If you’re a Republican, there’s a harsh reality facing you this presidential election: The GOP has only won the popular vote just one time since 1988. While it’s true that our presidents are picked via the electoral college, the popular vote is still a fairly solid indicator of whether or not someone will win. When George W. Bush stole the 2000 election, he was the first person to become president who had lost the popular vote in well over a century. So, 2016 is a fairly big election for Republicans to sort of take an assessment of the overall health of their party.
It’s one of the reasons why I’ve implored liberals to get out in record numbers this year to vote blue. I fully believe that we’re at a point with the GOP where the party is one more lost presidential election away from a complete implosion. It’s been building for years, we just need to make sure that a Democrat is elected this November to finally set in motion the full-on and complete self-destruction of the Republican party.
And while I think a Donald Trump nomination would accomplish that goal as well, a part of me is really hoping Ted Cruz emerges as the choice for Republicans.
Let me explain.
To many Republicans, Trump is not a conservative or even a Republican. There’s already a good chunk of conservative voters who honestly believe he’s a plant for the Clintons and the Democratic party. Then there’s the fact that he has a rather sketchy past when it comes to being consistently constant about any particular issue. While Trump is undoubtedly an extreme candidate, if he were to win the nomination but lose in the general election, the go-to rhetoric for the far-right will continue to be “we didn’t run a true conservative, that’s why we lost.”
Because that’s what many of these tea party Republicans believe. John McCain and Mitt Romney weren’t far-right “true conservatives,” so that’s why they lost to Barack Obama. These folks honestly and truly believe that the country is yearning for an ultra right-wing conservative president. Even though reality completely contradicts that belief, they still believe down to their bones that if they could just get a “real conservative” as the party’s nominee, that’s what would secure them a landslide victory and the presidency.
That’s why I kind of hope Ted Cruz somehow finds a way to secure the nomination. When he gets crushed in the general election (and he would) these far-right radicals won’t have any excuses and will finally see, once and for all, that their radical, narrow-minded ideology isn’t what the American people want.
It would be what the “establishment” needed to prove to the rest of the GOP that the party has to evolve on several key policy stances if it wants to remain relevant nationally. Though ultimately what Cruz being defeated in the general election would do is deal a humiliating and devastating blow to the influence the tea party has on our government.
In other words, Ted Cruz winning the GOP nomination and proceeding to get crushed in the general election would essentially be what destroys the tea party.