Today is November 9th, 2016. Here I sit with my cup of coffee, scrolling through photos of Hillary celebrating her win. I shouldn’t torture myself in such a way, but I want to feel this loss. After such a long and difficult year in politics -after losing friends, gaining friends, and embracing the inevitable – I want to feel the sting of fruition and closure. On January 20th, a woman who escaped federal charges by the skin on her teeth will be sworn in as President of The United States, forever changing and belittling such a position of authority… and it’s our fault. This should have been the easiest election yet, but we failed.
Ted Cruz gave a touching concession speech, and it was early enough for me to attempt to get sleep I knew wouldn’t be coming. The election results were not a landslide, per se, but no one would be second guessing the conclusion. Cruz graciously thanked the voters who backed him, and the people who worked tirelessly for his campaign. Tears fell, hopes were dashed, but he moved the crowd by saying that he would continue to fight for liberty, the Constitution, and for the people of this country. However, his words served as only a balm, and the wound he wished to heal with said words instead requires surgery, staples, countless sutures, and intubation; truth be told, it’s apparent to everyone that we’re on life support.
The RNC will conduct a study and release another autopsy report, with hopes that we’ll heed their advice this time around – something even they failed to do. Conservatives will read the words for the next four years as the ideology of our movement suffers blow after blow. I have little hope in us absorbing the advice given in the report… they could simply copy the previous autopsy report, add stronger wording, and it would mirror the advice we received when Mitt Romney was delivered his own loss.
After the most tumultuous primary race in history, Ted Cruz walked away with the crown and headed for the general ticket. The media had held off, for the most part, and allowed us to eat ourselves alive throughout the primary. Now it was their turn.
Around the first week of August, a panel of 12 DACA recipients came together to discuss the plight of illegal immigrants here in America, and how they have been characterized by the Republican Party; specifically Ted Cruz and Donald Trump. To add to the dramatics, the recipients did not release their names, citing the violent rhetoric directed towards them from the Republican Party as their reasoning. One young 20 year-old female (Female Participant A) gave her touching testimony as the host gently gave his handkerchief to the glassy-eyed young Hispanic woman:
(Female Participant A): “I was only 3 years-old when my parents brought us to America, and I didn’t learn that I was undocumented until I was 18. My parents are good people, they just had nowhere else to turn, and they – like all parents – feared for my life should we stay in the horrible neighborhoods where they were raised.”
Host: “The American people are going to ask you why they didn’t go through the system…”
(Female Participant A): “They had no connections to the USA, and they didn’t qualify for asylum status… [inaudible sobs]”
Host: “Can you each articulate for the viewers what scares you about Ted Cruz?”
(Female Participant B): “I don’t want to be deported… [inaudible sobs] I’m scared of my family being broken apart, I’m scared of losing everything that I’ve worked for. I’m in college, I have a future. Ted Cruz has said he’d send me to Mexico and not allow me to return to the only life I’ve ever known [inaudible sobs] and I…”
Host: “It’s okay, if you’d like to take a moment to regroup we can do that.”
(Female Participant B): “I’m just scared. I have nowhere to go… My first language is English, and so many of the women raised where I’m from are drawn into prostitution out of desperation.”
Host: “Do you think Ted Cruz would hear your stories and follow through?”
(Male Participant C): “We recorded him at rallies during the primaries, we asked him what he would do with us. He said that when laws are broken, people are hurt. That’s just the way it is. He saw us, he knows who he would be hurting, but it’s just another fact of life for him.”
(Female Participant D): “These are our lives, our futures… Why would someone even want to do this to us?”
While the highly publicized special brought in an underwhelming five million viewers, clips of the panel discussion were used throughout the campaign, which would prove to be quite the blow to the Cruz campaign’s White House hopes. SNL spoofed the event with a skit showing a young Hispanic woman in the ghettos of Mexico, and as she spoke horribly broken Spanish, she was unknowingly purchased by a pimp. As “6 Months Later” flashed across the screen, we saw that same young female on a street corner giving the interview with her pimp nearby. She gazed over to him with a look of unmitigated fear, and he scowled back before she turned to the camera to say with a tearful voice over the sound of a laugh track, “Everything is wonderful here! Thank you, President Cruz!”
While the skit was intended to be sardonic in nature, the Hillary Clinton campaign tweeted it out with the message, “Would SNL’s skit be a reality under a Ted Cruz presidency?” This narrative would follow him to the ballot box and, unfortunately, it was too much to overcome on top of everything else. Many pundits and journalists also noted throughout the race that his intent to round up and deport would require internment camps and a police state mentality. Democrats used this to their advantage by pointing out the many times conservatives themselves have spoken out against big government only to nominate someone who sought a bigger government than they ever proposed.
While many believed Ted Cruz’s campaign would die the death of a thousand paper cuts, it turns out that this one stance alone was the irreparable gaping chest wound many of us had warned of.
On Monday, September 26th, the first presidential debate took place at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. While Ted Cruz did his best to distance himself from the fallout caused by Donald Trump, both the moderators and Hillary Clinton questioned his friendly demeanor with the menace who successfully changed the face of the conservative movement.
Moderator: “But didn’t you call him “terrific” after he insinuated that Megyn Kelly was quote “picking on him” because she was on her menstrual cycle? How do you think female voters will respond to you, Mr. Cruz?”
Cruz: “I labeled Mr. Trump a “terrific entertainer,” and I don’t believe that any of us could debate…”
Moderator: “Let me clarify, you said he was “terrific,” and then later said you were speaking towards his reality television career. But did you think the voters knew that’s what you meant when you first said it?”
Cruz: “He is indeed a terrific entertainer, and my point was to…”
Clinton: “Do you know how many dictators and psychopaths were “terrific entertainers”? The facts are, Ted didn’t debate Donald Trump on his policies because he agreed with them.”
Cruz: “That’s simply not true, I fought Dona…”
Clinton: “You only fought him when he turned on you!”
Moderator: “One at a time, please.”
While Cruz attempted to portray Clinton as a criminal, the narrative just wouldn’t stick when the vitriolic rhetoric of Donald Trump was still freshly coating the Senator from Texas.
With the excitement of the primaries dying off in the general, many didn’t tune in for the remaining debates. Disappointment in both candidates was clear, and after a trying year of politics, much of the interest had died off. Clinton’s past had been in the spotlight for so long that the general population was no longer interested, and Donald Trump’s rhetoric had wrapped itself like a noose around the throat of the Ted Cruz campaign. “TrusTed” bumper stickers were destined to be the merciless reminder they have now become. The networks focused on immigration, bringing the faces of those who would be effected by Ted Cruz’s ambitious plans to the surface, and since the young lawyer had very few friends in the political world, the defenses were simply not passionate enough to dig him out of any holes – holes he himself had created.
Ted Cruz had earnestly tried to paint himself as the next Reagan, but Democrats began running ads in late October showing Cruz’s anti-immigrant statements alongside various pro-immigrant statements from Reagan, including those listed below:
“I believe in the idea of amnesty for those who have put down roots and who have lived here even though sometime back they may have entered illegally.”
“For one, we very much need in any immigration bill — we need protection for people who are in this country and who have not become citizens, for example, that they are protected and legitimized and given permanent residency here. And we want to see some things of that kind added to the immigration bill.”
“We have consistently supported a legalization program which is both generous to the alien and fair to the countless thousands of people throughout the world who seek legally to come to America. The legalization provisions in this act will go far to improve the lives of a class of individuals who now must hide in the shadows, without access to many of the benefits of a free and open society. Very soon many of these men and women will be able to step into the sunlight and, ultimately, if they choose, they may become Americans.”
As late-decision voters made their choices in the final weeks of the race, Democrats had successfully separated Ted Cruz from the unifying ideology of Ronald Reagan. Ted Cruz was reduced to a lonely right-wing conservative who casually dismissed those who were hurting, and staged his family’s affection in campaign clips. He was forced to bear the weight of Donald Trump’s narrative after getting cozy with him in the early stages of the primaries, combined with the fact that the young candidate was unable to emotionally connect with female voters, such issues left him hanging by a thread in November.
“I’m not a Christian, and I know Hillary’s past was horrible, but I worried that I, as an atheist, was an insignificant voter in Cruz’s eyes” a female millennial remarked, “I just decided not to vote.”
Many felt that his obsession with social conservatism, while basing his fiscal conservatism on the poor foundation of big government immigration solutions, was conflicting:
“I ended up voting for Hillary because throughout Cruz’s campaign he talked like he had the same dictator-esque attitude that Obama had. Isn’t that why we got fed up with him? I didn’t want Hillary to win, but I wanted to send a message to the GOP that there are middle ground voters that they’re not listening to.”
Other’s used religion as their reason for staying home, including a young man living in a swing state who said he was touched by the wave of DACA recipients who had relentlessly come out against Ted Cruz since his nomination:
“I’m a politically middle leaning Christian, and like, I know that Ted Cruz said that he was a Christian, and I believe him, but I don’t think it’s very Christian for us to, ya know, hurt people who weren’t even old enough to even know they were committing a crime. I found out that a kid at my church was a DREAMer, and I just couldn’t morally vote for either one. Hillary supports hurting the unborn, and Ted supports hurting the already born. It was a losing situation all around.”
Cruz would often respond to the attacks by saying “It’s the law, we are a nation of laws.” However, the Clinton campaign seized the opportunity to bring up the fact that various dreadful actions have been legal in the past – segregation, slavery, etc. – but that we don’t do what is wrong simply because it is legal. This – once again – separated our Party from our past; civil rights, emancipation, etc., were once ours to claim, now Democrats have stolen such victories and used them to fight us and the garbage arguments running rampant under our title.
The ads basically wrote themselves.
Conservative news outlets did their best to defend Cruz, noting that voters simply didn’t understand that to allow illegal immigrants to stay is simply “not fair.” However, with roughly 72% of the nation supporting a way for illegals to stay here legally – including 56% of Republicans – their efforts to curb the general population to Cruz’s way of thinking were futile. Numbers are not as powerful as faces, and the Clinton campaign had brought forward a lot of faces.
After Mitt Romney was dealt a devastating loss, the autopsy report conducted on the election had shown that while immigration is not a first priority with voters, the reaction to the immigration issue is what sways votes. Minorities and women are turned off by negative rhetoric, harsh tactics, and divisive tone.
Some in the Senate warned against Cruz‘s divisive tactics during the primaries.
“I think we’ll lose if he’s our nominee,” said Orrin Hatch, the most senior Republican in the Senate.
“There’s a lot of people who don’t feel he can appeal to people across the board,” Hatch said. “For us to win, we have to appeal to the moderates and independents. We can’t just act like that only one point of view is the only way to go. That’s where Ted is going to have some trouble.”
And it was more than just Hatch:
Graham, for instance, said that Trump was “crazy” with an “insane” foreign policy and Cruz was a “rigid ideologue,” both of which would be problematic against Hillary Clinton, even if voters view her as a “dishonest” candidate, he said.
“Dishonest beats crazy,” said Graham, who dropped his bid for the GOP nomination last month. “Dishonest loses to normal. Just pick somebody normal. Pick somebody out of the phone book and we win.”
However, Conservatives made the fatal mistake of assuming that while they adored their Constitution loving wing-man, the rest of the United States would, as well. While only paying attention to his favorability with Republicans, they failed to see that he was the second least favorable with the general electorate – in a race with Donald Trump, no less. Ted Cruz, as expected, had no issue explaining the logistics of conservative principles with lawyer-like precision, but his inability to connect with voters in their day-to-day lives was painfully obvious. While Hillary failed at the latter portion, as well, she also wasn’t trying to sell them on responsibility and mass deportation. For Cruz, it was like giving Hillary a 2 mile handicap in a 5k.
Now here we sit, on the heels of a devastating loss. Trump has returned to his reality TV lifestyle and crony capitalism, while Hillary is picking out drapery for her new abode – one she is familiar with, I’ll add. The Republicans still hold a majority in the House and Senate, and while they brace for the impact from both sides of the fence, the next four years will be as difficult as the previous eight. Hillary’s road to the White House is paved with the empty echos of “Gang of Eight,” “Establishment,” and “RINO.” A reminder of the fact that conservatives threw their most powerful option under the bus for a man who moved them when he read Green Eggs & Ham, and they labeled their assets as “establishment shills,” and tossed us down the river – building themselves up as the real establishment in the process. The memories of racist rhetoric and underhanded attacks will be a difficult scar for the GOP to cover, and the party itself will struggle to find its way back to the party of Reagan, King, and Bush.
Michelle Malkin and Laura Ingraham will soon release books on how this loss is the fault of Establishment GOP and their plague on the party, I assume it will be filled with baseless claims and simply serve as gas to a fire. Ann Coulter will once again write on the evil of immigration and our need for a dose of Nationalism. Their books will sell out to the masses of self-appointed righteously indignant Americans, putting yet another layer of padding in their bank accounts. Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Mark Levin will have a record number of listeners tune in to hear of their displaced anger because the “Establishment refused to coalesce behind the candidate of The People.” The talking heads will be better off from yesterday’s loss. The death of this election will just lead to their financial gain while the rest of us RINOs attempt to pick up the pieces for future generations.
People like myself who saw this coming – from miles and miles away – will bear the brunt of the pointing fingers. Paul Ryan and the GOP will be blamed – yet again – for keeping people employed and not bringing the economy to a halt (apparently this is a bad thing to the staunch right). While they tirelessly work to stop the overreaching actions of Hillary, the ignorant masses will yell about how Planned Parenthood remains funded. No single “Patriot” deserving of the blame will own it.
There will be very few questions remaining: Will this be remembered in three years when Republicans once again start searching for a candidate, or are we destined to lose on the basis of moral superiority? Will the autopsy reports matter, or will we once again forget that not everyone in this nation is a hard right conservative? Will we continually push away bonafide conservatives because we just really, really, really like a particular unelectable guy?
If you want a picture of how the Donald Trump election would go, just imagine a similar situation, except Donald Trump would back away from most of what he promised, and still lose in a landslide.
Dear Conservatives, Don’t let this post be prophetic.
Vote for Marco Rubio.