Over the last few weeks Ted Cruz's prospects in a general election have dropped substantially. Yesterday at a town hall discussion in Milwaukee, the favorite candidate of 'true blue' conservatives effectively said he would not support Donald Trump if Trump were the nominee. In doing so, Ted Cruz appears to be the next hope of the 'Never Trump' movement among movement Conservatives, and I believe he is now playing to their tune, and bringing the hardcore Conservatives into an alliance with the 'establishment' Neocon Republicans.
For a man whose political career is all about calculations, Ted Cruz just made a grave error, even if his supporters don't immediately notice. Cruz started this election by playing nice with Donald Trump, and it appeared that an alliance between 'true Conservatives' and 'Trump populists' was at hand. Really, those two groups together make up about 80% of today's Republican electorate. However, earlier this year Cruz changed course, and he is now doing everything he can to sabotage Donald Trump, including delegate chicanery in states such as Louisiana. In doing so, Cruz has virtually forfeited any support from Trump voters in the general election, myself included.
If Trump supporters do not come out to vote for Cruz in 2016, then Cruz risks being another Mitt Romney. This is a huge 'miscalculation' on Cruz's part, and it's not the first. In trying to brand Trump as "not a true Conservative," Cruz has also tacked way too far to the right in the last month, and it's already way too late to walk that back.
For example, in Utah Cruz followed around Mormon convert and popular conservative talkshow host Glenn Beck. Beck pleaded to Mormons to vote for Cruz in the Utah primary, stoking century-old sectarian discord by saying that southern Evangelicals "haven't been listening to their god." Beck also said that Cruz was the fulfillment of the Mormon "White Horse Prophecy."
That may play out well in Utah, but it will not do so in a general election. Cruz also made appearances with pastor Kevin Swanson, aka the "Kill the Gays Preacher." Describing this in words won't do justice to the meeting. Just watch for yourself:
I get wanting to shore up the base, believe me. I don't have a problem with Republicans aligning with far-right forces, but the "Kill the Gays" preacher is way too far out and has no place in the party. The media is largely ignoring these things right now because it favors Cruz in a last-ditch effort to stop Trump, but on the off chance that Cruz actually gets the nomination, you can bet the media is going to be all over this, as well as Cruz's multiple affairs that he's been trying to cover up.
Ted Cruz is a disaster, he has gravely miscalculated. Trump supporters are some of the most committed voters out there. By playing nice with Trump and not aligning with the 'establishment' Republicans, Cruz could have counted those Trump supporters in a general election even with the affairs coming to light. Instead, Cruz has hitched his wagon to the establishment and has tacked way too far to the right to be viable in a general election. The latest polling data shows that Cruz has gone from a slight lead over Hillary Clinton to now being well behind. Have a look.
The sharp drop in support over the last couple weeks says it all. Cruz has alienated independents and moderates with his far right religious kookery, and has made it clear in no uncertain terms that he does not want the Trump Populists' support. This is the result above, and I expect more of it.
If you like Ted Cruz, it had better be for a reason other than electability.