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Leslie Loftis’s America Watch: Cruz can stop Trump without grovelling to the GOP elite


By Super Tuesday, which was last week, we usually know who the major presidential candidates will be. But the combination of momentum for the ascending candidates and the self-respect of the descending ones is absent this year.

For the Democrats, Hillary Clinton cannot maintain her momentum. Really, she only has any to start with because of the Democrats’ system of super delegates, i.e. party office holders and insiders who can vote as they like. In America, that rich exporter of callous capitalism and the iron code of political correctness—Hillary Clinton is having to put up a fight in a system rigged for her against an old, socialist white guy. That’s how excited the Democrats are about the prospect of President Hillary Clinton.*

Alas, the Republicans can jeopardise even that advantage. Since the establishment is still more afraid of Cruz’s principles than Trump’s unpredictability, untrustworthiness, and other assorted deficiencies of a putative world leader, they are trying—and failing—to keep Rubio and Kasich alive.

Before Super Tuesday, the ever-so-wise GOP party players had the spectacular idea to have failed 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney lecture people on the dangers of Trump and then do robo calls for Rubio.  Even now, the elites seem unaware that Trump’s popularity is the price they paid for foisting Romney on us four years ago—and they somehow think that Romney on a pre-recorded sales pitch to landlines is a winning idea. Romney’s speech alone played as a negative endorsement. Rubio collapsed in this Tuesday’s votes.

The elites’ long play is to take out both Cruz and Trump by having Rubio and Kasich win their home states, Florida and Ohio, on March 15. They hope to couple those wins, neither of which are a sure thing, with Cruz’s actual momentum, and deny Trump or Cruz the required delegates and force an open convention.

This is epic stupidity. First, once the television could bring brokered conventions in all their glory (that’s sarcasm) to America’s living rooms, the parties made sure that conventions did not get to the second vote. Happily, the telephone and interstate flights and highways made planned conventions possible. Conventions have been scripted since the late 1950s.

Second, after all these debates, the Republican National Committee has aspirations to force another party personality on the electorate. The taint of illegitimacy will destroy the party, and if all roads lead to President Hillary Rodham Clinton, then constitutional conservatives, at the very least, have no reason to continue to ally with the Republican Party, the albatross on limited government.

But all roads don’t lead to President Clinton. Not yet. If just Rubio exited, Ted Cruz could shut out Donald Trump now. The longer he stays in, like Jeb Bush and Chris Christie before him, the less political future he has.

Why are Republican stars sacrificing themselves to prevent a Cruz nomination?

Cruz’s negatives are hard to pinpoint. They aren’t about policy, except perhaps foreign policy. Cruz would focus on America interest, not nation building, which has been an elite and public rift for some time.

(Note here, America will continue to stay home. Of the known field, Clinton is probably the most interventionist and her incompetence reaches Shakespearian levels. She’s in danger of being indicted for national security violations and we lost an US ambassador on her watch. If Clinton succeeds Obama, then the world can look forward to advancing from working with a narcissistic naif to an incompetent know- all. It is different, but hardly an improvement.)

The stubbornness against Cruz is personal. We are fellow Houstonians. I know many people who have worked with him and many more who know someone who has. I’ve followed his career since late 2010 when my husband asked me to look into a lawyer named Ted Cruz, former solicitor general. Word in the Texas lawyer circles was that he wanted to challenge Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst for retiring Kay Bailey Hutchinson’s Senate seat. It was an impossible task according to the conventional wisdom. But many of the grassroots conservatives were tired of the party’s conventional wisdom.

Cruz covered every county in Texas, and he won votes with every hand he shook. People liked his ideas, and they liked him. He went from two per cent name recognition to an early call and huge victory in the Republican primary. (In Texas, that is the election.) I was there, and I liked what I saw.

But that is the people. And his staff. They are loyal. Intellectuals and party players, and the friends of those intellectuals and party players, however, sound like George W. Bush, “I just don’t like that guy.”

I’ve asked for substantive objections. They don’t come. Even the personality objections lack details. “Not nice.” Stories like mine about the kiss or videos of a dad taking a moment to airplane with his daughter, those don’t get air.

I’ve come to the same conclusion as this citizen journalist, “I believe what these elitists hate the most is that they feel that Ted Cruz looks down on them. Ted Cruz doesn’t respect them because they have money, or because they went to Harvard, or because they are men of power. Ted Cruz is motivated by principle, not class. Ted Cruz has a political agenda and a love of constitution that overrules loyalty to his Ivy League brethren.”

For the egos of his Ivy League brethren and their friends, we are jeopardising our Republic. Because they “just don’t like that guy”, we risk nominating the fickle and hardly likeable Donald Trump for president and actually electing the conniving Hillary Clinton. The American experiment is at stake, and our elites are pouting that the man rising to lead is not their kind of guy.

True, he is not. And that is why the people like him.

*Hillary Clinton’s primary campaign has already exposed the feminist generation gap. More on it to come, as the feminist infighting will intensify in the general. Looking for silver linings, Clinton’s run will usher in the Second Wave’s day of reckoning.


STOP PRESS: Is Carly Fiorina to be Cruz’s running mate?

Moments after I submitted this week’s America Watch, former candidate Carly Fiorina endorsed Ted Cruz. I think this is significant and not only because it signals that the Republican field has finally began to consolidate. 

I suspect that Cruz has combed over the national convention rules and each state’s delegate rules. The establishment brokered convention hope? It is not possible under the current rules. Back in 2012, once Romney finally secured enough delegates for the nomination, the RNC tweaked the rules to deny non-establishment Republicans convention publicity. Under the current rules and current projections, only Trump and Cruz will be able to have their delegates counted at the convention. The RNC could change the rules before the convention, but not without drawing legitimate fury that they are rigging the selection. 

So Cruz and some of the more practical insiders see that Kasich and Rubio are out of options. All they can do now is prevent Cruz from meeting the eight state floor (see the rules link) and throw the race to Trump. They will exit and how long they take impacts their future reputations. Once out, their delegates will only be able to choose between Trump or Cruz. So it turns out that Rubio’s value in consolidating the field is not that significant.

Cruz has done that delegate math, and again I suspect, has started some advance strategising to win the general. With Fiorina he can neutralise, or really aggravate, the feminist generation gap that has surprised Hillary Clinton’s campaign and possibly make her work for California. He’s going for the Reagan Democrats. I might be wrong about Fiorina for VP. But after all these weeks, I do wonder if  that’s why she went first and started the consolidation. 


(Image: Gage Skidmore, Flickr)

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Leslie Loftis
Leslie Loftis
Leslie is a once and future American expat, most recently in London. She is also a lawyer and former local political campaign operative turned freelance writer. She currently lives in her hometown of Houston with her husband and their four children. Find her on twitter @AHLondonTX.

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