When Ted Cruz melted down in the face of impending disaster for his campaign in Indiana, I thought it would render a future run exceedingly difficult for him if Trump ended up joining the Republican party pantheon alongside Reagan and Lincoln. If referring to oneself as a "Trump Republican" became comparable to what "Reagan conservative" or "the party of Lincoln" had been prior to this election cycle, the following clip would be the kill shot every one of Cruz's primary opponents would effortlessly dispatch him with:
This was of course dwarfed by his convention speech. It's hard not to chalk this political self-immolation up to anything other than pathological vindictiveness. The much savvier approach would've been to publicly but tepidly endorse Trump and then work behind the scenes to sabotage him. Or better yet, to reconcile. Trump has a Caesarian disposition when it comes to clemency as Trump's invitation for Cruz to speak in prime time on the second to last night demonstrated. But once he's betrayed, Trump doesn't forget.
Consider the political implications. If Trump loses in November, especially if it's within five points or so, Cruz is going to get a lot of the blame. It's not only firm Trump supporters who will blame Cruz's betrayal for the loss. Most Republican voters, including those lukewarm to Trump, will hold Cruz responsible for Hillary being elected.
Is Cruz delusional enough to think that he'll be the nominee in 2020 with the Republican electorate and all his GOP opponents justifiably pointing to him as the primary reason Hillary got her first term?
It'd be far-fetched enough if the quisling was someone like Kasich or ¡Jabe!. At least those guys could conceivably find some establishment support.
Cruz, though, had more supporter overlap with Trump than any other candidate in the field of 17. He was vying for the same anti-Establishment designation that Trump was. Cruz was acutely aware of this. It's why he alone among primary contestants refused to go after the god-emperor in the first few debates.
The vast majority of primary participants who voted for Cruz in the primaries will be voting for Trump in a few months. He's sabotaging their political aspirations--and the well-being of the country if the party platform is taken seriously--for a modestly better chance that the next Republican presidential primary is in 2020 instead of 2024 and also for a drastically decreased chance that he'll win the nomination if a 2020 primary takes place. This stunningly selfish act of treachery will be, courtesy of social media and Youtube, there for the world to see and remember.
Cruz, aged only 45, rapidly made his way through the cursus honorum. There were many consulships on his horizon. He would've been in a strong position to be Trump's VP. The two led a joint rally together and had been publicly affable towards one another in the debates and other media. In his early fifties at the end of Trump's second term, the 2024 Republican nomination would've been his for the taking.
That's all gone now. If he's done anything, it's united the party against himself, not against Trump.
Varus knew what to do here, Ted.