On Friday, Ted Cruz made an announcement that many found surprising, if not shocking. He announced that he is finally endorsing Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
After a bitter primary which involved from Cruz’s perspective involved Trump leveling outlandish insults and accusations against two people who are most dear to Cruz — his wife and his father — and after delivering a speech to his supporters at the Republican National Convention implying that he would never endorse the Republican nominee, Ted Cruz finally caved. You can read Cruz’s complete endorsement here.
Cruz’s endorsement will benefit neither Trump nor Cruz for two major reasons — among some notable others:
From Cruz’s perspective, there is theoretical gain which is very unlikely to become a reality. No one can argue with a straight face that Cruz endorsed Trump solely for Cruz’s benefit. Setting aside this endorsement, Cruz did not become the most unpopular man in the U.S. Senate by doing anyone any favors or having any loyalties to anyone. He has time and again acted only when it benefits him and without regard to any collateral damage.
Knowing his general character, and looking at the current political landscape, Cruz thinks that he would benefit more by endorsing Trump than not. It is no secret that Cruz wants to make another run for the White House. He has said time and again that Trump is not going to be able to win the general election. He continues to believe that Trump is going to lose. He is simply placing himself in the best position for a run in 2020.
Cruz believes that by endorsing Trump, he will be able to take advantage of Trump’s support and that of the voters who have displayed such loyalty to him this election season. That thinking is misguided. If Trump loses, at best, Cruz can expect tacit support from Trump come 2020, as Trump too has never done anything for anyone but himself. The prospect of campaigning and getting his current supporters to make it to the polls for Ted Cruz is simply not realistic. True, anything can happen, but this one is as likely as a comet colliding with the earth.
The only real chance that Cruz has to benefit from Trump in 2020 is if Trump starts an Alt Right media outlet with Steve Bannon and his ilk. In that situation, Cruz will benefit from favorable reporting. However, that will likely not translate into votes. Keep in mind that Trump’s primary strategy was to energize these fringe individuals who do not typically vote into becoming voters. It is unlikely that they will be as excited about Cruz’s brand of politics as they are for Trump’s.
And as to Reince Priebus’s not so veiled threat that anyone who does not get in line will not have the party’s support in future elections, not only is that a hollow threat, but Ted Cruz is the one person who really does not need to worry about that issue. After all, he was only second behind Trump as the most hated presidential candidate as far as the RNC was concerned. Besides, Reince Priebus is the last person to make a credible threat along these lines. After all, he is the only person from the Republican leadership who appears at Trump’s side. The bottom line is that under Priebus’s ‘leadership’ the primary went exactly the opposite of what the RNC wanted — the two most hated candidates were numbers one and two when all the votes were counted. Assuming that Priebus will even be the chair four years from now, he will be as inept as stopping Cruz as he was this cycle, and once the voting is done, he will be the first to run to the side of the victor.
Looking at this endorsement from Donald Trump’s side, the Cruz endorsement is virtually worthless as well. To begin with, consider when Cruz even officially issued his endorsement — Friday afternoon. That is the time any media savvy person releases bad news because it gets the least coverage. That does not mean that the Cruz endorsement was not widely covered — it was. However, it was released at a time when it would receive the least coverage.
Ted Cruz being Ted Cruz is going to do the absolute minimum to get the benefits he thinks he is going to get from this endorsement. The endorsement itself was more an anti-Hillary endorsement that a pro-Trump one. The only way that he will do any legitimate campaigning for Donald Trump is if there is a huge carrot or a big stick. Otherwise, he will do as all other elected officials who have endorsed Trump have done. He will just stay at home and silent.
There is nothing that Ted Cruz would like more than to see Donald Trump soundly defeated in November — and that would be true if Trump had not made personal attacks against him.
Trump may win the election, but it will not be because of Ted Cruz’s endorsement or his help. If anything, Trump will have to win the election in spite of Ted Cruz, not because of him.
The thoughts and opinions expressed here are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of Citizen Slant.