For many, Ted Cruz’s annoucement that he was endorsing Donald Trump was perhaps as worse as a Trump win in November itself. Cruz was the last left standing against an unserious, corrupt, non-conservative that had hijacked this election cycle. On Friday, Cruz caved, and did what many said he would never do.
But why are we surprised at Ted’s announcement?
When the sun dawned on this race for the White House way back in 2015, I had my hopes up. Eight years of Obama would finally be coming to an end. We had a chance to not just win, but finish well (two entirely different things), and place an experienced conservative leader in the seat that had been occupied by a social justice warrior for too long. I was firmly in the Scott Walker camp, and was enthusiastic about the governor’s chances. But after 71 days, Walker was out. No matter what was left on the long road ahead, I knew the election would not end the way I had originally wished it would.
Of all the Republican candidates this election cycle, there has been an aura of the “holy” surrounding Ted Cruz. He was the principled conservative, after all. His brilliance, knowledge, and effective, preacher-like, conviction-filled communication style made him the golden boy among the real conservative (aka non-Trump) set. Although roughly the same age as Marco Rubio, Cruz seemed much older and, to some, more deserving of the nomination. Combine all these factors together, and you had the makings of one of the best candidates to come along in several election cycles. For many, he was “the one”.
It is for these and other reasons that Friday’s endorsement of Trump causes such grief among the ranks. Cruz was the best of the bunch who positioned himself opposite of Donald Trump. He was the “courageous conservative” unafraid of standing not only against Hillary Clinton, but against any in his own party whose past and present policies weren’t truly conservative.
But while admiring those attributes, conservatives seem to have forgotten one thing: Ted is a politician.
While chastising the MAGA crew for their Trump love, those who count themselves as enemies of Donald made their own celebrity out of the second place finisher. And now, they’re feeling sorrow over it. Though celebrity and politics shouldn’t mix, more often than not they do. We view politicians in many ways. Often, we see them as more evil than the regular person. Sometimes they surprise us and promote legislation or make public declarations which promote the things we hold dear. There’s a sense of pride, and awe, when those in power advance the causes we care about.
But they are still politicians.
Ted Cruz understood what he had to lose with his endorsement of Trump. But more important to him, he knew what he could gain. Donald Trump isn’t entirely unpopular, if you can tell. He is liked. The polls are getting tighter. I am sure a large amount of those that can count themselves among the Cruz Crew won’t be voting for Trump. However, Ted Cruz’s case for endorsement (Hillary is worse) is enough of a reason for many voters to abandon their Cruz crush and support Donald.
A “party over pride” choice is what Ted Cruz appears to have done. Appearances are everything. Cruz is looking ahead to the future, and decided his political career would be best suited by cozying up to the GOP nominee. In reality, Cruz is setting politics above principle. The “principled and courageous conservative” is trading it all in for the security that comes from instant support of Trump fans.