There will be a longer piece Saturday about the 2016 Fire on the Cuyahoga River, a/k/a The Republican National Convention. But I wanted to add in my two cents about the Ted Cruz speech and the reaction by the Trump supporters.
First, stop with the “Cruz has Killed his Political Future” talk. Had Social Media existed in 1976, Gerry Ford’s supporters would have been tweeting and blogging about how Ronald Reagan just killed his political career by refusing to endorse a sitting president.
Second, this fiasco is all on Trump and his campaign. They have gone out of their way to squash anything resembling dissent. During the meeting of the rules committee, they made sure the amendment to the rule to allow delegates to vote their conscience was defeated. (Remember all of the gleeful #NeverTrump is dead chortling by Paul Manafort?). They then refused to entertain a demand from the convention floor for a vote. Had the delegates been able to vote their conscience or at least vote on whether they should vote their conscience, Cruz’s comments wouldn’t have been such a big deal.
And let’s be clear Trump was going to be the nominee even if the delegates were able to vote their conscience. There was no white knight around which the various disparate #NeverTrump could/would coalesce. But instead of allowing the issue to be raised and debated by the delegates, the Trump campaign acted as if they were orchestrating the opening to Beijing Summer Olympics. It’s almost as if they saw the Lego Movie and didn’t understand “Everything is Awesome” was satirical.
Third, Trump’s campaign has known for days there would be no endorsement. The campaign had the speech yesterday morning. They knew what was coming. So, why did they allow Cruz to keep the primetime slot? Jerry Brown didn’t endorse Clinton in ’92. As a result, he got the coveted 1:30 am speaking slot. Instead the Trump campaign told Cruz if he didn’t endorse the nominee, Manafort would whipped the crowds up to boo Ted. Which means people at home saw Trump supporters booing someone who said vote your conscience. If I say follow your conscience and the other people tell you don’t listen to me, are they not asking you to do something unconscionable? This is what you want to present to the American People?
Now the other argument is Ted should have been a team player and endorsed Trump just because he is the Republican niminee. After all Marco Rubio did. Yes Marco is a good Republican soldier. But he was also a good Republican soldier in 2013. You remember 2013 when, in the aftermath of the 2012 election, the RNC concluded comprehensive immigration reform was part of the solution to the party’s dismal results in the Hispanic/Latino community. And what did Marco get for putting party before principles and joining the Gang of 8?
Jiminy Cricket has a famous song, “Always Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide.” I’m sure Trump’s response would be, “Lyin’ Jiminy. Surprised no one has stepped on him. Sad!”
Also maybe, just maybe, in retrospect, Trump’s mocking of Heidi Cruz’s looks, lobbing birther attacks on Ted and accusing Cruz’s dad of being an accessory to the murder of a United States President wasn’t such a good idea.