With Ben Carson quickly fading into oblivion, another GOP presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, seems to be the next one up to challenge Donald Trump for the Republican nomination. That’s created quite the interesting situation – you see, for months, Cruz has resisted attacking Trump. In fact, he’s mostly showered him with praise even during some of his most (and frequent) vile moments.
Now the most common rumor I see people float around concerning this rather strange phenomenon is that Cruz is lining himself up to be Trump’s pick for VP so he doesn’t want to “burn that bridge,” so to speak. And while I do believe that theory has some factual basis to it as a “backup plan” for Cruz, I don’t believe that’s the real reason why he’s been hesitant to take on “The Donald.”
Let me explain.
Ted Cruz is a lot of things – most of them bad – but he’s not stupid. He’s intelligent, highly calculated, arrogant and, in my opinion, very likely a sociopath. He specifically ran for the Senate to set up a 2016 presidential run. His entire career as a senator has been nothing more than a multi-year, taxpayer-funded presidential campaign. Almost every vote he’s made, speech he’s given or obstruction he’s tried to cause has been setting up “Ted Cruz the GOP presidential candidate.”
Someone doesn’t go through all of that, with all of that planning, hoping to be someone else’s VP choice. Not only that, but Cruz’s ego is every bit as massive as Trump’s. He’s more calculated and strategic with some of the things he says, but he’s every bit as arrogant. In fact, I recently argued that Cruz – not Trump – is the most dangerous candidate running for president. He’s every bit as hateful, bigoted and radical as Trump – even just as dishonest – except Cruz brings a whole heaping crazy religious fundamentalism that Trump can’t even touch. This is, after all, the son of Rafael Cruz – a man who thinks evolution and communism go hand-in-hand.
With an ego the size that Cruz has, he’s not going to “settle for VP” when he thinks he still has a chance to become our next president.
Another reason why he’s avoided attacking Trump is because he knows he can’t win the battle of “trash talking.” Cruz is great at giving speeches that pander to a certain voting constituency, but if you watch interviews where he gets called out, he gets flustered fairly easily. If he ever does go toe-to-toe with Trump, he might get a few shots in, but he’s going to lose and come off looking really bad in the process.
A third reason why Cruz too cowardly to go after Trump is because if he does, he’ll burn his bridge with many of Trump’s followers – many of whom are the same people to which Cruz has spent the last four years pandering. While there are several adjectives I could use to describe the average Trump supporter, I will say they are a very loyal bunch – essentially brainwashed. I’ve never quite seen a group of people more devoid of reality in all of my life.
To this point, Cruz has mostly benefitted from being near the top… but not a real threat. He’s been able to build his evangelical base (which will help him in Iowa), but that’s not going to be nearly enough to become the “frontrunner.” Nor do I think he’ll ever really be a legitimate leading candidate. As someone from Texas, trust me when I say this, the more people get to know Ted Cruz – the less they’re going to like him. This is someone who’s not even liked by a good chunk of his own party.
That being said, Cruz’s strategy is fairly simple based on what I’ve seen. He seems content with sitting back and playing nice, hoping that if or when Trump’s campaign implodes, he’ll be the candidate who benefits the most. While it’s a smart strategy, it’s also fairly pathetic. Cruz is basically agreeing to play second-fiddle to Trump because he knows he really can’t take him on directly and emerge victorious.
The bottom line is, Ted Cruz is a coward. He’ll gladly take shots at Trump in private – as he was caught doing recently – but then he’ll suck up to him in public like he did on Twitter after news leaked about the “shot” he took at Trump privately:
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) December 11, 2015
Such a sad… sad tweet. Yeah, blame the media because you got caught trying to take shots at Trump behind his back.
Ultimately, I don’t expect this “peace” to last. When you have two people with egos the size of Trump and Cruz, it’s usually not a matter of if, but when things turn combustible. Also, there’s no way Cruz is going to be able to keep building his momentum without eating into Trump’s support. And when Trump sees that start happening, that’s when all bets are off.
And I don’t know about all of you, but Cruz is the one candidate I would absolutely love to see Trump tear into. While Donald Trump is indeed a deplorable human being, I still maintain that Ted Cruz is the most dangerous candidate running for president.