Full disclosure upfront, I worked on the short-lived Perry campaign and said when Gov. Perry dropped out that it would be a cold day in hell before I vote for Ted Cruz. I said this in the heat of passion, but it was more than that. From my perspective, I had watched as Cruz provided cover to Trump on multiple occasions over the summer months of 2015. Specifically, I held it against Cruz that he sided with Trump over Gov. Perry at a few critical moments early on. All that said, I have had time to work through the passions that led me to first say I wouldn’t vote for Cruz. The truth is, I respect Senator Cruz a great deal. Anyone interested can go back over the years and see me defending him on twitter and at RedState. In fact, I once argued for hours in defense of Senator Cruz to one of Senator Mitch McConnell’s staffers, much to his chagrin. On the flip side of that respect is the disappointment I’ve had with the strategic and tactical decisions made by Cruz running for the GOP Nomination.
Which really brings me to the point of this post.
For the duration of the 2016 campaign Cruz, his camp, and the most vocal supporters on twitter and in the conservative blogosphere, have largely refused to listen to what is meant as either constructive criticism or a plea to mend fences. In essence, Cruz is making the same mistake the “Establishment” made by refusing to listen to anyone not already in the circle for Cruz.
For myself, I have warned both privately and publicly that the early flirtations between Cruz and Trump would cause trouble when it comes time for a consolidation, and now we are here. In the process of getting here supporters of other camps have felt betrayed by the Cruz camp for this or that, and while I’d prefer that these type of things could be ignored with a simple declaration that these supporters need to suck it up and do what’s right, that isn’t how any of this actually works. In fact, that is one of the many mentalities that we have set ourselves out to fight against.
No, we must acknowledge, as our ideology does, the whole man. We are not just logic, we are not just emotion, we are a combination of both added in with the influence of providence/the divine.
Today’s ignored hurt feelings fester into tomorrow’s Trump movement. All the same mechanisms are in play, the only question is whether people will choose to ignore the issue, or recognize it and resolve it.
The only way to resolve this is to first acknowledge the fact that some of the supporters of Marco Rubio, as an example, would be enthusiastic supporters of Ted Cruz today if not for their legitimate grievances. Once that is done you can seek to persuade them to give their all for Cruz, rather than trying to shame them into voting for Cruz.
I want Cruz to win the nomination. When this all began I said I hoped Gov. Perry would get a plot of land and a P.O. Box in OK so he and Cruz could be on the ticket together, maybe there is still time. Who knows? At any rate, I hope the Cruz surrogates think hard on how they would feel if Cruz was knocked out by a competitor and they had to make the choice to support someone they feel betrayed them, justified or not.
The beauty of conservatism as an ideology is that is takes into account the whole of man’s nature. Conservatives would do well to remind themselves of this and apply it to the act of consolidation around Cruz which must occur to stop Donald Trump.
If Cruz ignores his most natural allies and their concerns, and demands their votes, he will look just like the establishment he is intent on bringing down.
I hope he finds a way to reconnect on a positive emotional level with these holdouts. Due to his stellar record as a conservative, this is the only roadblock currently holding Cruz back from uniting the party against Trump.