As most probably know by now, Sen. Ted Cruz announced that he was suspending his campaign shortly after getting beaten rather soundly by Donald Trump in Indiana. While the news came as bit of a shock to some, based on the math going forward, there was simply no logical “path” or rational reason for Cruz to continue to try to force the nomination process through to the GOP convention in July. While Trump hasn’t sealed the nomination yet, it’s now no longer a matter of if – just when.
So, what went wrong for Cruz? Well, a lot.
1. He waited way too long to really go after Trump: While this could be said of the whole Republican party, Cruz seemingly went out of his way not to criticize Trump in the early stages of this race (more on that later). By the time Cruz really started going after Trump, he had already built a commanding lead and had all the momentum. By that point, it was really too late. All the debates had passed and Cruz was left without any real means at which to “get at” Trump other than the usual back and forth attacks that typically don’t prove to be that effective late in a campaign.
2. He’s a coward who actually praised Trump for a good part of the campaign: This goes along with #1 a bit in that Cruz was seemingly afraid to actually take on Trump early on. If anything, he actually praised him somewhat often early in the campaign. Even when Trump said vile comments about Mexicans, mocked John McCain or went after Megyn Kelly – he still defended him. Had he not been a coward then and seized on some of those moments to try to stop Trump before he became as popular as he did, he might have actually stood a chance. But he was too spineless and afraid that Trump might go after him, so he hoped he could just “play nice” and maybe overtake Trump after the billionaire hopefully “defeated himself.” Of course, that never happened.
3. His campaign’s theme was absolutely sad and kind of pathetic: If you were really listening to Cruz, his main “pitch” over the last few weeks for why people should vote for him was basically, “Because I’m not Trump.” Much of his support came, not because people actually supported him – he was just the only real threat to “The Donald.” It’s really difficult to inspire people to rally to your side when your biggest selling point is “I’m not the other guy.”
4. Trump simply pandered to bigotry, racism and ignorance better: Let’s face it, between Cruz and Trump there’s really not a great deal of difference. Both are egotistical liars who will say and do anything to get votes. If anything, I argued for months that Cruz is actually worse than Trump because he’s everything bad about the billionaire, just with a whole lot of religious fanaticism mixed in. The truth is, Cruz simply couldn’t pander to the ignorance, bigotry and racism that’s been driving the GOP as well as Trump could. Ted Cruz has built his entire career in the Senate around pandering to a select group of right-wing radicals – and Trump simply swooped in and did a better job selling his brand of hate.
5. People just don’t like Ted Cruz: Aside from a very… very small handful of people in Washington, almost nobody can stand Cruz – even members of his own party. I’ve never seen a candidate get such weak, sad endorsements from his colleagues in my entire life. Ted Cruz is just one of those people whose success is also his downfall. While he does a great job at being a sniveling snake oil salesman who’ll say or do anything if he feels it will benefit his career, by being that type of person he’s detested by essentially everyone who knows him. And when people genuinely cannot stand the sight of you (which seems to be the case for many people who know Cruz), it makes it very difficult to become a major party’s political nominee – let alone president.
I could do this all day, but these are some of the biggest reasons why I believe Ted Cruz’s campaign was pathetically sad and an absolute failure to defeat one of the worst presidential nominees in the history of American politics, Donald Trump.
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