Republican voters in Indiana are going to be faced with a choice tomorrow. At first blush it appears to be a choice between Ted Cruz, the conservative senator from Texas, and Donald Trump, the brash New York businessman who jumped into the driver’s seat of the presidential race last summer. A number of authors have argued the relative merits of the two, from Trump’s dubious business prowess to Cruz’s confrontational anti-establishment style. In reality, however, the real choice is a bit different.
The choice isn’t between Ted Cruz and Donald Trump. It’s between Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton. Trump, a longtime friend of the Clinton family, trails Clinton in 58 of the last 67 polls. In fact, he trails by double digits in 25 of those, and only leads in 6. Polls from stalwart red states Texas, Utah, and Mississippi have Trump and Clinton within the margin of error, while polls from blue states and swing states show Trump losing by wide margins. If Trump is the Republican nominee, a Clinton win becomes nearly inevitable, and Clinton winning by close to 400 electoral votes wouldn’t be impossible. Granted, Clinton hasn’t faced as rancorous a primary as Trump, but Trump hasn’t faced anyone with $2 billion to run ads highlighting his multitude of negatives.
Cruz, after months of vicious attacks by Trump’s campaign and its surrogates, would also face an uphill battle, but has held steady with a slight lead or a statistical tie in general election polls since the end of last year. Clinton is an extremely unlikable candidate who hasn’t faced the kind of concerted attacks from Sanders that Trump’s supporters have launched on Cruz, and a statistical tie at this point, when Clinton is working toward a coronation and Cruz is fighting from behind, translates into a solid victory for Republicans in November.
Those are the alternatives. As a Republican, you be unaware of Trump’s flip-flops on abortion, immigration, gun control, healthcare, or his current support for the most onerous parts of Obamacare. You may like his approach to government and think it’s unimportant to know how to pronounce “Tanzania,” or what the nuclear triad is, or whether or not it’s legal to target noncombatants. You may feel that the president’s personal morality doesn’t matter, and you may not care that he bragged about committing adultery with married women, or has mafia connections, or may have raped his first wife, or is probably absurdly racist, or says disgusting things about women, or was a good friend of serial pedophile Jeffrey Epstein despite appearing to know what the man was doing. You may not know about the debt we owe Cruz’s efforts on trade, religious liberty, gun rights, national sovereignty, or transparency and accountability from our elected officials. Because you don’t know about these things or don’t care, you may think Trump’s the better choice between the two, but know that if you vote for him, you’re pushing the nation one step closer to a Hillary Clinton presidency.