Let’s face it: Ted Cruz is not long for this campaign.
In Indiana, Cruz trails Donald Trump in all recent polls of likely Republican primary voters, sometimes by double digits. Indiana awards its delegates in a winner-take-all system both by district and overall, so if Trump does as well there as he’s expected to tonight, or if he outperforms expectations as he did last week in five eastern states, he may end the #NeverTrump movement altogether — at least what’s left of it in the Republican primary.
For his part, Ted Cruz seems unaware that he’s simply another character in Donald Trump’s masterful, avant garde performance art project. A project that, to be sure, threatens the earth, but an act all the same.
So while Donald Trump has spent the past day milking Cruz’s various misfortunes (most of them orchestrated by The Donald himself) the Texas senator seems determined to power through, addressing each point in earnest, as if this primary were a theater for politics, rather than political theater.
Take, for example, Cruz’s confrontation of a gaggle of Trump supporters yesterday in Marion, Indiana.
Cruz was on his way to a waiting car, busy primary schedule ahead of him, when a group of Trump supporters heckling him. Cruz seemed to think it was wise to address their concerns about his record, and so he walked over and began showing off his champion debate skills.
“I think that anyone who wants to be president owes it to the people of this state to come in front of you and ask for your support. And I’m running to be everyone’s president, those who vote for me, and –”
“We don’t want you,” one protestor interjected.
The rest of the exchange went about as well. Trump, of course, referenced it in a speech later that day, lauding the protestor for his guts and mastery of the facts.
A day earlier, after she unironically introduced “the next president of the United States, Ted Cruz” Carly Fiorina tripped and fell briefly, catching herself just as the Cruz family walked on stage. While the first video to surface of the incident made Ted Cruz look like an uncaring psychopath who ignored his future vice president’s safety, the more camera angles that came out, the more Cruz looked like he simply hadn’t seen Fiorina fall.
Fiorina was fine, if it matters. And Donald Trump, of course, didn’t wait for confirmation before calling Cruz “weird” for ignoring the fall.
Then, this morning, Donald Trump recalled a National Enquirer story (yes, this is our politics now) which linked Rafael Cruz, Ted’s father and a Cuban immigrant, to Lee Harvey Oswald. Apparently there’s a grainy photo of them together. Trump said that “no one talks about it” — the fact that Cruz and Oswald were, dubiously, in the same picture.
“This is nuts. This is not a reasonable position, this is just kooky,” Cruz said to a press gaggle this morning, in what will surely be remembered as his own anti-Trump farewell speech, similar to Marco Rubio’s a few weeks ago. “I’m going to do something I haven’t done for the entire campaign,” he said, “I’m going to tell you what I really think of Donald Trump.”
“This man is a pathological liar. He doesn’t know the difference between truth and lies. He lies, practically every word that comes out of his mouth.” He continued, “Everything in Donald’s world is about Donald.”
“Morality does not exist for him.”
That’s a great speech, Ted. But it’s too little, too late. Good luck in the private sector, and God help us all.
Video: Fox News, WISH-TV, RealClearPolitics.
Copyright 2016 The National Memo