The old conventional wisdom was that Ted Cruz was too disliked by official Washington, too hard-lined conservative, to get the support of the Republican establishment. The new conventional wisdom has the Republican Party movers and shakers turning to Cruz and saying, in effect, “Help us, Senator Ted Cruz. You’re our only hope.”
Two developments are driving this sudden attempt at rapprochement by what Cruz calls “the Washington Cartel” and the fiery tea party conservative.
First, Donald Trump continues to score victories in election primaries, padding his stable of delegates.
A Trump nomination is the nightmare scenario for the Republican establishment, which sees that development leading to disaster in November, which would include not only the loss of the presidency but the Senate and perhaps the House.
Second, while Cruz is scoring his own impressive victories, coming in second in the delegate count, Sen. Marco Rubio, that candidate the Republican establishment would prefer to deal with, is just not performing. Indeed, polling data and the results of primaries suggest that were Rubio and John Kasich to withdraw from the race, Cruz would beat Trump handily in a one on one race.
Just to illustrate the case of dogs and cats living together, Neil Bush, the brother of Jeb and George W, has joined Cruz’s finance team. The move not only represents the addition of the Bush family fundraising operation to Cruz’s campaign but represents a tacit endorsement of the family that has already produced two presidents of the United States.
The developing alliance has some pitfalls for Cruz if he is not careful. The basis of his popularity, much like that of Trump, is that he is an outsider, defying the machinations of the Washington, inside the beltway crowd.
He has to be seen as bending his former enemies to his will. If he is seen as having been coopted by the Republican establishment, he will be lost to millions of people who might otherwise support him.
On the other hand, if Cruz can unite the now fractious Republican Party behind him, he will be well on his way to the presidency and, like his model Ronald Reagan, to becoming a world-historic figure.