Iowa radio host Steve Deace — who was one of Ted Cruz’s most important backers in the first primary state and who has a nationally syndicated radio show — recently asked his followers on Twitter whether they want Senator Ted Cruz to publicly endorse Donald Trump.
If you’re a @tedcruz supporter, do you want him to endorse Trump for president?
— Steve Deace (@SteveDeaceShow) May 27, 2016
The results show that 83% say no, while only 17% say they want Cruz to use his political capital to help Trump. Those are shocking numbers. After all, they’re members of the same party. Only a few years ago, it was considered completely normal for a defeated candidate to endorse the guy (or woman) who beat him.
Not so this year. In fact, Cruz’s base demands the opposite. As co-founder of Ted Cruz 45, a grassroots movement supporting him for president, I can guarantee you that Deace’s Twitter followers aren’t the only Cruz supporters who would will feel betrayed if he makes a 180 and does the unthinkable.
— Steve Picray (@stevepicray) May 27, 2016
The reason is simple: Cruz’s own base is highly principled. They support him because he was willing to stand alone in defense of those principles, even when it had a negative impact on his relationship with the powers that be. Cruz endorsing Trump would lead these conservatives to the conclusion that Cruz wasn’t the man they thought he was. And that’ll cost him a lot of political capital, perhaps even all of it.