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This week in a lengthy statement posted on Facebook, Senator Ted Cruz (in the charming locution used by Laura Ingraham at the Republican National Convention) put on his big boy pants and endorsed the Republican nominee, Donald Trump, for President. Cruz thereby undermined the remnants of the #NeverTrump movement whose adherents continue to oppose Donald Trump and argue that they are supporting conservative principles while doing so.
Cruz avowed that his reasons for endorsing Trump were twofold. The first reason was that he had made a pledge which he felt obliged to keep. That’s all well and good.
Cruz’ second reason for endorsing Trump was in fact a litany of reasons why Trump would be better for America than Clinton. You can read the details in Cruz’ Facebook statement. There is absolutely nothing new in any of these points (concerning Obamacare, the Supreme Court, Immigration, etc.). I have written about them (as have many conservatives who started with or merged with Trump) here, here, here and here.
There was actually never any logic in being #NeverTrump and #NeverHillary at the same time. This attempt to square a circle ignored the simple formulation that the election is “binary” (unless you really think that Evan McMullin has a chance of winning…in which case you will find nothing more of value to you in this column). The attempt to attribute some moral (spiritual?) value to one’s vote – apart from the role it plays in indicating your preferred choice for one future set of policies as compared to another – is a misunderstanding of what a vote is.
Allow me one final joust in this regard. Imagine having a child who requires a medical decision (surgery or not, amputation or not, radiation treatment or not) to be made. Do you simply forfeit the decision? Do you decide not to decide because the choices are so horrible to you? This is what “lesser evil” is all about.
(Okay, if you live in a state where your vote essentially doesn’t count and it gives you some comfort to stick your tongue out at Trump, fine. That is no different from the other legitimate justification for not voting, namely that you are too lazy to bother).
But Cruz has taken the debate one step beyond the recognition that voting is simply an exercise in game theory and that it is irrational to not vote at all. Cruz has said not merely that you must make a choice between Trump and Clinton, Cruz has said that from the conservative viewpoint Trump is the clearly better choice.
I have been strongly pro-Trump for a year, so I have a bias. But for those who continue to maintain that Cruz is in error, I recommend that you read or watch some of Trump’s recent speeches (to parish of Pastor Jackson, on immigration, on the Second Amendment).
I continue to believe that my dear #NeverTrump friends have built up a loathing for Trump throughout the primaries as he trounced all the other candidates (with arguably objectionable methods). Having started, as most of my dear friends did, with bemusement toward Trump and having never grasped why in November of last year 35% of Republicans were supporting him, his victories were, to them, outrageous, horrifying and, more than anything, an indictment of an easily duped electorate.
To my dear friends, however revolting Hillary may be, she did not crush Bush, Fiorina, Rubio and Cruz – Trump did.
The flock of #NeverTrump is getting smaller. Jeb is left. Kasich is left. But for small government, Constitutional conservatives, Ted Cruz was the Pope.
There are columns out there from the left that talk about Cruz’ craven betrayal (I won’t link to them). I would hate to see that become the dominant viewpoint from the #NeverTrump right as well.
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