Ted Cruz supporters, and I am one, have a decision to make.
My story on this decision starts on May 20, 2014, the night I had the great good fortune to attend a small dinner with Sen. Ted Cruz, to talk strategy and policy. Personally, I was skeptical of him and his chances in a potential presidential bid, which fluttered over the entire conversation like a smart, subtle butterfly.
His replies to my questions floored me. Why on Earth would he run for president when he’d been in the Senate less than two years? Because, he said, he was looking for someone else who was fighting the conservative fight on more than one or two of the major issues of the day – ObamaCare, Amnesty, a rational foreign policy based on peace through strength – and just literally wasn’t seeing anyone else doing it. Other than my boss at the time, Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, I had to flatly admit that was true.
How could he possibly hope to win, I asked? Everyone had counted him out of the Senate bid as well, he said, and he defeated the Establishment favorite and went on to victory in the fall in a bad GOP year.
Republican moderates said every four years, “We need to nominate someone who can win” – and then when the party nominates their choice, they lose, over and over, Ford, Dole, McCain, Romney, because they don’t excite the base or draw in skeptical Independents and Democrats with a compelling vision. It was exactly what I had been arguing for years in academics and beyond.
I came out of that dinner a believer. I’ve been one ever since, even when my belief was tested, as inevitably it was.
Today, all of us who believe Sen. Cruz would make a great president – and conservatives generally – need to decide whether or not we support Donald Trump, now that he is the almost-certain Republican nominee. Some staunch conservatives have decided they can’t – to the point that they may help orchestrate a third-party challenge on Trump’s right.
While I respect that view, I don’t share it. Here are five reasons for a Cruz supporter, and a constitutional conservative more generally, to back Trump, for whatever they’re worth:
1) You had me at “Hillary.”
A third party bid all but assures that Hillary Clinton, Richard Nixon with breasts, will become president. As of today, Trump has the best shot at beating Hillary – and it is absolutely possible, stop saying it’s not.
Republicans who believe Donald Trump is really as bad as Hillary Clinton simultaneously argue that he is lying about what he would do on immigration, abortion, and gun control, but not lying about what he would do on trade and taxes. (If you are more sympathetic to his trade-skeptic and tax-cutting ways, by the way, this double-edged argument actually cuts the wrong way in both directions.) Likewise they assert that in our post-Constitutional era, Hillary would be gridlocked by Congress, while Trump would not be. Would she not have a pen and a phone, like Obama?
2) If Trump wins, the Establishment loses.
OK, so you still think The Donald is as bad or worse than Hillary. Consider this: If Donald Trump loses this election, the Republican Establishment wins it. Trump’s voters will give up voting for the rest of their rapidly shortening lives, which some say they deserve (that’s a winning message for the general election by the way).
Moderates and the media will crow that they told us so: We need to go back to nominating moderates who lose the old-fashioned way. And many conservative voters will grudgingly conclude they’re right. Consider the alternative: If Trump wins this election, the GOP Establishment is finished.
He will have proven once and for all that given the chance, voters reject the pro-amnesty, free-trade-at-all-costs, sweep-social-issues-under-the-carpet, Leftist-narrative-accepting, Washington-Post-only-reading, corrupt pay-for-play politics of the party’s Washington wing.
3) A Trump Presidency would be the Best Antidote for Political Correctness.
Remember, PC did not originate on American college campuses in the 1980s. Plato wrote in his Republic of the need, in the words of one (supportive) scholar, to “suppress free speech and to spread lies in the interest of the state.”
Karl Marx wrote with approval about suppression of speech during the short-lived radical socialist Paris Commune in 1871. When Marxist revolution did not sweep the world after Moscow fell in 1917, socialist theorists trying to figure out why came together in the (in)famous Frankfurt School, housed at the Institute for Social Research (ISR).
The explicitly Marxist Frankfurt School produced Theodor Adorno and Walter Benjamin in the 1920s, arguably the forefathers of Deconstructionism premised on the idea that “truth is the death of intention.” The Frankfurt School also spawned Herbert Marcuse, who joined it in 1932, then almost unbelievably worked in the U.S. Office of Strategic Services (OSS) during World War II and headed the Central European Section of the U.S. Office of Intelligence Research after the War.
The father of the New Left, Marcuse wrote Eros and Civilization (1955) arguing for a sexual revolution to throw off the chains of repression, as well as Repressive Tolerance (1965), which argues for “the practice of discriminating tolerance in an inverse direction, as a means of shifting the balance between Right and Left by restraining the liberty of the Right.” What we call PC is better understood as cultural Marxism, perhaps the greatest struggle of our time of communism against freedom, in which communism is currently winning.
Why did Trump’s support tend to increase with each “gaffe?” Americans instinctively yearn for someone, anyone, to challenge, snap, and eventually destroy the Left’s linguistic fetters that grow tighter every year. Who could possibly do that better than Donald Trump?
4) Trump takes the border and the Jihadi threat seriously.
Whatever you think of Donald Trump’s positions, including their various incarnations over the course of the campaign, he has taken perhaps the strongest stance in the originally 17-person GOP field on immigration. That includes standing up against both illegal aliens pouring across the border as well as what sometimes appears to be Obama’s single-minded attempt to import Jihadis.
If he decides to totally abandon those positions, he couldn’t possibly be worse than Hillary Clinton on border security. But if he’s serious about anything, he appears to be most serious about this. Don’t throw away the potential opportunity to save our territorial integrity and our nation’s security based on an impression that Trump is not a politician and therefore doesn’t conform to a politician’s airbrushed policy positions.
Most Establishment Republicans have been lying to you for decades on immigration; will you really not vote for Trump because you think he’s mediocre at achieving their level of mellifluous mendacity, when he appears to at least be serious?
5) Trump gives us at least a chance of preserving the Supreme Court and thereby the Constitution.
The Left’s attempt to crack down on your freedom of speech is hardly limited to college campuses. In Europe, without the Constitution’s protections, you can be arrested for quoting Churchill or writing a poem about a foreign leader.
Already here in America, Democrats are kicking in the doors of political opponents, jailing those who do not believe in gay marriage, and most recently subpoenaing think tanks for climate change apostasy. Donald Trump is now all that stands between you and a Hillary Clinton-appointed justice who would create a Supreme Court majority of “Interpretivists,” the legal school of thought reacting against the Court’s restrictions on the New Deal which teaches that the Constitution means whatever Leftists believe it should.
The Court has become a mini-legislature in which today’s four Democratic appointees vote in lockstep while the five Republicans do not. I had the privilege to attend a meeting with Justice Antonin Scalia just months before his death at which he noted that for 50 years GOP nominees have been an ideological coin-flip, while Democratic nominees have been uniformly leftist. Granted, early signs of what Trump might do have not been promising.
But anything is more promising than the absolute certainty that Hillary would follow in a half-century-long drive to control the court, including striking down the Second Amendment, supporting her unilateral efforts beyond those of President Obama to open the borders and impose climate change regulations, count illegal immigrants when drawing districts, impose restrictions on your political speech, enshrine abortion and gay marriage for another generation, and protect government employee unions’ ability to take money straight out of their members’ paychecks and spend it on candidates you – and sometimes they – loathe.
In short, a Hillary Clinton presidency would mean the end of the Constitution has you understand it. There’s at least a shot that a Trump presidency would protect the Court majority – especially if you support him and end up helping make the choice.
Granted, Trump poses the danger that he doesn’t mean what he says on issues where you agree, or that he does agree with his less savory supporters on issues on which we passionately disagree. But if good conservatives – especially principled Cruz supporters – like you don’t support him, only they will. He loses, the Establishment and Hillary win. He wins, and those supporters will help shape his presidency.
Those who choose to sit this election out or support a third-party candidate will have my respect for their decision. But don’t choose either path without considering the consequences in the context of the struggle for America in which the nation is currently engaged.