Last night Ted Cruz turned into a political suicide bomber. It was some crazy shit.
Clinton News Network (CNN):
Ted Cruz sensationally withheld an endorsement of Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention Wednesday, earning a chorus of boos from the floor before he was upstaged in a power play by the GOP nominee himself.
Well, not exactly.
In a dramatic development, as Cruz wrapped up his speech, Trump suddenly appeared in the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. He walked to join his family in a VIP area and flashed a thumbs-up — a gesture that transmitted clear anger at the Texas senator’s behavior.
Cruz, his party’s runner-up, uttered Trump’s name just once — to congratulate him — and instead pitched the ideological brand of conservatism that endears him to the GOP’s base.
“I congratulate Donald Trump on winning the nomination last night,” Cruz said. “And like each of you, I want to see the principles that our party believes prevail in November.”
But as it was clear Cruz was going to end his speech without endorsing Trump, delegates began to boo and some chanted “We want Trump!”
“Don’t stay home in November,” Cruz said toward the end of his otherwise very well-received speech. “Stand and speak and vote your conscience.”
That’s when the shit hit the fan.
Let’s back up a little bit.
There I was, minding my own business. The SF Giants had come back from an 8-run deficit by scoring seven unanswered runs against the Boston Red Sox. Suddenly, Twitter and the comment section here at TCH both exploded. The general consensus was that Ted Cruz had done a bad thing.
Let’s get this straight – the crowd at the GOP convention in Cleveland did not boo Ted Cruz merely because he refused to endorse Donald Trump. And contrary to what you may see or hear in other places, the crowd was mostly positive and did not boo until Cruz uttered the words “vote your conscience.”
Last but not least, none of the people who booed Ted Cruz in Cleveland or while watching from home is bothered by the concept of letting your conscience guide your decisions. There are other principles involved here.
It is traditional in our two-party system for the losers of primary races to endorse the winner. In fact, you could argue that there is an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing that all the participants will play by the rules and accept the outcome.
In this case there is an express covenant that was signed by all 18 candidates pledging that they would support the eventual nominee. Last night, Ted Cruz broke that pledge.
One of the things that people despise about politicians is that they don’t keep their word. I have no doubt that if Ted Cruz (or Jeb) had won the nomination they would expect Trump’s support. The only justification for breaking that pledge would be if there was some material breach of the covenant such as voting fraud, cheating or a bogus ruling by the rules and bylaws committee.
Being a sore loser is not grounds to break your pledge. Neither is ambition and/or the intention to run again in 2020 or 2024.
Some supporters of Ted Cruz and the other losers were looking to block Trump’s nomination by asking for a rule change that would allow delegates to ignore the wishes of the voters who the delegates were elected to represent. They hoped that this so-called “conscience rule” would open the door to an alternate candidate.
The proposed rule change was rejected.
So when Ted Cruz said “vote your conscience” he was telling people they should not vote for Trump. The instant he said it the crowd got it. That’s why they began to boo.
Ted Cruz is a treacherous snake. But he badly misjudged both the number and intensity of his followers. This often happens when you live in an echo chamber surrounded by yes men and sychophants. He also misjudged Donald Trump and Trump’s supporters.
Instead of launching the next phase of his political career Ted Cruz committed hari kari. I doubt he’ll even win the GOP nomination when he runs for reelection to the Senate. Stick a fork in him, he’s done.