On 20 July 2016, Ted Cruz killed his dream. He had wanted to become the President of the United States (POTUS). He wanted to be the Republican Party’s nominee. Now, neither of those goals will ever be fulfilled. When Senator Cruz failed to endorse Donald Trump, the Party’s nominated candidate, he failed as a politician. In that decision, done during the prime time, he gained a measure of revenge. He had suffered personal insults from Trump. His wife received personal insults from Trump. His father was smeared by Trump. For these slights and his deep ideological and political disagreements with Trump, he decided to damage Trump. In this decision, he put his personal ambition before the party. He put his personal honour above being a politician. This is a fatal mistake for anyone who wants to be POTUS as other candidates have shown.
Richard Nixon swallowed his pride to gain the prize. Lyndon Johnson (LBJ) had to extinguish a gargantuan ego to accept being Vice President to a man he considered his political inferior. They knew is that to become POTUS you have to put that ambition first, not personal dignity, not your wife’s honour. To be POTUS a candidate requires extraordinary political discipline. Bill Clinton epitomized personal indiscipline yet, he never shirked any task, no matter how humiliating for himself or his family, to become POTUS. To paraphrase the Shawshank Redemption, you have to crawl through miles of shit to achieve that ultimate prize.
What Cruz has done is failed as what a politician must achieve that by serving the party he would serve his own ambition. His speech will not derail Trump’s candidacy. He will not gain the nomination. He has gained revenge by cutting off his nose to spite his face. Had he delivered a powerful speech, attacked Hillary, and endorsed Trump he could have proved to everyone why he was the better candidate.
He could have come out of this disaster of a convention as a powerful alternative, a statesman, the party’s future. In that moment he could have shown Trump, the party, and America what statesmanship means. He could have done this with a powerful speech that, by its brilliance, would have overshadowed Trump’s pettiness, petulance, and vindictiveness. Instead, he showed us his limitations on a national stage.
Cruz diminished himself and sabotaged his chance to be the Party’s next nominee. No matter what happens with Trump, win or lose, Cruz will not be the nominee. He betrayed the party. For if he derails Trump, then he has hurt the party. If Trump wins, then his speech looks to be one from a spiteful, petty, sore loser.
Cruz has avenged his honour, his wife’s honour, and his father’s honour. He has lost his dignity and his chance to be the Party’s nominee. A man of powerful talent, a man of political skill, a man who would have been POTUS but for a moment he will always regret. Ted Cruz RIP.