03 May 2016
Cruz makes news again
In retrospect, this morning's tirade against Donald Trump from Senator Cruz looks like the spite of someone who knows he's a beaten man but thinks it's all unfair. Cruz, who has suspended his campaign after losing the Indiana primary, can tell himself for the next four (or eight) years that Trump and the liberal media colluded against him, suppressing the worst truths about the billionaire while denying Cruz the equal time he deserved, but he'll spend those years on a river in Egypt if he convinces himself that primary voters didn't know who he was or what he stood for. In one respect, at least, this Republican primary season really has been much like the last two. In the end, the "movement" candidate, the supposed champion of an ideological base believed to be the tip of a hidden-majority iceberg, loses badly to a non-movement candidate. As Mike Huckabee went down in 2008, as Rick Santorum went down in 2012, so Cruz falls now. While we have every reason to discuss what's different about Trump, we shouldn't lose track of what remains the same. Movement conservatives, the people who think that they alone can lead the Republican party to victory, remain a minority within their own party. Something else will probably stay the same if Trump loses the general election; the movement conservatives will say that things would have gone differently had the GOP chosen one of them. But if the GOP itself never chooses them, how can they believe the larger electorate will? These ideologues fancy themselves big thinkers, but they'll probably continue to dodge the hard thinking they need to do now. It's easier to imagine another conspiracy, the latest of an infinite number, denying them their due. Conspiracy, in this case, means democracy that doesn't go their way.