02 May 2016
Cruz: Trump is the media's Manchurian candidate
Senator Cruz is losing to Donald Trump in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. That wasn't how it was supposed to be for the Texan this year, so naturally it's a conspiracy. Check out this transcript from the May 1 Meet the Press show for a rare moment when a host refuses to take his guest's crap. Cruz believes that the media should be pressuring Trump to continue debating him. Since he assumes that the media can make millions from more debate, he concludes that their failure to publicly pressure Trump to participate -- because they've had great success in making him do what he doesn't want to, haven't they? -- proves that they want Trump to win, since he would not win (it follows) if Cruz got to debate him more. They want Trump to win because they're all liberal, you see -- and this is where host Chuck Todd turned on Cruz -- and they're setting Trump up to be an easy target during the fall campaign. Cruz claims that the media isn't talking now about all of Trump's liabilities and vulnerabilities, when they can benefit Cruz, but saving them to ruin Trump in the fall. Taking the long view, Cruz believes that Trump has been a liberal-media creation from the beginning -- you know, going back to the period last year when everyone assumed that Trump would fade once the field was narrowed. Apparently the rabble are responding to Trump's rousing instead of Cruz's only because the media are favoring Trump. To be fair, Trump has received more TV time than he may have deserved originally because of his celebrity and his uniquely provocative rhetoric, but I'd guess that from a pro-Trump perspective a lot of that coverage has looked pretty consistently anti-Trump in its framing of him as a know-nothing stirring up ethnic hatred. Cruz sees it differently for two reasons. Firstly, he has to blame something other than himself or Gov. Kasich for continuing to lose to Trump. Secondly, as should be apparent, he sees the Trump candidacy as a media conspiracy against the Republican party and the conservative movement because he's convinced that Trump can't win the general election, while he could. Cruz is stuck in the 2008-12 mode of Republican grousing, which blames Barack Obama's victories on the GOP's failure to nominate an ideologically sound and sufficiently "hard-charging" candidate, one who would bring the presumably conservative hidden majority out to vote. 2016 has been a nightmare for the Republicans because it looks like a hidden majority, at least of Republicans, has emerged, only to reject both the officeholding establishment and the intransigent ideologues like Cruz. It must be galling for believers like Cruz to learn that the hidden majority can be so easily bamboozled, but they'd rather believe that than face the stronger possibility that the reason this potential majority remained hidden not because of high ideological standards, or apathy in the face of the perceived tepid moderation of McCain and Romney, but because only someone like Trump, and not the debating master Cruz, could reach them. So when reality doesn't conform to Cruz's expectations, inevitably there must be a conspiracy. People mock Trump for accusing Cruz and Kasich of cheating in various ways, but with this outburst Cruz proves that he's no better, while his demand for more debates sounds sadly like he wants Trump thrown into the briar patch, where Cruz will only outfox himself.