Cruz Endorses Trump

Cruz Endorses Trump

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Elliser Silla, Senior Foreign Policy Editor

Just over two months after his speech in which he refused to endorse Donald Trump and told the GOP delegates to the Republican National Convention to vote their conscience, Ted Cruz officially stated Friday afternoon that he will vote for the Republican nominee this November.

Following the bitter primary season which saw the two rivals’ relationship badly deteriorate, it was not clear whether Cruz would embrace Trump and urge his backers to do likewise. During a CNN town hall in March, all the remaining candidates broke their pledge to support the eventual nominee. In addition, Cruz mentioned that Trump’s personal insults against his family were a barrier to getting his endorsement. Aside from the ad hominems, Cruz had always lambasted Trump as just another New York liberal like Hillary Clinton and warned about what he perceived as the dangers and compromising positions of a Trump administration.

Yet here we are. And for two reasons, there doesn’t seem to be any sense in the Texas senator making this endorsement this late in the game.

  • Even though he was heavily criticized after his convention speech, his base still cheered him on as a principled, conservative hero in the face of Trump-rebranded Republican Party. Cruz now risks alienating his supporters who believe Friday’s endorsement was a wrong, insincere decision. His base will of course be crucial for another shot at the White House.
  • Widely viewed as a potential 2020 contender, Cruz’s strategy becomes more complicated. Currently, the polls indicate that the 2016 election has not already been decided yet. If Clinton wins, Cruz could still be harshly rebuked for not throwing his support to Trump earlier. If Trump wins and turns out to be a horrible, unpopular president who ends up contributing to the anti-establishment rage that fueled his rise this year, the 2020 Republican primary will be decided on which candidate steered clear of supporting Trump in 2016. Cruz cannot claim that he did that this year.

Four years is a long time from now. The political world is extremely volatile, as evidenced by this election season. But if Cruz wants to run for president in 2020, he may have, depending on the political headwinds, a difficult time assembling his base of support. And he can look back to this day and figure out why.

Follow this author on Twitter @ElliserSilla

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Terence Crutcher

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