Ted Cruz’ exit from the Republican contest is an interesting moment for conservatives – admittedly, I do not consider myself one.
After losing the national popular vote in five of the last six elections, the common thread espoused by “conservatives” is that the GOP nominee was not conservative enough. If there were a “true conservative,” results would be different.
The definition of “conservative” is one that is fluid and, perhaps, meaningless. Is a “conservative” someone who regulates personal sexual activity or, even more ridiculously, who gets to go in a bathroom? Or is it focused on domestic and/or foreign policy matters?
Whatever it is, I think it’s difficult to come up with someone who fits the definition of “conservative” at this point in our nation’s history better than Ted Cruz. His election to the Senate was a triumph for the Tea Party – although I do not know what is so traditionally conservative about them either.
So if a Ted Cruz cannot win in Republican primaries, how can anyone say that “true conservatives” represent a majority in America? Donald Trump does not fit anyone’s definition of conservative unless that term has been diluted to mean misogynistic, bigoted nationalism. I understand that a significant portion of Trump’s support comes from people who are disillusioned with our political system and the ongoing betrayal by political candidates who say one thing and then don’t do it. But that is a sentiment akin to that of supporters of Bernie Sanders.
Perhaps the weakness in the Cruz candidacy is his odious personality. After all, few national candidates in recent memory have been characterized as “Lucifer in the flesh” by a leader of his own party. And one commentator’s description of his smile as being “sepulchral” is the most devastating – and accurate – description of a personality that I have ever seen.
Nonetheless, the intense dislike of Cruz by members of the establishment and those who have actually dealt with him should have been a badge of honor in this year’s environment. Is it possible, then, that apart from his loathsome personality, “conservatism” is not as popular as some have thought it to be?