Connect with Point of View   to get exclusive commentary and updates

Ted Cruz: The Last Threat to Donald Trump

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

In hindsight, it is remarkable the extent to which Republican officeholders, donors, voters, and candidates have simply refused to face facts. This was excusable for a time. Donald Trump’s rise was so unexpected, so startling, and so counter to the normal rules of politics that one can be forgiven for expecting that he would fade — at least initially. Last night, I scrolled through my old pieces about Trump, and — yes — early on I actually compared him to Herman Cain, one of last cycle’s flash-in-the-pan candidates. I was wrong, embarrassingly wrong.

But I certainly wasn’t alone. I can’t tell you how many times I heard wise political voices say, “He’s done it now. It’s over.” The list is endless: when Trump denounced John McCain’s war service, when he referred to a communion wafer as the “little cracker” and seemed to mock the Lord’s Supper, when he crassly attacked Megyn Kelly. Yet each time, the laws of political gravity were suspended, and Trump maintained his lead.

Yet because normal political rules didn’t apply to Trump, other candidates falsely believed they were immune as well. But it turns out that when you don’t attack the front-runner, he tends to remain the front-runner. It turns out that when you start an epic losing streak, it’s virtually impossible to come back. It turns out that when you make crass personal attacks, it diminishes you more than the target. It turns out that math is still math, and building strategies around winning your first big state halfway through the primaries looks not just foolish, but vain.

Can we wake up yet? Can we do math? Can we do politics? Here’s what our actual political experience tells us: Donald Trump is not going to beat himself, he will win a four or even a three-man race, and he is entirely capable of winning the GOP nomination with roughly 35 percent of the vote — indeed, he’s doing it now.

Here’s what the math says: John Kasich and Marco Rubio, you have no hope of becoming the GOP nominee. Even if you win your home states, the only thing that will do is maintain the four-person dynamic under which Trump thrives. Even if you are fortunate enough to work cooperatively to deny Trump an absolute majority of delegates, do either of you — in your right mind — believe that a convention dominated by Trump and Cruz delegates is going to unite behind you? They’d sooner riot (and I’m only partially joking).

We’ve given the multi-candidate “blind ambition tour” exactly 23 states and one territory to work, and here’s the score: Trump 15, Cruz 7, Rubio 2, and Kasich . . . zero. I think that’s a sufficient sample size. Let’s try something else. Let’s try uniting around the person who’s beaten Trump more than anyone else — a person who happens to be a constitutional conservative, who would replace Justice Scalia with a judicial superstar, who is unquestionably pro-life, who is unyielding in his defense of religious liberty, and who actually understands the dynamics of the global economy, trade policy, and national security.


Source: David French, www.nationalreview.com