pack.

Emotions continued to boil over until Rubio dropped out following the Florida primary loss. Suddenly we were left with Cruz and Trump. While plenty of Rubio supporters obligingly backed Cruz, many did not. Their loyalty to Rubio just couldn’t be shaken. Once Cruz was gone, reality began to sink in. This is who we are left with? Donald Trump??

There are many lessons from Election 2016, and this is one of them: actual conservative candidates should always receive our support. No, this is not a watered-down version of the ludicrous “lesser of two evils” argument used by plenty of voters who now support Trump. This has everything to do with placing principle above party, or, in this case, above person.

For my part, I was annoyed at some of Cruz’s antics and what I believed to be low blows aimed at Rubio. But, lest we forget, all of these candidates were/are politicians. Even those who had never been politicians were suddenly acting the part. They were all being interviewed for the job of obtaining our votes. The frustrations I had with Cruz, and the frustrations others had with Rubio, became the focus until we realized, perhaps too late, that an incompetent fool and his minions had hijacked the party. I think many of us believed it wouldn’t actually happen. We clearly thought better of the voters on the Right than they deserved.

Even now (I keep seeing it on social media), some remain entrenched in their respective belief that Cruz is horrible, and ruined it for Rubio, or vice versa. Instead of acting like emotional preteens, they need to realize that their “perfect” candidate never actually existed, and their obsession may have kept an imperfect, but actually conservative, choice from rising to the top.