Ted is the last hope GOP must hang on to if they wish to reach the promised land, I mean the Convention, without riots, bloodshed and the like. Ironically, Ted Cruz is also the lamb which must be sacrificed to save the Republican Party from permanent irrelevancy.
Ted Cruz is the sacrificial lamb of the Republican Party. In a spiritual sacrifice ritual, most lambs which are present or in the vicinity (where the ritual takes place) are naturally unaware which one of them would be sacrificed in the ceremony. But there is something special about Ted; like Jesus, Ted is very much aware of his fate. Interestingly, Ted is going about doing what he is supposed to do – just like Jesus did – before being sacrificed.
Ted knew well before it gets to this juncture in the primaries that his path to the nomination would be an impossible one. He seriously considered the option of being Donald Trump’s running mate in the general elections. Before the nasty turn of events, – during which Trump’s wife and Ted’s have become the focus of outrageous exchanges between the two candidates – Ted’s effort to deny Trump the 1,237 delegates (the number needed to clinch the GOP nomination) was a brilliant strategy; at the convention, Ted would work out the details, have his delegates thrown their support behind Trump in exchange for the VP slot or an important post within Trump’s administration. It was a risk but a risk Ted was willing to take, until Trump – due to misunderstanding on both sides – decided to go after Ted’s wife, a no-no in Ted’s book.
Let me take you to the road the Republican Party had travelled to arrive at the current predicament. Before the Bridgegate scandal, Chris Christie was considered among the Republican elites as the most likely candidate to carry the “conservative” banner to the Oval Office. Blunt, in your face kind of guy, a heavy weight (no pun intended) of the Republican party, the GOP powerbrokers felt more or less confident Chris would be able to make it all the way to the White House.
There were at least two major factors which made him a very attractive candidate to represent the Republican Party in the 2016 presidential elections cycle 1) Chris demonstrated the ability to work with Democrats and was very successful doing so 2) Chris had a very high approval rating in the state of New Jersey; he was re-elected with over 60% of the electorate.
Most unfortunately however, the Bridgegate scandal rendered Mr. Christie unappealing for the job. So, the Republican Party saddled in and embarked on a search for another savior. When Jeb Bush hinted at throwing his hat into the ring, he would become the savior the Republican Party has always wanted. There was at first a mixed reaction to the idea but Jeb quietly managed to raise very large sums of money (a must for any serious candidate) before he even announced his intention to run. The Republicans couldn’t resist the idea of having one more Bush in the Oval Office. For a while, Jeb was considered a likely finalist – the nominee so to speak – which will face off with Hillary Clinton in the general elections.
Very early on however, it should have been obvious to the GOP leaders that Jeb was not qualified for the job. Confronted with a question about the war in Iraq – perceived to be not only a fiasco by most but also carried out under false pretense – Jeb faltered publicly. When provided another opportunity on Fox Opinion (referred to by most as Fox News) during an interview, Jeb once again proved beyond a reasonable doubt he is not the savior the Republican Party was looking for. Lucky for Jeb however there was nobody else at the time. And there was Rick Perry, and Scott Walker, and Bobby Jindal, and Mike Huckabee and on and on.
But after the second presidential debate in September 2015, another savior emerged to redeem the Republican Party, Ben Carson. He is smart, soft spoken, beat the odds and became a renowned physician. A regular critic of the Obama administration on Fox Opinion, Ben was exactly what the Republican Party needed to advance its agenda. There were already comparisons and contrasts drawn between Ben and Obama, “our black” is better than “their black”, as famously framed by the talking heads in the Republican Party. What a bunch of morons! I digress.
Ben was even more attractive than previously thought; of all the candidates lambasted by Donald Trump’s outrageous statements, Ben not only avoided childish confrontations with the real estate mogul but he also managed to raise his profile among the voters. His favorability factor went up gradually, steadily. Without doing much but “being himself”, Ben Carson inched up in the polls and was at one point ahead of Donald Trump. Serious discussions about his viability as the Republican darling took place but the GOP leaders should have known better. Ben Carson forcefully tried to convince us all he is capable of stabbing people, and he has (according to him). Jokes aside, Mr. Carson proved incompetent during debates, displayed limited knowledge on many political issues including foreign policy, was inflexible and had great difficulty adjusting.
Ted was never considered at any point by any of the GOP leaders. Besides, he wasn’t doing well in the polls either. A pal to Donald Trump, Ted scurried favor and thus avoided being lambasted by the frontrunner. But when Rick Perry and Scott Walker exited the race before the Iowa caucus, Ted saw an opportunity to become relevant. Iowa was widely seen as favorable to Scott but it was now up to Ted to capture the “tea party” supporters – Remember Michelle Bachman! – Without much fuss, Ted devoted a lot of resources to Iowa.
Right around the same timeframe, Mr. Trump has become the X factor in the Republican Party. By then, he had already insulted the Mexicans, John McCain and Megyn Kelly, host of Fox Opinion, and a number of other groups. His feud with Megyn prompted him to skip the debate – hosted by Fox – immediately preceding the voting in the Iowa caucus. When the results came out, Ted Cruz was on top; he won the Iowa caucus. That has gotten Donald Trump’s attention; he began the attacks on Ted Cruz. It started with a few jabs, escalated to Ted’s ineligibility to be president of the United States because he was born in Canada to an all-out war (of words).
The “bromance” between those two officially ended although it was not yet pronounced. When Mr. Trump won a crushing victory in New Hampshire, he quickly changed his focus to something else, to “win, win, win”. However, challenged later in a debate before the South Carolina primaries by Marco Rubio, Mr. Trump found a new target, “little Marco”. Although a crushing victory in South Carolina – Marco came second far behind Trump and didn’t even get a single delegate – would have put “little Marco” out of Mr. Trump’s sight, a redoubling of effort by Marco Rubio to defeat Trump in the Nevada caucus, a change of strategy by the Marco’s campaign to go full assault at Trump would get Donald to refocus his attacks on “little Marco”. Once again, Trump won the Nevada caucus.
Desperate, with Super Tuesday looming and a large number of delegates at stake, the Rubio’s campaign unleashed “little Marco” and turned him into a “bulldog” to attack Trump ferociously; on a separate track, Marco was urging Ted specifically (and all the others in general) to exit the race and consolidate behind him so he could take on Trump more effectively but Ted had a big advantage over Marco, – which Ted never failed to remind little Marco – Ted had won at least one state (Iowa) and up to this point Marco has yet to win any state. However, Ted is not liked and Marco was the anointed Republican nominee; so, a chorus asking Ted to exit the race could already be heard in the background.
With Super Tuesday dangling over Ted, he had to win the state of Texas, his state, the stakes were high. If Ted had failed, he would have had even more pressure to exit the race to make way for a candidate which could hardly spell “w i n”. Despite Rubio’s failure streak in the primaries, he was still considered the candidate of choice for the Republican Party; the whole GOP machine moved heaven and earth to try to boost “little Marco” but to no avail. The Super Tuesday outcome strengthened Ted’s position; he not only won his own state but he also managed to win two other states. Poor “little Marco”, he won a single caucus state with small number of delegates. No longer could Marco make the argument for Ted to exit the race; it was now Ted’s turn to ask Marco to exit but “little Marco” wouldn’t hear of it.
Marco’s campaign reframed the race as if the first primary voting would take place in Florida where winner takes all the delegates; there were 99 at stake. Still considered the GOP darling, “little Marco” had one last opportunity to prove he could put an end to the losing streak. Within the GOP elites however, the consensus was that Marco would not be able to pull a victory in Florida; virtually every poll put Donald Trump at 20+ points over Marco Rubio. However, Marco’s campaign downplayed the polls; “we do not pay attention to the polls”, a staff member was caught saying. They should have.
Since his “bulldog” approach towards Donald had backfired – Trump won seven states in the Super Tuesday primaries – Marco resigned himself to “looking presidential” for the upcoming and highly anticipated loss of his state. Even his staff floated the idea for Marco to exit the race before the primary voting in the state of Florida in order to avoid a humiliating defeat. Marco denounced the idea as blatantly false. He should have listened to his staff. To prove he was able to turn the campaign around, Marco spent a full seven-day exclusively in Florida crisscrossing the state, holding rallies, praying and hoping God would come to his rescue. – God was on another mission – But Ted wasn’t standing by either. To help push Marco out of the way, Ted opened offices in Florida to challenge Marco as well. It’s doubtful Ted’s presence in the state made any difference. The polls in favor of Trump stayed virtually the same. On D-day, it was crystal clear from the early count of the votes that Marco Rubio would lose the state of Florida; CNN called the state for Donald Trump when only 15% of the votes were counted. Little Marco was toast. The inevitable happened, Marco gave the exit speech. It was a great speech, it was a humiliating defeat.
Needless to point out the joy Ted felt, he would now have the field all by himself to challenge the frontrunner. There was however one small complication, John Kasich. Having won Ohio, Kasich believed he now has a path to the nomination. Obvious to all but John, there is no path to the nomination for the Ohio governor. However, John Kasich believes (and relies on the possibility) there will be a contested convention and will thus be the ultimate savior of the Republican Party. With him still in the race collecting a few delegates here and there, relying on national polls which favor him as a winner in the general elections, John Kasich believes everyone else would also see the light on the convention floor and pick him as the GOP nominee. Hope is what keeps our dreams alive; John is very hopeful he will be president.
Ted has always been fearful of a contested convention scenario; rightfully so. He tried to prevent having to go through it by cajoling Trump to consider him as his running mate; that didn’t work out. The second most hated GOP candidate (Donald Trump holds the champ’s banner) in this election cycle, Ted was ignored, derided and even likened to Donald Trump by his colleagues in Washington. He is not the most popular guy; in fact, he is not even wanted in Washington. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) who was a candidate before exiting the race very early on – and later endorsed Ted – joked once that if Ted were to be killed on the Senate floor and the trial was held there, no one would be convicted.
With no one else to turn to – John Kasich is not even remotely viable – and after careful consideration of many other options including having someone running outside the Republican Party but with the support of the GOP elites, the logistics prove insurmountable; therefore, Ted is and remains the only option – as a nominee – to represent the Republican Party in the general elections. Grudgingly, reluctantly, against their better judgement, one by one Republican leaders are slowly lining up behind Ted, supporting him as the nominee for the Republican Party. But the party is not flocking en masse to Ted, still contemplating other options, including a miracle. Even those who have already publicly supported Ted continue to advance theories which clearly suggest their support for Ted is volatile. Just recently, Lindsey Graham remarked – after publicly endorsing Ted – the choice between Ted Cruz and Donald Trump is between “drinking lethal poison” and “being shot”.
Ted knows he is a sacrificial lamb. His mission is to deny Trump the nomination outright and force a contested convention. Ted is also aware he will not be picked as the nominee on the convention floor. The support he now gets is to facilitate the process, give him a boost to rally votes and collect enough delegates to successfully complete the mission. The “not Ted as the GOP nominee” choice is not subtle at all; GOP elites have not even made a concerted effort to push Kasich out of the way, go figure! To add salt to injury is the announcement by Marco Rubio not to dispose of the pledged delegates he received before exiting the race. It is most likely a strategy to stay viable on the convention floor although it’s not sure whether he has that option; Marco, despite the humiliating defeat he suffered during the primaries, is still considered a better option than Ted who’s been successful thus far, even against Trump in some cases.
So, why has Ted played along? Why would Ted even fight Donald Trump? As it usually is with any sacrificial lamb, Ted has no choice. He cannot clinch the nomination; he is at odds with his old pal, Trump; he will not be picked on the convention floor as the nominee and yet Ted is crisscrossing the country soliciting votes, to what end?
As it is with all sacrificial lambs, Ted has no choice. He has accepted his fate for the good of the Party perhaps, to redeem himself maybe. Whatever the reason, Ted is getting ready to be sacrificed (at the Convention). May we all remember that Ted shed his blood willingly, voluntarily! Ted’s blood may not be enough to save the Republican Party from its self-inflicted harm but his sacrifice would at least spare the Party from eternal damnation.
All GOP leaders say
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