Political Editors / September 26, 2016

Cruz’s Tepid Endorsement

Ted Cruz finally says he’ll vote for Donald Trump.

On Friday, Ted Cruz finally (gingerly) threw his support behind Donald Trump. Cruz posted on Facebook, “After many months of careful consideration, of prayer and searching my own conscience, I have decided that on Election Day, I will vote for the Republican nominee, Donald Trump.” Not exactly a ringing endorsement, but Cruz has come a long way. The news was greeted by a combination of dismay and relief. There were those “Never Trump” Cruz supporters who were angered by the news, feeling that Cruz had sold out to the Republican establishment. And there were those Republicans relieved that the deepening party rift exposed during the nomination process was at least somewhat mended.

But it seems that Cruz’s decision to support Trump may have been motivated more by consideration for his own political future than any sudden sense of party loyalty. As much as Cruz billed himself as the anti-establishment guy, warnings from the RNC’s Reince Priebus to those who didn’t support Trump coupled with the tightening polls were enough to cause Cruz to blink. At July’s convention, Cruz was betting that Trump’s political stock would inevitably fall, propelling his own “I told you so” position politically. Now that Trump’s made it a close race, Cruz finds himself in the awkward position of having to play politics the same as all “establishment” politicians.

One bright spot in this for Cruz is that he was perhaps able to convince Trump to add Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) to the updated list of proposed Supreme Court justices. As a Cruz spokesman said, “Trump’s willingness and decisive action to release a list of conservative jurists, particularly including Mike Lee, with the promise to choose from that list, was a top factor in Cruz’s ultimate decision.” The remaining question is, will this help Trump more in 2016, or Cruz in 2018 and 2020?

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