Late last night, I wrote:
Where does Cruz go from here? The Washington establishment can’t stand him; hardcore Trumpsters presumably now despise him; neither Hillary nor Trump is going to nominate him for the Supreme Court.
However, Cruz remains a remarkable talent admired by many Republicans. If Trump loses big, he may be remembered more for courage rather than for treachery.
On reflection, I believe Cruz’s future prospects are worse than what I suggested. Yes, Cruz’s standing will better if Trump loses big than in any other scenario. No, it’s not impossible that Cruz will one day be the Republican nominee. But the second paragraph above overlooks how much conservatives are going to hate a Hillary Clinton administration.
It’s difficult for me to believe that, once Hillary unleashes her leftist agenda and transforms the Supreme Court through her replacement for Justice Scalia, conservatives will want to nominate a man who not only refused to endorse her opponent but refused theatrically in a way that dealt Trump maximum embarrassment.
It may also be remembered that Cruz’s stance on Trump was not based on ideological concerns. Throughout much of the campaign, the two were on good terms. Recall Cruz’s phony pronouncement that he doesn’t believe in “Republican on Republican violence.” “I ain’t going do it,” he declared in response to calls for him to criticize Trump for various leftist, or simply inane, positions.
Cruz changed his mind only after (1) it started to look like a two-horse race and (2) Trump persisted in calling Cruz “Lying Ted” and, worse, attacked his father and wife.
That’s fine; I don’t blame Cruz. Trump actually got off easy. 150 years ago, Cruz probably would challenged Trump to a duel.
But the chronology undermines the view that Cruz’s conduct yesterday was rooted in principled conservatism. It reinforces my view that Cruz probably won’t get the requisite backing to be charged with picking up the pieces following a Trump debacle, if onc occurs either in November or during a Trump presidency.