If you are a supporter of Texas Senator Ted Cruz, this will be painful to hear, but RedState Managing Editor Leon Wolf says that, when you examine the numbers, only Florida Senator Marco Rubio is able to defeat real estate tycoon Donald J. Trump for the Republican nomination.
Wolf prefers Cruz over Rubio, but he is endorsing the Floridian:
On Super Tuesday, I will step into the voting both [sic] and cast my vote for Marco Rubio. I will do it without reservation, although I would have preferred Cruz from both an ideological and temperamental standpoint. I recognize that Rubio would still be the best and most conservative nominee I will have ever had the opportunity to vote for in the general, and I can’t really be sad about not getting Cruz when my second choice is a pretty darn good option.
This decision comes down to raw numbers for the RedState editor. He examined Dan McLaughlin’s Wednesday post, which argues “The Ted Cruz Campaign Will Win Or Lose By March 6.” McLaughlin writes that Cruz’s niche appeal to “very conservative” and “evangelical Christian” voters will not be enough to defeat Trump’s support among “moderates,” “somewhat conservative,” and “non-evangelical Christian” voters. McLaughlin used the results from the first four GOP nominating states (Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada) and found Cruz wanting in his ability to reach beyond his natural base.
Wolf summarizes the argument this way:
Long story short: Ted Cruz cannot expand beyond his current base of “Evangelical” and “Very conservative” voters. He has tried, and failed. What’s equally important is that he has failed to increase his standing within those groups, and wrested any portion of them away from either Trump or Rubio. Rubio, meanwhile, has increased his standing with every group of Republican voters. He has dominated late deciders in every primary other than New Hampshire.
Although Cruz notes that he is the only candidate who has beaten Trump, Wolf acknowledges that “the idiosyncrasies of the Iowa caucus electorate handed him a narrow win over Trump in a small-delegate state,” but “he’ll never have a contest as favorable to his electoral strengths as Iowa again.”
Wolf endorses Rubio as half lament, half call to arms:
I would love to have Ted Cruz as my President. But I can’t keep holding on to the dream that it will happen when math is staring me in the face saying that it can’t. Following that path is exactly what led us to McCain in 2008 and Romney in 2012, and Trump is a much greater menace than either.
His argument boils down to a twist on the classic phrase “Carthago delenda dst,” which translates to “Carthage Must Be Destroyed.” The Roman orator Cato the Elder would finish every speech with this phrase, and it seems Wolf and many other conservatives, given the option, would do the same — but for a different enemy. Wolf believes Cruz would be a better president than Rubio, and that he would defeat former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, but all other considerations pale next to the fundamental goal. Trump delenda est.