Two of our authors have already thoughtfully addressed the topic of Ted Cruz’s recent endorsement of Donald Trump – here and here. I have a brief thought of my own to offer, which I originally intended as a Facebook post.
As I scroll through my news feed sympathetically reading my friends’ expressions of disappointment and sadness about Senator Cruz’s decision, I am struck by just how different their reactions are to those of Trump’s supporters, when Trump has backed away from one of his public stances. Compared to Trump’s constant tune-changing about abortion, socialism and even his campaign cornerstone, immigration, this reversal on Mr. Cruz’s part seems trivial. In fact, I was just naive enough to hold my breath for Trump supporters to express similar disappointment or even disillusionment over Trump’s admittance that “the wall” – the reason so many of his followers claimed to be supporting him – was negotiable. I ought to have known better. Before “the wall,” the stated reason for supporting Trump was that he was self-funded – only he wasn’t. Now he has embraced outright socialism in the form of paid leave at the taxpayer’s expense. Bernie supporters would be proud – conservatives? not so much. But don’t expect Trump’s supporters to turn away in droves any time soon. Not only will they continue to support him, most of them will, at least, pretend to like it. It is impossible for him to disappoint them, because their support of him was never really based on principle. If ever there was a cult of personality, surely there is one around Donald Trump.
Contrast this mindset with that of those who favored Ted Cruz, and continue to oppose Trump and Hillary. Because our support of Ted Cruz was based on absolute principles, we supported him, and, at some level, continue to support him, to the extent, and only to the extent, that he conducts himself in accordance with those principles. We can be disappointed in him, and because we can, it was almost inevitable that, at least to some extent, we would be sooner or later. I still believe what my conscience, informed by my intellect, has lead me to regard as true and right. My political allegiances are informed by my belief system – not the other way around. So while I share this pang of disappointment with my good friends, I am no closer to changing my views than I was before.
The conservative #NeverTrump cause has always been about principles over people.
People change. Right and wrong do not.