Anticipating the reconstruction the conservative movement will need after this election, Edward Morrissey offers an essential observation over at The Week:
The bitter partisan stalemate resulting from [ideological] purity campaigns on the right and the left created an electorate that no longer trusts in the political process…
… Cruz’s endorsement [of Donald Trump] acknowledges the main lesson Trump’s nomination should teach conservatives: Philosophy is not enough in politics. Voters want to see results and solutions, not just stunts. And if they can’t get either from the leaders of the governing class, they’ll go outside the system instead.
Morrissey thus notes the role Cruz played in creating Trump. Political theater staged with unattainable demands (like defunding Obamacare) led voters to despise their own party. Candidates like Cruz, along with opportunistic PACs, used manufactured drama to fundraise and build lists. That was all well and good for them, but accomplished nothing to advance causes they claimed to champion.
A renewed conservative movement will need to take this lesson into account and adopt a more rational course. Whatever form that takes remains to be seen, but ought not repeat past mistakes. A positive and practical vision of the future, rather than the divisive negativity of the past several years, may eventually redeem what has been lost.