And Then There Was, Let’s Face it, One

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There have been roughly 456,343,455 articles written explaining the Trump phenomenon. My estimate might be off by one or two, but it’s in the ballpark. While I’ve long maintained that Trump is the most inappropriate vehicle possible for those who rightly feel dissatisfied with the Republican party, to me the anger expressed in the pro-Trump movement is entirely justified.

You would think by now that Republican party boosters would have a firm grasp on the political culture in which we’re operating in. Alas, based on the continued intransigence of a certain subset of the #NeverTrump movement, it is clear that they are as pigheaded and foolish as any Trump supporter.

#NeverTrump, for those of you who (smartly) don’t use Twitter, is a hashtag to express the solidarity of a movement that not only seeks to deny Trump the nomination, but which has also indicated its unwillingness to support Trump in the general election, no matter what. This group – and I am or was a part of this movement – has advocated strategic voting meant to deny Trump the ability to win the needed delegates before the GOP convention to secure the nomination. Many anti-Trumpsters advocated strategic voting wherein people voted for non-Trump candidates that were not necessarily their first choice but who had better chances in select states. So, for example, Cruz supporters should back Rubio in Florida, while Rubio backers were advised to go with Cruz in Louisiana.

We are now nearly two-fifths of the way trough the primary season, and it has become manifestly obvious to all but the most strident of Rubio and John “let them bake cakes” Kasich boosters than Ted Cruz is the only viable option to Donald Trump. Cruz has now won six states, and finished ahead of Trump in another. He has, moreover, won in the northeast, the northwest, and the heartland. In other words, the GOP electorate is coalescing around Cruz, while Rubio and Kasich struggle to even win enough votes to garner delegates. Cruz continues to poll the strongest against Trump, and regularly maintains an advantage in a two-man race.

Unfortunately Rubio supporters have acted much like Homer Simpson chasing the pig in the clip above. They deny the reality of the situation, and instead insist on strategic voting despite evidence that such a strategy will, at best, simply deny Trump getting the required 1,237 delegates. If this strategy works we’re left with a nominee being selected at the convention. If that nominee is anyone other than Donald Trump (unless it’s someone like Cruz who garners a similar amount of delegates during the primary season), then the result would be just as disastrous for the long-term future of the Republican party as a Trump outright win in the primary.

Considering the mood of the electorate – Democrat and Republican alike – a brokered convention that nominates Marco Rubio or, even worse, John Kasich, would completely turn off not just Trump supporters, but a fair number of other voters as well. Sure, it would be within the rules (as people are fond of repeating), but such a nominee – again, if it’s someone who didn’t have at least 1,000 or so delegates going into the convention – would be utterly damaged. Whatever your opinion of Trump supporters, completely turning them off and making them feel disenfranchised is an awfully stupid election strategy.

No, this thing needs to get settled in the primary, and the only two men who can win the Republican nomination outright are Ted Cruz and Donald Trump. Rubio backers have relied to a great extent on the argument that Marco Rubio is the most electable Republican in the general election. This argument from pragmatism – which is dubious to begin with – is countered by another pragmatic reality: Rubio is not nominateable. Neither is Kasich. It’s over for them, and any process that gives them a nomination through the back door of a contested convention will damage any general election chance they have.

So if you live in Ohio, Michigan, or Florida, and you don’t want Donald Trump to be the nominee, here’s your strategic play: vote for Ted Cruz.

NB: Rubio backers might argue with some credibility that Rubio’s poor numbers are due to strategic voting. While I can’t deny that there might be something to this, it’s hard to believe that the enormous gap between Cruz  and Rubio/Kasich is due to any great extent to Rubio/Kasich backers voting strategically. Voters are not quite that sophisticated.

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  1. Dumb question time. Is a brokered convention the only way one candidate can pass delegates to another candidate? If Rubio were to bow out in the primary, could he say he endorses Cruz and passes his delegates to Cruz? I’m thinking the answer is no.

  2. “So if you live in Ohio, Michigan, or Florida, and you don’t want Donald Trump to be the nominee, here’s your strategic play: vote for Ted Cruz.”

    I disagree. If you live in Ohio vote for Kasich. If you live in Florida vote for Rubio. If you live anywhere else vote for Cruz, probably. Cruz is not winning those states and since they are winner take all it is important to keep their delegates from Trump.

  3. There’s another famous traditional “pig saying” in America-l (sometime it is about an ox) … that saying is:
    “When the pig is in the ditch, get the pig out of the ditch”
    A great old saying and one of my dad’s favorites… get to work and do something about the problem instead of continuing the fear talk and what if talk
    Lets start talking positive about Rubio and Cruz and not talking so much about trump, except to point out his slipperiness. Cruz and Rubio and Romney are trying to do that but so many people would rather talk about the phenom than the good possibilities we have to move forward as a country.

  4. “If you live in Ohio vote for Kasich. If you live in Florida vote for Rubio. If you live anywhere else vote for Cruz, probably. Cruz is not winning those states”

    Only because of people voting as you suggest.

  5. “Only because of people voting as you suggest.”

    Do you think Cruz has a chance of winning Ohio and Florida outright?

    Cruz is doing well in large part because of strategic voting, but if you make a suggestion that people strategically vote for someone other than Cruz, all of a sudden it is a bad idea.

  6. I was going to say something about either Kasich or Rubio delivering the nomination to Trump on the second ballot in a madcap dash for the bucket-o-warm spit boobie prize. . .
    . . .bur Anzlyne told me not to!

  7. Paul is right, by the way. Voting for Kasich instead of Cruz in Ohio and Rubio instead of Cruz in Florida only serves to encourages both also rans to remain in the race as spoilers. They may or may not succeed in denying Trump the necessary number of delegates to win the nomination on the first ballot. They will succeed in preventing Cruz from closing the gap and overtaking Trump.
    Personally, I think the GOPe we’re all knocking here looks on that prospect as a feature and not a bug.

  8. 🙂 no wrath here

    You’ll get plenty of positive Cruz stuff on Christian radio!

    1. immigration
    2. 2nd ammendment
    3. anti-establishmentarian

    my thoughts:
    rubio good on immigration, end amendment, best on international concerns, Catholic outlook, practical on working together with people, seeking good advisors, independent thinker -not a pre-determined template for tea party nor establishment. he has a lot to offer
    its not a two man race yet- I started out for Cruz but something niggles- don’t know what.
    when things seem a foregone conclusion in human thinking, I sometimes think of God’s overnight change 2 Kings 7 — actually chapters 6 and 7

  9. “They may or may not succeed in denying Trump the necessary number of delegates to win the nomination on the first ballot. They will succeed in preventing Cruz from closing the gap and overtaking Trump.”

    The first statement is a lot more important than the second. Also keeping Trump from adding 165 delegates helps with Cruz overtaking Trump.

    While Rubio dropping out helps Cruz, I’m not sure Kasich dropping out before New York does help. Kasich does well in states that Trump is likely to beat Cruz, so he keeps Trump from reaching 50% limits. Kasich also does less well in states where Cruz is liable to do well thus keeping him from winning winner-take-all states like Arizona. I think this is why Cruz hasn’t put any pressure on Kasich to drop out like he has Rubio or why Cruz has not really made any effort in Ohio. My guess is that Cruz is fine with Kasich staying in until after Connecticut but before Indiana.

  10. thanks for the link- I think that was a pretty biased reporter buying all the tea party aghast at the attempt of Rubio to work across the aisle–
    but I don’t really think Cruz could win nationally against a Democrat. He is polarizing. His brand of Christian doesn’t like too many other brands of Christian. HIs brand of republican doesn’t really like other brands of conservatives.

  11. Here are 2 paragraphs from an article By Ed Morrissey that make a good argument:
    “Both Rubio and Cruz have had high and low points in Washington. Rubio’s low point came with the Gang of Eight bill, which he admits now was a mistake. Cruz led a poorly conceived shutdown over the fantasy demand that Barack Obama sign a budget defunding ObamaCare, which ended up leaving Republicans on the defensive in 2013 and nearly overshadowed a catastrophic failure in the program’s rollout. Neither of these mistakes did any long-term damage, but the two mistakes reflect a key difference between the two candidates. Rubio tried too hard to work with others and made a bad deal but eventually recognized that, while Cruz doesn’t work well even with members of his own party and makes the kind of impossible-to-keep promises that end up disillusioning voters.”
    “Rubio, on the other hand, saw a way to block crony payoffs to the insurance companies that pushed for that mandate with the restriction on funds for “risk corridor” payments. Rubio demanded a rider on the 2013 “cromnibus” that blocked general-fund payouts under that program, limiting them to taxes collected specifically for that function. Rubio’s effort remains the only effective Republican legislative limitation of ObamaCare since its March 2010 passage, and the one that has pushed most of the government “co-ops” out of business.”


  12. I’ve never bought that Cruz can’t win in a general. First of all, the polls consistently show him ahead of Hillary. Admittedly such polls are not incredibly meaningful, but honestly Hillary is such a damaged candidate any actual Republican should be able to defeat her in a general election. For all of his supposed unlike-ability, Clinton is markedly moreso, and might also be under indictment.

    A Cruz-Sanders showdown would be multiple levels of fascinating.

  13. fascinating,but not very funny ! ( remembering 🙂 “Laugh-In”)

    The fact that she might be under indictment is not a deterrent to some– but if she were Actually hauled in by the FBI- that would be any Republican’s ticket to ride.
    The division among voters between those who want to carry on Obama’s legacy and those who don’t doesn’t break 50/50. conservatives are at a disadvantage because of the division in the ranks, and they need to find a way to gather a crowd.
    Trump’ does pull people in- they are the happy “hell-yes voters” who are having fun just b being kids again.. It looks to me like Cruz may represent some very angry voters – and their anger may frighten other voters- even more than Trumps voters do since Cruz’s see themselves as Righteous and smarter than everyone else. Talk to Cruz supporters and you see that while Trump’s are against the secular establishment, Cruz’s are against the secular. Americans will not vote for a theocracy. that’s why I say he won’t win nationally.

  14. Now that the floodgates are opened: You know what the strongest ticket would be to overcome the polarization /enthusiasm gap through base turnout?
    . . . wait for it . . .
    (particularly if the GOPe presses ahead with their brokered convention strategy)

  15. Anzlyne, it isn’t that Cruz cut a bad immigration deal, it is that he sponsored a bill that was so awful that everyone involved should be unemployable.

    The bill was horribly constructed, both internally and externally inconsistent. It referenced sections of law that have been abolished, or would be by the bill itself. It included provisions that barred immigration authorities from pursuing fraudulent filers, from using statements and documents presented in other proceedings, and circumventing security checks. It even included a provision for waiving ALL fraud… Not just fraud in filing for Amnesty but all fraud… Of every type.

    Now, I know that holding together a 1000+ page text is a challenge and I am well aware that most legislators have about as much to do with legal drafting as I have over car repair, once the vehicle is in the garage BUT, Rubio was charged with serving our interests and either should have known or did know that the bill was so very bad.

    Do we ignore such derelictions of duty under a rubric of “yeah, but he can beat our opponents?”

    I just don’t think saying “I should have mad a different deal, sorry… My bad” covers it.

  16. I guess an essay that bemoans mid 20th century anti-catholic rhetoric about divided/subverted loyalties of Catholics before going on to employ precisely the same kind of rhetoric could be described as provacative.

  17. Good post. Good comments. BTW, Cruz is a Seven Mountains Dominionist. He believes in a sort of Baptist theocracy. Visions of Oliver Cromwell come to mind. Maybe that is what we need. The Catholic Church in America (as well as the Vatican from the Seat of Peter on down) needs a drastic pruning (Romans 11). I am not saying Cruz would do that. But he is a Protestant fundamentalist.

  18. He’s also a Constitutionalist who respects Freedom of Religion. Unlike the current occupant of the Whitr House or either of his would-be successors on the Democrat side.

  19. That’s what I am hoping for, Ernst, but even if he is a theocrat I would vote for him just to see Democrats go into stroke on his winning.

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