How Will Last Night Help Ted Cruz Become President in 2020?

How Will Last Night Help Ted Cruz Become President in 2020?


The question I find interesting, in the wake of Ted Cruz’s headline-making refusal to endorse Trump as a major speaker at “Trump’s Convention,” is just what Cruz’s strategy here is. Here are the elements with which I’d begin in the search for an answer:

1) Cruz is a very smart guy, easily the smartest (it would seem) among the Republican face-cards;

2) His ambitions have no limits, he is all about growing his power; his will to become president is powerful;

4) Cruz is one for bold, unlikely strategies– e.g. the way he stomped all over the Speaker of the House to engineer a government shutdown in 2013 over Obamacare, presumably to blackmail the Democrats into let Obamacare be repealed, though he must have known it was a losing battle (it was obvious, everyone not in the right-wing fantasy world knew, it was a losing battle; but much of the GOP base imagined they could indeed kill the demonized Obamacare, and so Ted Cruz became their hero by not “caving” to reality;

4) Cruz must have known that he would arouse anger from the convention, and that his failure to endorse Trump would become an enduring image in his relationship with the Republican Party;

5) So the question becomes: what is the scenario that this clever man — and out-and-out sociopath — envisions the workings of this image — of the stance he took toward the GOP’s official nominee for president — will help him in 2020 get the Republican nomination and then become president?

  • lowkell

    Bingo. The only problem is that Cruz is also an extremist, not to mention utterly hated by just about everyone who knows him, not to mention smarmier than smarmy…etc.

  • Anonymous Is A Woman

    I wondered about this too. At first, I thought it might be a brilliant move. His speech was aspirational and inspirational to conservatives who still long for Ronald Reagan. It was very Reaganesque. Meanwhile, Trump and his minions have been channeling Richard Nixon, Pat Buchanan, and the fear and loathing of a different era.

    But Cruz may have overplayed his hand. Apparently even his staunchest supporters are disgusted with what he did. They still want to win. And they still have their eye on the consequences, such as losing the Supreme Court, not to mention Congress, if they lose.

    They now view him as a traitor. I didn’t see that coming. But that is how it played out. They chose winning over principle. Among that crazy, ideological crew, who knew?

    • Andy Schmookler

      Your judgment, Anonymous, implies that this very smart guy made a really stupid move. That could be right, and it would be reassuring if you it is. That would mean that he is not as dangerous as I sometimes think he is– having watched how he finished number 2 in the Republican race when he seemed to be starting out far back in the pack. But I’m not yet ready to assume that this present reaction — combined in the coming months with the Trump candidacy turning out to be a disaster for the Republican Party — could be transmuted into people forgetting how they loved Trump and remembering only that Trump brought them disaster, and Cruz had the good judgment to remind us of what we stand for and then conspicuously refuse to endorse Trump.

      After Disaster, the mindset of the base may have shifted so that Trump is now the one who led to disaster,– no real winner, he — and tarnished our image as well as lost some of our power. He who refused to embrace the one who brought disaster looks like an improvement on the leadership of that moment when Cruz spoke at the convention.

      • Anonymous Is A Woman

        Good points, Andy. I think the outcome of the election will determine whether it was a brilliant move that positioned him as the new standard bearer for the GOP or caused his political career to crash and burn completely.

        If Trump loses badly and takes down a lot of down ballot races, Cruz will emerge from the debacle as the clear favorite for next time. He will look like the brave, principled leader with the vision to remake the party. All those party regulars who capitulated to Trump will look like sycophants who put winning above principle.

        If Trump wins, Cruz may find his career is over as even more Republicans get on the bandwagon. Or if Trump loses a close election, Cruz looks like the guy who caused it by dividing the party further. Again, he becomes the traitor who cost them the election and remains reviled.

        Final scenario: If Trump wins and his performance is a total disaster, which it most likely would be, and it destroys the country and the party, Cruz again looks like the prescient and principled hero who called it right and had the guts to stand up to him.

        So, a lot of Cruz’s future depends on what happens that is now out of his control. It was a big gamble. I don’t know if it was a really smart move. I am not sure rolling dice for something as high stakes as your whole career is clever. Some would consider it reckless.