Democrats are scared, and Donald Trump is scared of Ted Cruz. Cruz has begun his pivot toward the issues that will matter in the general election, trusting in his campaign’s ability to manage the grassroots details necessary to win.
All the bluster I’m hearing about how Cruz will fracture the GOP and lose to Hillary is mostly wind coming from the Trump corner. And we see evidence of how much Trump’s online army is really spambots, ghosts and Russian trolls. Erick wrote that Trump’s core isn’t committed to the GOP, it’s committed to Trump himself.
So we’re left with the actual Republican Establishment and Trump voters working together to shut out conservative reformers who are championing the very causes Trump voters claim they believe in.
Cruz will mend fences with the Senate–maybe not McConnell, but according to a TIME cover story he’s been having lengthy meetings with Republican leadership who are loath to touch him while Trump is still in the ring.
Once the convention’s path is clear and Cruz’s nomination can be safely predicted, the party can work with Cruz, whose commitment to professionalism and excellence on the campaign trail is unquestionable. He fired his own communication director, Rick Tyler, for far less than anything Corey Lewandowski has done.
Trump keeps saying he’s going to pivot to a general election focus, but apart from potshots at Hillary Clinton, he keeps going back to his The Donald character (which may be so ingrained as to be closest to his real public “self”). He only recently shifted to an actual campaign to win the nomination in a floor fight with the addition of Paul Manafort. And bottom-feeder Roger Stone plans to make some serious rent-a-mob purchases in Cleveland to create the appearance of a #NeverCruz movement.
Stone told BuzzFeed News over email that he is planning “#DaysofRage,” a seeming reference to the Weatherman-organized Days of Rage protests that took place in Chicago in 1969. Asked to elaborate, Stone said he was talking about “rally-protests -at delegate hotels street theater.”
But there is no #NeverCruz movement.
There’s only an overinflated collection Trump cultists retweeting and repeating each other’s claims like an echo chamber. Trump has no idea how to run a general election. He’s not even marginally prepared to start.
He will also have to figure out how to raise money. Trump won’t fund a general election himself, and he has no national fund-raising apparatus in place. During my tour of Trump’s campaign office, I overheard Glassner on the phone discussing the nascent state of their finance efforts. “I have to find a place for these rich guys to go to,” he said. “Dinners, receptions, events. We need everything, because we don’t have a finance committee.”
Cruz’s finance operation broke another record, raising $12.5 million in March. The donors, mostly small grassroots giving, know Cruz can win.
According to the campaign, it has now raised more than $78 million over the course of the campaign, which kicked off last March, from more than 450,000 donors. The average donation is $52 — lower than what it had been over the past few months.
“I am confident in this campaign’s ability to bring together all factions of the Republican Party,” Cruz said in a statement.
We know there’s an active and large #NeverTrump movement. We know that two thirds, on average, of GOP voters have voted against Trump in the primaries so far. We know that many Republicans would almost rather vote for Satan than Trump.
“If Satan had the lead on him and was one delegate away from being nominated as our candidate, and Donald Trump was the alternative, I might vote for Donald Trump.” Indiana GOP leader Craig Dunn
Only Democrats and RINOs fear Cruz. There is no argument for Cruz splintering the GOP. Even if Trump goes third party (and I believe he will), Cruz should be able to win in November. Remember, no third party candidate for president has ever won the office. Trump has no organization, no path to victory as a third party (it’s unknown whether he could even get on the ballot in many states, but assuming he can).
Cruz is the only viable candidate for the GOP, and he can, without question, unite the party behind him.