Is Ted Cruz Done?
Someone should probably give Ted Cruz a hug; he’s had a pretty bad week.
After a string of embarrassing losses to Donald Trump, Cruz saw his chances of winning the GOP nomination slip from “possible” to “very unlikely.”
Most candidates would be humbled by that. They would take the losses at face value, and bow out with grace. But not Ted Cruz. Instead, the Texas Senator tried a bizarre series of political stunts to regain the spotlight.
Cruz tried three methods: 1) making deals, 2) playing the media, and 3) showing leadership. In other words, he tried to beat Donald Trump at Trump’s own game. It was the stupidest thing he’s ever done. (Source: “Oh, Ted Cruz. You had the Worst Week in Washington,” The Washington Post, April 30, 2016.)
At first, Cruz tried to form an alliance with Gov. John Kasich, also known as “the man no one thinks will be President.” What was the goal of this alliance, you ask? Simple: to sabotage Donald Trump.
Both Cruz and Kasich knew they couldn’t win the election in a fair fight. They had no credible path to the nomination. Together, however, they could keep Trump from getting the nomination.
The plan was for Kasich to stand down in Indiana, where Cruz had far more supporters. Cruz would then return the favor in Oregon and New Mexico. They wanted to unite the anti-Trump vote under the strongest candidate in each state.
Unfortunately, that plan failed. Kasich didn’t tell his Indiana supporters to vote for Cruz. And when Cruz gave a speech about the “deal,” he forgot to mention his end of the bargain. Convenient.
Neither of them wanted to publicly acknowledge the scheme. They wanted to sabotage Trump in the dark, but Cruz failed the “Make a Deal” scheme. Maybe that’s why he’s losing to Donald Trump, the guy who wrote The Art of the Deal.
Next, Cruz tried to play the media. He told everyone to watch for a big announcement. Rumors leaked that he would announce his vice presidential running mate. And he did.
Usually, the person who wins the primary picks a running mate, and even then, it’s only after they’ve already won. But Cruz had his back to the wall. He was on the verge of losing the presidential race, so a desperate move was necessary to stay alive.
He named Carly Fiorina as his potential running mate. Perhaps he thought she could save his fledgling campaign. Perhaps he thought she could help him win California.
Whatever his intentions, the media wasn’t buying what Ted was selling. He simply couldn’t manipulate them like Donald Trump.
Trump has a natural flair for television. He understands the power of narrative and the importance of controlling his message. He eats political pundits for breakfast.
Even when they hate him, the mainstream media still end up doing exactly what Trump wants them to do. He wants coverage of an event, then he’ll say something fiery enough to get them there.
Cruz doesn’t have that skill, so he utterly failed at manipulating the media.
But his week wasn’t over just yet. On Friday, Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana endorsed Cruz. Considering that Indiana is the next state to vote, this seems like a big deal.
Except it was a half-hearted endorsement. Pence had a lot of kind words for Trump in his speech, which suggested he is actually neutral on the race. It was a classic political move for Gov. Pence, but why did Ted Cruz let it happen?
When Gov. Chris Christie endorsed Donald Trump, he was made to stand in the background through Trump’s whole speech. Christie showered Trump with compliments during that event.
Trump showed that when he gets supporters, they stand by him 100%. He shows leadership. Cruz couldn’t even stop his supporters from being nice to his rivals, showing how little he understands about leadership.
One by one, Ted Cruz piled up a series of political disasters this week. It may be time for him to call it a day. Go home, Ted, you look like you could use the rest.
Image Source: Flickr; Image copyright 2013, Jamelle Bouie