Let me be clear right up front: I am not a Ted Cruz fan. I'm not really a fan of any Republicans, but particularly not Ted Cruz. I find his politics and his rhetoric upsetting. I would prefer he keep his evangelical religion out of American politics. I am glad that he doesn't have a chance at becoming the next President. All that being said, I do agree with him on one crucial point: I absolutely dread Trump becoming the next President.
The infamous non-endorsement
In his now infamous RNC speech, Cruz chose not to endorse Trump, instead telling Republicans to "vote their conscience." He basically told Republicans to vote for someone other than the party's nominee, from the stage at the #Republican National Convention. The line was not taken well by convention goers. In fact, they booed Cruz off the stage. Many had expected Cruz to use the opportunity to change his stance on Trump and give an endorsement like his other former rivals. Both Ben Carson and Chris Christie spoke at the convention offering Trump their full support. Instead, Cruz took the opportunity to give a rousing speech reminding Republicans of the values the GOP has always supported and then told people to follow their conscience.
The importance of Cruz's message
Though I have never really agreed with anything Ted Cruz has done in the past, I completely agree with his choice not to endorse Trump, and not just because I really don't like Trump. What Ted Cruz really showed the country this week is that he's willing to speak up for what he believes, even if it hurts him politically and even if it's opposite of what his party is saying. Cruz is the first Republican who has been brave enough to say that Trump is bad for America since the nomination was official. Many high profile Republicans, including Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney, have been very vocal about their dislike for Trump in the past, but since he clinched the nomination they have been quiet. The Republican party seems to be resigned to the fact that Trump is what the people want.
When Cruz refused to endorse Trump even though his party had nominated Trump, Cruz was really saying that the two party system isn't working for this country anymore. Cruz was saying that as a committed member of the Republican party he could not, in good conscience, endorse his party's nominee. He was really saying that we need more options. He was representing the fact that the Republican party has broken, maybe in ways which are irreparable. He made it clear that he doesn't have to toe the party line and neither do other Republicans. I think that was really brave, and I think it was the message that this country needs to hear.
The system isn't working
This primary season has produced two of the least liked nominees ever. Their unfavorable ratings are the highest ever recorded by CNN, who started polling this topic in 1984. Democrats hate Hillary so much they'll vote for Trump. Republicans hate Trump so much they'll vote for Hillary. Hundreds of thousands of members from both parties supported a different candidate during the primary season. Most of the country is left feeling like they'd rather skip the polls entirely because they won't be able to sleep at night if they vote for either candidate. The movement for third party candidates is larger than ever. It's clear that the two party system has failed the country in this election.
When Cruz said "vote your conscience" he spoke for all of the disenfranchised Americans who will feel dirty voting for their party's candidate.The problem we're left with now is how do we live with whoever we do elect? #Donald Trump #Election 2016