While the Trump campaign begins making moves further to the left now that he has all but wrapped up the GOP nomination, those conservatives of the “Never Trump” crowd are far from the healing process. Every time the GOP nominee flips left on an issue such as the federal minimum wage, or appoints another lifetime liberal to his staff, those who oppose him from the right dig another trench in what is bound to be a long fight. At the same time, the phase of denial is turning to melancholy for some on the right as they have begun looking for representation in other places – any other place. Volumes of conservatives are characterizing with Reagan who once said of the Democratic Party – “the party left me”.
As is often the case with depression, the narrowed focus must be adjusted in order to see the world differently in order to recover. Let us then modify our attention to some realities that aren’t easily seen in the midst of what has become the world of Trump. I’m going to write 8 alternative foci to help you in this process.
- We had great candidates. – Consider for a moment that our “conservative crop” wasn’t Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum (though he was “there”), Herman Cain, and Fred Thompson. We had Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio. On any other year having even one of them as a legitimate contender in the GOP nomination would be a small victory. We had 3.
- The GOP establishment candidates were defeated. –Now I know we got Trump who might be worse than a GOPe guy, but Christie, Bush, and even Rubio lost because of their establishment ties. The two leading contenders were loathed by the establishment leaders.
- We got our civil war within the party. –For years (nay, decades), conservatives have felt betrayed by the GOPe. The party belongs to grass roots conservatism, but the GOPe never allowed true conservatives into party leadership. They always joined forces in order to keep conservatives down and the party platform milquetoast. Transitioning into a truly conservative party was never going to be pretty or easy – especially with so many entrenched in the system. However, the proverbial line has been drawn in the sand and now even the establishment doesn’t know what side to jump to. We have ourselves a war for the party – shots have been fired.
- Cruz raised more money than everyone else. – A lot more! This means something and will mean even more going forward as the GOP starts losing donors. After the disastrous Nixon-Watergate presidency, the GOP was broke and had a hard time funding Ford (and others). The establishment was, among other reasons, forced to get on board with Reagan for the money he was able to raise. Trump isn’t a fundraiser. In fact, it has been part of his appeal. It’s doubtful that his main supporters are willing to dish out for him.
- Cruz got out just in time. – I believe it to be calculated. Had he held on (for no good reason) and gone to the convention and lost, then I believe the longer battle would have been lost. Instead, he retreated to return reinforced. Allowing Trump and his supporters to have their day only to end in what I believe will be a decisive defeat allows for Cruz as an alternative. This brings us to the next point.
- Should Trump fail, Cruz is the presumptive nominee for 2020. – When was the last time we had a true conservative as the presumptive nominee? The answer is 1980. We’ve had Romney, Giuliani/McCain, Bush, Bush and Dole. All were presumptive because the GOPe told us they were. That will not be the case for Cruz. He will be the presumptive nominee in spite of them. Further, they will have little to offer as an alternative.
- Hillary will be his opponent in 2020. – On any other year, having Hillary Clinton as the nominee for the democrats would be a gift. Few people enrage the right in this nation like HRC; a fact the GOP knows well as they’ve raised millions off of her in the past. Not only will she be the candidate, but she is sure to have 4 years of fumbling. The contrast between she and Cruz will be stark.
- The rising stars in the Republican Party are not the moderates. – They are conservatives. Perhaps why our crop of presidents was so good this year. The RINO swamp is drying up; Kasich being one of those relics. This is in part due to the fact that liberals have won the NE (and California) so handedly. Getting the Rockefeller type republicans has almost no appeal to the GOP anymore. We aren’t going to win NY and California any time soon. Republicans like Christie, Giuliani, and Trump may have advantages winning the nomination, but they won’t ever win the liberal states in the general election. This is why I disagree with Jeffrey Lord at Joemiller.us.
So let’s discuss this point and close. “There was no question in my mind that Donald Trump could carry Ted Cruz’s home state of Texas. There was considerable question whether Ted Cruz could carry Donald Trump’s home state of New York. This cannot – must not – be ignored.” While it is true that Trump MAY win Texas against Hillary, he certainly won’t win New York against her. This puts Trump in the same exact boat as Cruz in the Electoral College Sea. Even if Trump were to get a greater percentage of votes in the Big Blue states, he won’t win them. Where Mr. Lord is correct is that Cruz does need to expand his appeal to people living in bluish states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, Michigan, etc.
Unfortunately too many are picking their candidate based on who they think appeals to the most people (who can win) without actually considering the principle. We should appeal on principle. Reagan didn’t collapse on his principles when he took 48 states in 1980; he appealed to the people with his non-wavering, consistent, and well-communicated conservative ideology.
This is where Cruz needs to do a better job. Certainly, he did a better job than most in recent history. Cruz was, however, facing an unprecedented foe. Donald Trump was a non-stop attention whore who had every ratings whore outlet at his call. Worse, he stole Cruz’ philosophies and sold a cheaper knockoff at a lower price; thus comprehensive immigration reform became “make Mexico pay for a wall”. He is quite the business man.
Cruz needs to stand firm on the party platform and expand his delivery methods over the next four years. In my view, this isn’t the end of Ted Cruz, but the beginning of a movement he can lead. He has four years, not only to campaign for office, but to campaign for conservatism. Chin up friends and continue the fight.
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