This morning Trump supporters are apoplectic that in his speech at the Republican National Convention last night Senator Cruz did not explicitly support the candidacy of Donald Trump. Big Media delightedly fanned the flames of the controversy. But speaking eloquently in support of the cause of liberty Cruz did in fact signal his support of some of Trump’s main positions, notably the building of a wall and enforcing our immigration laws. And by speaking at the convention he also implicitly encouraged support of the Republican national ticket by those whose conscience is not violated by some of Trump’s positions and his character. This clearly distinguishes him from Kasich the spoiler who is boycotting the convention. Newt Gingrich was correct in pointing out that this passage from Cruz’s speech also comes as close as conscience permits to an explicit endorsement of Trump:
We deserve leaders who stand for principle. Who unite us all behind shared values. Who cast aside anger for love. That is the standard we should expect from everybody. And, to those listening, please don’t stay home in November. If you love our country and love our children as much as you do, 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.
Hillary Clinton and the minor party candidates are untrustworthy on both criteria. The question is whether Trump, no conservative, is trustworthy. Calling for a vote based on one’s conscience Cruz contributed to party unity as much as is possible. Like the candidate himself Trump’s supporters are notable for their passionate emotion during the primary campaigns and now for their vitriol. They are calling for Cruz’s head for raising notes of caution during the convention they considered theirs only. We should remind them that it was a Republican convention, not a Trump love fest. The big tent we will hear about of course includes Republicans who are not wholly aboard the Trump train (or train wreck.) As has been pointed out, a lukewarm endorsement of Trump would signal the kind of opportunism all too common among our politicians. It is rather rich that supporters of the mercurial Trump, whose positions have changed so often we cannot be sure he has any, should condemn Cruz for violating his pledge. But did he violate it? Or keep as much of it as a true conservative could?
Some consider Cruz’s waving the banner of authentic conservatism a political calculation. I would say it is rather a simple declaration of bedrock principle, the very opposite of political calculation and something all too scarce in the cesspool of D.C. politics. That this courageous speech may harm his political future should engender admiration, whether one agrees with him or not.
Trump is calling for renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA,) which has delivered proven prosperity to all three countries involved. He also suggests that the U.S. should ignore its NATO obligations to defend the Baltic states in case of a Russian takeover like that of Crimea if Trump determines that those states have not “fulfilled their obligations to us.” The first position is foolish and ignorant. The second is simply dangerous and astonishing, and not just because it comes from the self-proclaimed Law-and-Order candidate.
I see Cruz’s speech as a warning to the Republican establishment that Trump’s positions need more than just fine-tuning if the election is not to be turned over to Mrs Clinton. As it is, I do not see how she can be stopped, the vitriol and bloody-mindedness of the Trumpkins notwithstanding.
Troglo (L. H. Kevil)