The sting of the past 36-48 hours still has not subsided. I was invested in the Cruz effort in various ways, but as I stood in the crowd in Indianapolis’s historic Union Station to hear Ted’s gracious farewell speech, I knew this was not an ordinary political defeat. Far from it, in fact.
It would be one thing if Cruz had merely conceded to someone else of firm conservative first principles, like a Marco Rubio. But, of course, it was not just that.
It would be one thing if Cruz had merely conceded to a milquetoast establishmentarian, like a Jeb Bush or a John Kasich. But, of course, it was not just that.
It would be one thing if Cruz had merely conceded to a more heterodox conservative—someone who bucks traditional conservatism on a core issue or two, or even three. But, of course, it was not just that.
It would be one thing if Cruz had merely conceded to a lifelong Democrat who had a genuine mid-life change of course, a la Ronald Reagan. But, of course, it was not that.
It would be one thing if Cruz had merely conceded to an aberrational one-off marketing genius—someone whose penchant for late-night tweets and cleverly simplistic sloganeering could account for his triumph. But, of course, it was not just that.
Though toughest to swallow, it would still be one thing if Cruz’s defeat were nothing more than the Party of Lincoln choosing a brief dalliance with the “alt-right” over traditional conservatism. But, of course, it was not just that.
It has taken me a little while to realize why it stings so much, but I have come to a conclusion. It stings so much because Donald J. Trump is a very, very bad man. He is a demagogue in the truest sense—one who seeks to undermine existing civic institutions in order to aggrandize power for himself, all via the means of appealing to the demos’ basest fears and latent prejudices. He literally launches his campaign with a tirade against “Mexican rapists.” He accuses Megyn Kelly of menstruating on national television. He openly mocks disabled people on national television. He serially lies to the American people about the math (or lack thereof) behind his “plan” to pay off the national debt (no, Donald, it cannot be done just by fixing our trade deficits—which is itself a ridiculous talking point, by the way, insofar as it is necessarily mercantilist and not post-Adam Smith/David Ricardo capitalist—with Mexico and China). His strongman vow to build the wall (a policy I have long supported) and make Mexico pay for it is utterly belied by his duplicitous support for “touchback” amnesty, and by the fact that he personally helped bankroll the 2013 Gang of Eight amnesty effort. He summons the worst of the far Left’s Michael Moore/Code Pink nutters and peddles “Bush lied and people died” garbage. He summons the ghosts of the fascists of the past and brags about how he’d jam war crime orders down the throats of honorable military officers. He and his henchmen fabricate abhorrent lies to the National Enquirer about Cruz’s past, all while he himself openly brags on the Howard Stern Show how avoiding venereal disease for decades was his “personal Vietnam.” And on the very day he clinched the Republican presidential nomination, he outdid Alex Jones and the Infowars freak show by claiming that Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the JFK assassination.
Forget about his sundry lifelong Leftist political positions, or the fact that to this day, he is still a worse trade protectionist than anyone else on the economically illiterate far Left and dabbles in his support for single-payer socialized medicine. No, the reason it hurts this much is simpler: he is a morally repugnant buffoon and a very, very bad man.
I am judging accordingly Reince Priebus and the rest of the Republican establishment that so blindly falls in line behind him because he now has a “R” next to his name.
Not me. #NeverTrump.