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Cruz’s Boundless Opportunism

Ted Cruz is reportedly going to endorse Trump after all:

Multiple sources close to Ted Cruz say the Texas senator is expected indicate his support for Donald Trump as soon as Friday.

It is unclear whether Cruz will say only that he is voting for the Republican nominee, as other lawmakers have done, or offer a more full-throated endorsement, but the idea of throwing any support to Trump is controversial within Cruzworld.

“If he announces he endorses, it destroys his political brand,” said someone who had worked for Cruz’s campaign.

As I said after he refused to endorse Trump, Cruz is nothing if not an opportunist. When Trump first started running in 2015, Cruz didn’t attack him and praised him on occasion, and then when Trump became his main rival Cruz became fiercely hostile. Once Trump secured the nomination, Cruz calculated that Trump was doomed in the fall and that the smarter bet to distance himself from the nominee. Now that the race has tightened and Trump still has an outside chance at winning, his calculation has changed once again, and he is ready to get on board the Trump bandwagon in one form or another. Of course, all politicians are self-promoters and opportunistic, but Cruz is an extreme case of a politician who jumps at each new chance for self-promotion without considering the efficacy or long-term consequences of what he does. He refused to endorse Trump because he bet that his stock would rise inside the GOP as a result. Instead, his favorability among Republicans cratered, and now he has to reverse course to repair some of the damage that has been done.

The trouble for him is that Cruz’s self-seeking maneuvers have mostly done his political career great harm, and because he has tried to sell himself as the “consistent conservative” his record of switching back and forth between pro- and anti-Trump positions is all the more damaging. His convention performance cost him the support of many Republicans that backed Trump in the primaries, and if he endorses Trump he will lose the support of many of the people that lauded him for his “courage” and “honor” two months ago. Each time Cruz has tried to seek his own short-term advantage, he has made the wrong choice, and at the end he left himself looking more ridiculous to all sides of the party.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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