Ted “government shutdown” Cruz has had his comeuppance, enduring possibly the worst two weeks in the history of presidential politics. Consider the following:
- Desperate to stop Donald Trump, he paired with John Kasich and made a much publicized deal to unite and pool resources against Trump. In another revealing look into the Republican mind, they decided that only Cruz would campaign in Indiana and Kasich in Pennsylvania. Apparently, they did the math, and concluded that their odds were better with only one weak candidate running against Trump instead of two. The whole deal fell apart wen Cruz, in true Cruz fashion, changed his tune and said that there was no deal and that the reason Kasich wasn’t campaigning in Indiana was that he’d dropped out of the race (he hadn’t).
- Cruz, despite the fact that the convention and a nomination was still two months away, decided it was time to name a running mate, selecting maybe the only person in the country less popular than him, Carly Fiorina. In an abnormally uncomfortable press conference, Fiorina sang a song to Cruz’s young daughters, which would have reminded presidential historians of the time that John Tyler sang to William Henry Harrison’s goldfish had that ever happened. While the move did nothing to generate more votes for Cruz, it was successful in adding yet another genuinely weird and head-scratching moment to an epically weird campaign.
- At least Cruz was able to take comfort from his friends in congress, except that he has no friends in congress. That became clear when former House Speaker John Boehner ripped Cruz apart, calling him “Lucifer in the Flesh,” instantly angering devil worshipers around the world. It was a telling indictment of Cruz’s likability that he was able to make not only Lucifer but also John Boehner sympathetic figures.
- Trump, the presumptive Republican nut job, targeted Cruz’s father in his latest wacko conspiracy theory, implying that Raphael Cruz was involved in the JFK assassination.
At the end of all of this, after getting trounced yesterday in Indiana, Cruz finally did the only thing he could do: he put his campaign out of its misery, all but ensuring that Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee. Let me repeat that, and let it sink in for a moment:
Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee for president.
Donald Trump the reality television star. Donald Trump the conspiracy enthusiast, who believed President Obama’s birth certificate was fraudulent and who apparently believes that Raphael Cruz was involved in the JFK assassination. Donald Trump who believes that Japan and South Korea and other countries should be given nuclear weapons. Donald Trump who not only supports a ban on Muslims but also supports the state sponsored public murder of innocent family members of suspected terrorists. Donald Trump who said that all illegal immigrants from Mexico are rapists and murderers. Donald Trump who is not only going to build a great wall that runs the length of the Mexico border but will also get Mexico to pay for it. Donald Trump who said that women who get abortions should be punished. Donald Trump who enthusiastically supports state sponsored torture.
Never before in American history has such an ill informed and extreme and dangerous candidate been this close to winning the presidency. And there is no reason to believe he can’t win. If there’s one thing we should take away from the primaries, where the other sixteen candidates fell, it’s that Trump should never be under estimated.
We could spend a lot of energy trying to figure out how and why Trump’s gotten this far. That would be an interesting and necessary bit of analysis. But the more immediate concern has to be making sure he doesn’t get any further. The stakes – the future of the country, and possibly the world – couldn’t be greater.