OPINION: Conservatives Must Drop Marco Rubio, Rally to Ted Cruz

Trump Schwarzenegger (Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)
Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press

It is time for conservatives to come together to stop Donald Trump. It is time to unify around Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).

I say this as someone who has refrained up to this point in supporting a specific Republican candidate for President.

To my friends who support Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL): this is not an easy time. You supported your candidate for all of the right reasons. Conservative. An optimist. Someone who arguably is best positioned in a match-up against Hillary.

No doubt, your frustration or sorrow must be great. But the numbers are what they are, and it turns out that too many second, third and fourth place finishes have left Rubio in a position where he doesn’t have a viable path to a majority of the delegates — even if he were to win Florida, which is more unlikely now than it was before Tuesday’s results.

It is time for Rubio supporters to find it within themselves to shift their support to Ted Cruz. Will that be easy? Of course not. You chose Rubio for a reason. And certainly Cruz isn’t perfect — he has his faults. And of course primaries are sharp-elbow affairs, where things are said in the heat of the moment that can create animus.

But the frontrunner candidacy of Donald Trump represents an existential threat to the idea that the Republican Party can be liberated from the establishment by constitutional conservatives. It is a threat that cannot be stopped as long as conservative voters — who can see through the sham of Trump — are split between two candidates.

As a California conservative, I lived through the painful governorship of Arnold Schwarzenegger, who campaigned as a populist conservative, then governed as a tax-raising climate change activist. He left a state GOP in shambles in his wake. I have already written about the uncanny similarities between Arnold and Donald.

Now is also the time for Cruz supporters to exhibit grace. It is a time to acknowledge that Rubio is a fellow conservative, and that his supporters are part of the same movement to restore our republic. Reach a hand out and welcome his supporters, but understand that it is a difficult time for those who had pinned their hopes on another.

The primary we all wanted — the one where a debate of ideas would take place, policies would be discussed, and informed decisions would be made — that never came to be, as “reality TV” has consumed the entire process. I don’t have to tell you about the dangers of a Donald Trump — if I do, then you are not the intended audience of this column. Every primary or caucus that takes place going forward, with Cruz and Rubio battling it out, gives Trump a huge advantage, and more delegates than he would otherwise win.

My friend and prominent conservative radio talk show host and blogger Erick Erickson on The Resurgent writes about a Cruz/Rubio ticket and makes a strong case. Maybe thay can come together.  It’s more likely with their respective supporters encouraging it.

The alternative to consolidating behind a Cruz candidacy is the overwhelming likelihood that Donald Trump will be crowned the Republican nominee in July, with everything that comes with that.

I should add that if circumstances were reversed, and if it were Rubio with the significant delegate lead and the opportunity, that I would be urging Cruz supporters to rally behind the Florida senator.

In closing, I would say to my friends who are supporting the candidacy of Ohio Governor John Kasich, who likely are not movement conservatives: there is no real path for your candidate to become the nominee,  and he, too, is helping divide up the #NeverTrump vote. Conservatives like Cruz and Rubio may not be your cup of tea, but the alternative of Trump should really help motivate you to change your perspective just a bit.

History will look back at this moment as pivotal in the outcome of the race for the Republican nomination for president.


Jon Fleischman is the Politics Editor of Breitbart California. A longtime participant, observer and chronicler of California and national politics, Jon is also the publisher at www.flashreport.org. His column appears weekly on this page. You can reach Jon at jon@flashreport.org or on Twitter @flashreport.


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