Election 2020

National Review Endorses Ted Cruz

(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

National Review made a stir when it unleashed a special issue in late January attacking Republican front-runner Donald Trump. On Friday, the editors of the magazine went positive, making a late endorsement of Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

The editors ground their support largely on issues and ideology, two of the main facets they found lacking among Trump’s campaign:

Cruz is a brilliant and articulate exponent of our views on the full spectrum of issues. Other Republicans say we should protect the Constitution. Cruz has actually done it; indeed, it has been the animating passion of his career. He is a strong believer in the liberating power of free markets, including free trade (notwithstanding the usual rhetorical hedges)….He forthrightly defends religious liberty, the right to life of unborn children, and the role of marriage in connecting children to their parents — causes that reduce too many other Republicans to mumbling.

The editors are not without their criticisms of the Texas senator, however.

He has sometimes made tactical errors, in our judgment; but conflicts have also arisen because his colleagues have lacked direction, clarity, and urgency. In any case, these conflicts pale into insignificance in light of Republicans’ shared interest in winning in November and governing successfully thereafter.

National Review also criticized Cruz’s original campaign strategy — “that the general election can be won by mobilizing conservatives who have been heretofore quiescent politically” — as “fanciful.” Nevertheless, they noted that he has adopted “a more empirically grounded strategy” in the primaries, and will likely do so in the general election.

While the endorsement was mostly positive, it was not without its own focus on halting Donald Trump. The editors praised Cruz as “Republicans’ best chance for keeping their presidential nomination from going to someone with low character and worse principles.”

This past week has been a whirlwind of presidential endorsements. After Gov. Chris Christie, two more former presidential candidates came out with endorsements — Ben Carson of Trump, and Carly Fiorina of Cruz. Action actor Chuck Norris also endorsed Cruz, as did Sen. Mike Lee, along with Sen. John McCain’s daughter and George W. Bush’s brother. National Review‘s endorsement marks one more step in the consolidation of the anti-Trump movement toward Ted Cruz. But will it be too late?