Cruz Supporters: We'd Reluctantly Pick Trump Over a Democrat

Standing in front of a giant welding machine at a Mach Industrial Group warehouse in north Houston, Ted Cruz appealed to roughly 250 Texans’ Lone Star pride Wednesday afternoon, delivering a drawn-out Alamo reference and promising that he will not back down.

Cruz had just received an endorsement from Gov. Greg Abbott. He was also fresh off the heels of a loss to Donald Trump in Nevada the day before — making the prospect of a reality TV star becoming president just that much more likely. Considering Sen. Marco Rubio has not yet won any states, Cruz is feasibly the only GOP candidate left who poses even a slight threat to Trump. In fact, many have begun to call for Rubio and neurosurgeon-turned-politician Ben Carson to just drop out of the race and do anything except endorse Trump.

So Cruz’s assurance that he is going to figuratively fight to the death, as the Alamo soldiers did 150 years ago, was probably just what his supporters needed to hear ahead of the Super Tuesday primary next week. After promising to defend religious liberties, the Second Amendment, the Ten Commandments, and man-woman marriage and life (re: fetuses), Cruz pointed to his time as solicitor general for the State of Texas fighting those very battles before the U.S. Supreme Court. We're pretty sure he was talking about Trump when he said, “Don’t tell me you support the Constitution and Bill of Rights — show me when you fought to defend it.” And then, after a lengthy “Come and Take It!” reference, he closed by quoting the entire letter written by Alamo Commander William Barret Travis, in his usual dramatic fashion.

“I call on you in the name of liberty, of patriotism and everything dear to the American character to come to our aid, with all dispatch,” he said, quoting Travis. “If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible and die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor and that of his country. Victory [dramatic pause]…or death.”

If Cruz’s call is neglected, then unfortunately for him, his supporters aren’t going to stick around to die with him. The majority of people we spoke to at the Cruz rally said that, if it comes down to it, they'll vote Trump. 

Most said they supported Cruz because of his strict interpretation of the Constitution, his commitment to religious values, his proposal to repeal Obamacare and his proposed immigration policies. (As of Monday, that plan is to, somehow, round up and deport all 12 million undocumented immigrants estimated to be living in the country.) Still, a couple said they wanted to vote for “whoever could stop Trump.” Others called Trump “a conservative by convenience.” But when it came down to it, most pledged to vote for him anyway should Cruz lose the nomination, because Trump has an R next to his name.

“If our party picks him, then there you go, we have to stand behind our guy,” said Tex Christopher.

One man, Blake Insel, said that Trump as president would “drive me to prayer,” saying that he has no reason to trust Trump and has never been given one. But when asked if he would still vote for him over Clinton, he said, “absolutely.”

Their answers were almost always prefaced with “unfortunately” or “well, I have faith that the GOP is not gonna let that happen.” But as Super Tuesday nears, Trump already is ahead of Cruz and Rubio by a landslide, having won 81 delegates to Cruz's and Rubio’s 17 each. Texas’s 155 delegates make it a crucial state — Cruz called it the “crowning jewel” of Super Tuesday. By the end of it, chances are, we'll know who will most likely be on the November ballot.
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Meagan Flynn is a staff writer at the Houston Press who, despite covering criminal justice and other political squabbles in Harris County, drinks only one small cup of coffee per day.
Contact: Meagan Flynn