Election 2020

Ted Cruz: Last, Best Hope for the 'Establishment'?

AP Photo/Paul Sancya

The tea party may finally be victorious. Neil Bush, brother of George W. and Jeb, endorsed Ted Cruz on Tuesday. Meghan McCain, daughter of Senator John McCain, endorsed Ted Cruz on Wednesday, and South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham — once a staunch Cruz opponent — has floated the idea of backing Cruz as well.

As the Associated Press reported, anxious Republican officials may be coming to terms with the idea that Cruz — their second-least-favorite GOP presidential candidate — may be the last chance to stop Trump’s march to the nomination.

Neil Bush has joined Cruz’s national finance team. The campaign released his name, and the name of his wife, among 13 new additions who previously backed other candidates, such as Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, Rick Perry, and Marco Rubio. Last summer, former president George W. Bush told supporters at a Denver fundraiser for his brother Jeb’s campaign that Cruz was the one candidate who most annoyed him. “I just don’t like the guy,” Bush said. Perhaps his brother Neil wasn’t listening.

McCain did not mention her father or Cruz’s deeds in the U.S. Senate in her endorsement of the Texas senator. Instead, she referred to former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, a former presidential candidate who also endorsed Cruz on Wednesday.

“I was a huge, huge Carly Fiorina fan and supporter,” McCain said on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto show. “I think she has the capacity to get a lot of young, conservative women taking a second look at Ted Cruz.” She further added, “For me, honestly, I’ve been hesitant about Ted Cruz and the Carly Fiorina endorsement has swayed my personal opinion.”

Fiorina praised Cruz as the only candidate who can beat Trump. She claimed that there is no difference between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, calling them “two sides of the same coin. They’re not going to reform the system — they are the system.”

Graham, for his part, has reluctantly embraced the idea of a Cruz nomination. “It’s an outsider year, and the most logical person to take on Trump based on past performance is Ted Cruz,” the South Carolina senator declared. Graham suspended his own presidential campaign right before Christmas last year, right before the filing deadline to appear on the ballot in his home state, where he had extremely low poll numbers.

“He’s not my preference, but here we are,” Graham said about the Texas senator. “If Trump wins Florida and Ohio, I don’t know if we can stop him.”

Earlier this year, Graham said the choice between Trump and Cruz “is like being shot or poisoned.” The Republican establishment may be deciding on a slower path of death — but this may be great news for true conservatives, of whom Cruz is a foremost leader. We can only hope the stain of the “establishment” does not drag Cruz down as it did Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio.