After all this time, it turns out Sen. Ted Cruz is exactly what he's always seemed to be, a political operator so hungry for power that nothing else — not his wife, his father, his claims of conscience or his stated concern for the United States — can compete with that gnawing drive in his gut.
Yep, that's right. Cruz finally caved.
On Friday afternoon, after months of refusing to endorse Donald Trump for president, Cruz sucked it up and did exactly that. The news leaked in the hours leading up to the big announcement, which was posted on Cruz's public Facebook page:
"This election is unlike any other in our nation’s history. Like many other voters, I have struggled to determine the right course of action in this general election.
In Cleveland, I urged voters, “please, don’t stay home in November. Stand, and speak, and vote your conscience, vote for candidates up and down the ticket whom you trust to defend our freedom and to be faithful to the Constitution.”
After many months of careful consideration, of prayer and searching my own conscience, I have decided that on Election Day, I will vote for the Republican nominee, Donald Trump."
The statement goes on — and on and on — from there, with Cruz drumming up every excuse he and his team could come up with to explain this reversal.
He blames Hillary Clinton's Hillary-ness of course. He also (metaphorically speaking) clasps his hands and says he simply had to endorse Trump because of his concern for the U.S. Supreme Court and the Bill of Rights. The Affordable Care Act, energy, national security, immigration — all the Big Topics get touched on as Cruz explains himself. He even gives a nod to Internet security, the issue he's leveraging against another potential government shutdown, as he furiously tap dances around the obvious truth.
Cruz can say what he wants about why he changed his mind. He can claim it's because of his promise last year to support whatever candidate the Republican Party nominated — except that doesn't work because Cruz didn't bother to remember he'd given his word when he declined to back Trump back in July.
He can say it's because of Clinton and her "left-wing promises" and his conscience and just loving 'Merica too much to stand idly by and not support the "freedom" that Trump is promising to bring. (We could have sworn Trump only promised to make America great, or something, again, but we digress.)
No matter how avidly Cruz says otherwise, the truth about why he changed his mind is simple and obvious: Cruz loves power and he is in danger of losing it.
When he strode out onto the stage in Cleveland and gave a speech where he refused to give in, kiss the ring and endorse Trump, it was a fascinating performance, but that's all it was, a political fan dance.
The RNC speech backfired. Cruz's calculated risk ended with boos from the audience, and his wife needing security to help her leave the convention hall. Then came disfavor among his constituents and a decline in the polls right here in Texas.
Suddenly, he wasn't the Tea Party darling who stands apart, won't budge on his principles and will fight anyone who pushes him to do otherwise. Cruz was just a first-term junior senator from Texas with a failed presidential run under his belt, more enemies than friends in the Senate and a disappointment to his constituents, who are the ones who get to decide if he keeps his Senate seat in 2018, just two short political years from now.
And with that revelation, there it was, the true motivator in Cruz, lying there just barely covered by all the posturing and posing.
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None of what Trump did to Cruz or Cruz's family mattered compared to keeping what he's got. Not Trump's insults about Cruz's wife (he's attacked her appearance in true tacky Trump fashion on Twitter), or the Donald's accusations that Cruz's father was involved in the JFK assassination, or calling Cruz a liar — specifically "Lyin' Ted" — more times than we can count.
These were the reasons Cruz gave for not throwing his support behind Trump in the first place. It turns out none of it really mattered in the long run — not his wife, his father or his pride.
Cruz, pragmatic soul that he is, stacked it all up and figured out what means the most to him — keeping the power he has and hanging onto the chance to someday have more. So he's settled down in the Trump camp now.
After all, Cruz himself noted in his Facebook announcement supporting Trump that "commitment matters." And now we all know exactly what it is Cruz is committed to.