Post-Convention Cruz


DecisionTreeLet us assume, for the sake of argument, that Ted Cruz is not the GOP nominee for the presidential election. What does he do? This breaks into two, interlinked, questions: what does he do between the convention and November, and what does he do after the election?

If Trump is the GOP nominee, then Cruz could:

  • Actively support him in the general (and there is that pledge to think about)
  • Actively oppose him in the general (at the limit, running a third-party campaign — but I don’t see it)
  • Seek to avoid doing either thing, for example concentrating on supporting down-ballot candidates (“I’m not here to talk about Donald, I’m here to talk about my good friend Homer, who will be the best darn dog-catcher Springfield has ever seen!”)

(If Trump is not the GOP nominee, then presumably the first option would be favored.)

Whether Trump, Clinton, Sanders, Ryan, Mattis, Boehner, or Kasich is President, Sen. Cruz will presumably continue his course as a principled constitutional conservative dedicated to the transparent administration of government with a view to keeping his promises to his constituents.

Or will he?

Having been the last best hope of the bitter-ender #NeverTrumpers, including the establishment groupuscule of that faction, Cruz may feel he has some favors in the bank he can use. But for what? A congressional leadership position? Perhaps. A seat on the Supreme Court? Doesn’t seem nearly ambitious enough. A place as the anointed next-in-line come 2020/2024? Four and eight years is a long time. A talk-show? While traditional, this doesn’t seem to play to his (evident) organizational strengths. A real kingmaker, in the way Palin never became? Seems hard to arrange in such a fluid political climate; and to what further end?

What should Ted do? And how does he get to do it?

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  1. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake

    James Of England: Those in Washington who say that they dislike Cruz often claim that it is because he defeats conservative reform and makes conservative success less likely. Is it not possible that these people’s stated motivations are genuine?

    I do believe their stated motives can be genuine, yes. People have genuine disagreements about which tactics end up working best.

    James Of England:It can also turn to hate when genuinely treasured achievements are endangered….

    If you’ve spent your life working toward, say, the reduction in the Bureau of Indian Affairs budget, or the reduction of barriers to free trade, or the protection of the military from civilian legal norms, then having a leading Republican mess with your dreams can be more than a little frustrating.

    This is also true, and coupled with the fact that not everyone agrees on tactics, shows, I think, that there’s a certain amount of tragedy built into trying to do the right thing, or even just being on the same team.

    It’s not surprising that people who share a common goal, but who disagree on tactics, can sometimes end up sabotaging each others’ efforts.

    Moreover, scenarios are possible where each teammate believes in good faith that the other teammate’s tactics are inferior and should be abandoned for the good of the team. I believe I see this happening often in political arguments, even just on this site, and the tragedy is compounded by the fact that it’s apparently possible for the same new information to update people’s prior beliefs in a divergent fashion – more new data in common does not always equal more agreement. “Queer uses for probability theory” indeed!

    We see that divergence of opinions is readily explained by probability theory as logic, and that it is to be expected when persons have widely different prior information. But where was the error in the reasoning that led us to conjecture (5.20) [conjecture 5.20 is “that, whatever the new information D, [D] should tend to bring different people into closer agreement with each other”]? We committed a subtle form of the mind projection fallacy by supposing that the relation ‘D supports S’ is an absolute property of the propositions D and S. We need to recognize the relativity of it; whether D does or does not support S depends on our prior information. The same D that supports S for one person may refute it for another. As soon as we recognize this, then we no longer expect anything like (5.20) to hold in general.

    • #31
  2. Quinn the Eskimo Member
    Quinn the Eskimo

    A lot of Cruz’s thinking is going to hinge on the likely future of the conservative movement.  If he thinks the future belongs to what Trump represents, I expect he is nice enough to Trump before going on to being the heir to Jesse Helms in the Senate.  That is, he is an ideological spokesman and some who (for good or ill) casts the lone vote on 99-1 issues.  But I don’t see any near term openings for advancement for him, other than maybe governor of Texas.

    If Cruz thinks that Trump is more of a blip, then he does the barest minimum for Trump and tries to be there to pick up the pieces, though he’ll have competition.

    Put simply, if what we traditionally think of as the conservative movement is not significant at the end of this election cycle, then Cruz isn’t going to be all that significant.

    • #32
  3. Mendel Inactive

    genferei:If Trump is the GOP nominee, then Cruz could:

    • Actively support him in the general (and there is that pledge to think about)
    • Actively oppose him in the general (at the limit, running a third-party campaign — but I don’t see it)
    • Seek to avoid doing either thing, for example concentrating on supporting down-ballot candidates

    Actually, I think there is a fourth, and more likely, option:

    Cruz politely and formally endorses Trump (perhaps at the convention?), doesn’t lend much active support to Trump, but occasionally goes on TV or makes a speech with some boilerplate about how we “need to unite against Hillary Clinton” or somesuch.

    The problem is this: before he became this cycle’s “thinking man’s conservative” candidate, Cruz was also something of a populist barnburner. He needs at least some major share of the Trump constituency for his own future political ambitions. So why needlessly tick them off?

    • #33
  4. Tim Wright Inactive
    Tim Wright

    Would like to see the organization Cruz and Mercer built continue. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was actually a genuine conservative precinct organization in this country? I don’t think Cruz can win the nomination this year so the advice to formally endorse trump and then campaign for down ballot candidates is excellent. What’s needed is not one excellent candidate, but an actual organization.

    BTW, it wasn’t Cruz who put out those awful ads featuring trumps wife. Blame that on Liz Mair who I hope never gets another job in politics ever again.


    • #34
  5. Tyler Boliver Inactive
    Tyler Boliver


    Cruz flooded my state with emails depicting an almost nude photograph of Trump’s wife the day before with a very snarky “who wants this as their First Lady …..Vote for Ted Cruz” so what did Cruz expect? The photo (taken decades ago for a British GQ) did not offend me and Cruz already had a majority in Utah so it was just a nasty political ploy. I see Cruz as more of a political opportunist than you do so I think he will try and ingratiate himself with the Republican nominee as he did early in the process.

    That’s all well and good for your personal opinion, but you are overlooking simple reality of the question here. Ted Cruz is a 45 year old ambitious man. A man who understands political history better then some professors of the field. His has an interest in the history of the conservative movement, especially the political story of Ronald Reagan.

    Ted Cruz is not going to go down with the ship, he is going to be there on the side line saying “I told you so” once Trump falls. Just like Reagan did.

    • #35
  6. TKC1101 Inactive

    Cruz needs to get behind a specific issue, champion it , and show he can get results. If he cannot do that, he becomes a gadfly.

    • #36
  7. Carey J. Inactive
    Carey J.

    BrentB67:I have wondered similarly.

    I think his candidacy and this election reveals more about America than it does about him. He is mostly the same guy that was elected in 2012 with bigger ambitions and a pretty good, but not perfect, track record of doing what he says he is going to do.

    The huge disparity in how states vote is revealed in the gaps between his performance in Texas, Iowa, Wisconsin versus what happened in the northeast reveals a much bigger ideological split than I previously thought.

    He could be helpful some down ballot races and I also think Boehner’s comments yesterday and how Congressional Republicans react to Trump confirms what Ted Cruz has told us all along about the Washington cronyists. He could be a much bigger more visible thorn in their sides.

    I wonder if he can come back in 4 years stronger than ever.

    Four years from now we’ll have a Republican incumbent president. ?

    • #37
  8. Sweezle Member

    Tyler Boliver:


    I’m actually far more interested in what voters do in November. Sitting out the election is a win for Hilary and I will vote for any candidate that opposes her. Even Cruz if he was the nominee.

    • #38
  9. Benjamin Glaser Inactive
    Benjamin Glaser

    Cruz did not send the mailers to Utah.

    A Superpac, which Cruz denounced, sent the mailers featuring Trump’s wife.

    • #39
  10. Carey J. Inactive
    Carey J.

    Benjamin Glaser:Cruz did not send the mailers to Utah.

    A Superpac, which Cruz denounced, sent the mailers featuring Trump’s wife.

    This is what’s known as plausible deniability. It was old when Henry II had Thomas Beckett whacked.

    • #40
  11. Steve C. Member
    Steve C.

    I hope Cruz comes to the unavoidable realization that winning the primary of conservatives is not sufficient to win the primary of Republicans.

    • #41
  12. SParker Member

    Someone in 2007 (Ken Fisher, I think) said that GM had been trying to go bankrupt for 40 years.  The reason it was taking them so long was they just weren’t very good at that either.  With the Republican party looking more and more like a busted flush and quite the quaint institution in the 21st century, maybe that’s the role for Ted: be a good soldier this year (word matters) and start on the new, internet-aware conservative party come November 9th.

    And after his term expires, should he tire of being a burr under the saddle, perhaps he could consider a talk show packaged as a reality show about starting a modern conservative party.  (God how I miss Gary Shandling.)  Teaming up with Rick Perry on both talk and reality would be delightful.  Call it Rick and Ted’s Excellent Adventure if nothing actually creative turns up title-wise.  Call it learning something from the man who handed you your patootie on a platter.  Advantages:  Platform, source of funds, improv practice, and early indication (through ratings) of whether anyone’s actually interested at all.

    • #42
  13. Duane Oyen Member
    Duane Oyen



    Assuming Cruz is not the nominee any of the remaining options are not limited government folks. Additionally, the mask is coming off Congress and their free spending ways. I realize Ted Cruz isn’t well liked, but the deep seated hatred coming to the surface is because he is the first viable threat to the well feathered Washington nests.

    Our financial and economic conditions are strained and will get worse with even more regulation, taxation, and debt, all of which will come to fruition in any non-Cruz administration.

    Will the country in 4 years realize government is the problem? I don’t know. I thought 8 years of Obama would do the trick and I am clearly incorrect.

    The Trump message is “We must stop doing all the stuff we do and pay for elsewhere in the world, including trade, and use the resources to pay off the lower middle class white voter who no longer has the post-WWII benefits 0f US monopoly power.”  In other words, not smaller government, just re-orientation of big government benefits to the Trump voters instead of those who are perceived as getting the goodies now.

    The Cruz message is “Stop doing most of the stuff we do and pay for elsewhere in the world, and thus reduce government.”

    Neither message matches reality, but Trump’s get votes from a certain group that is blocked from the Democrats Candy Store.

    • #43
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