Despite Monday’s last ditch attempt by Never Trumpers to force a change in the rules in order to prevent the nomination of Donald Trump going down in flames, the battle still isn’t over. The attempted delegate revolt was led by Ted Cruz loyalists the likes of Ken Cuccinelli, Mike Lee and Kendal Unruh and was quickly put down by RNC leadership after which the renegades were apoplectic. The advocates of the conscience clause and their efforts to derail Trump has always had the scent of a Cruz sanctioned operation designed to benefit the flamboyant Texas Senator at the expense of the presumptive nominee and while Tricky Ted won’t get the nomination – this year anyway – he is already eying 2020. He will also reportedly use his convention speaking gig to promote himself and his vision for the future of the party.
According to a Politico piece entitled “Ted Cruz contemplates the unthinkable”:
One of these days, and maybe soon, Ted Cruz just might have to endorse Donald Trump.
But he’ll never concede Trump could have beaten him in a fair fight — and he’ll never accept that Trump’s me-first philosophy represents a sustainable future for the GOP. Above all, Cruz wants to use the big stage in Cleveland to present a non-Trump alternative vision for his party’s future, one rooted in constitutional conservative principles and competent campaign management modeled, oddly enough, on Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 White House runs.
“In this election I am where a great many voters are, which is that I am listening and watching and coming to a decision,” Cruz, the highest-profile Trump holdout heading into this week’s convention, told me when I asked him if he intended to throw his support behind the former reality TV star imminently.
On Wednesday, the fiery but fine-tuned Texas senator is set to deliver a prime-time address to a party that rejected his candidacy, at the invitation of a nominee who savaged his family in the most personal way possible, in an attempt to reassert his core values and — in the eyes of many supporters and aides — lay a foundation for a second run in 2020.
Cruz wouldn’t talk specifically about what he plans to say — it’s sure to include a healthy portion of attacks on Hillary Clinton — but he made it clear that his goals extend well beyond getting Trump elected.
“Most wars are not won in a single battle,” said Cruz, who is still paying campaign staff to plan and to create a detailed post-mortem of the 2016 primaries (one thing he’s looking at, I’m told: whether his “New York values” quip about Trump was a blunder).
“What I’m looking forward to is changing the course this country is on. I don’t know if that happens in this election cycle or not,” he added.
The article goes on to feature Cruz airing a litany of grievances on how the media colluded on behalf of Trump in order to deny him the nomination as well as spin to show that he was actually winning at the time that he departed the race – he was definitely winning in delegate poaching but alas that scheme also failed.
“[Trump would] lose state after state after state and the media would say that he can’t be beaten … and the media liked to paint me as some whacked-out theocrat,” Cruz told me on Friday, sitting at a table in the common area of his Washington, D.C., apartment building as his 5-year-daughter tried to coax him upstairs for supper.
“Four weeks before we dropped out, we were winning the race,” Cruz told me. “Eighty percent of [Marco Rubio’s] supporters came to us and the party was unifying behind us. … In the 30 days before Indiana primary, Trump got $500 million in free media, 90 percent was positive. What the media said on every station is, ‘Trump is unbeatable, he can’t be beaten’ — while he’s losing.”
It’s no secret that Cruz’s team and his allies have a beef with Fox News for what they believe to be pro-Trump bias (one person in Cruz’s orbit said he’s so disgusted with Fox he hasn’t watched the network since he dropped out in May). But he sees a more insidious hidden hand behind the media’s Trump obsession: liberal news executives who elevated Trump in the primary because they think he’s the only candidate Hillary Clinton can actually beat in a general election.
“I think many of the mainstream media players are liberal Democrats,” Cruz explained. “They intend to vote for Hillary. They believed Donald was the easiest candidate for Hillary to beat. And I think many of them wanted him to win the nomination. I don’t think it was innocent decision-making behind this.”
The Cruz statements in the article are hardly the comments of a loyal soldier who can be counted on for the necessary self-sacrifice of his own ambition for a larger goal of keeping Hillary Clinton out of the White House.
Team Trump will rue that day that Cruz was given a speaking spot at the convention and a national forum to stab his own party’s nominee in the back. Given the ongoing attempts by the Never Trumpers to cause trouble, party leaders should seriously reconsider having given Cruz a chance to promote himself and at the very least be prepared to turn off his mic if he goes rogue. At this stage of the process Trump is the only game in town if conservatives want to prevent Hillary from radically shifting the balance of power on the Supreme Court for a generation and complete Obama’s job of destroying America.