As a Ted Cruz supporter, I have the appropriate regret that my guy will not be the nominee. I share that lament with millions of other Republicans whose favored candidates took the exit ramp.
For my part, I sought the bold and consistent conservatism Cruz would have brought to the Oval Office. It struck me as the best antidote to the nightmare we have traveled during two terms of Barack Obama.
But now I have a job to do, as a Republican, as a conservative, as an American. It is my job to resist any urge to walk off in a huff, allowing my wounded feelings to permit a Hillary Clinton presidency.
There are two kinds of Republicans now: those who get that and those who don’t.
The ones who don’t may be fans of Cruz or Kasich, Rubio voters still not over it, or the tiny sliver of Republicans who still can’t believe it’s not Jeb.
Maybe they are pundits who just can’t believe their antennae were aimed so badly. Maybe they are donor-class elites stunned that voters did not follow their suggestions. Maybe they are party bosses quivering at the thought of a nominee who won’t march to their tune. Maybe they are establishment comfort-zone addicts getting the vapors because the old half-measures have fallen out of favor.
No matter the reason, to everyone whose head slumped as Donald Trump delivered his Indiana victory speech, which might as well have been his nomination acceptance speech, a wake-up call is due.
It is time to wake up from the absurd dreams of a third party run. It is time to wake up from the stupor that has led so many to insult the millions of Americans who have given Trump his victory. It is time to wake up from the twisted revenge fantasy of the geniuses who preach that some punishment must be meted out for the sin of elevating Trump.
The punishment they offer is a Hillary Clinton presidency, and no conservative should be willing to pay that price.
Is Trump’s conservatism spotty? Does some of his populism actually offend conservative values? Yes. has some of his behavior been soundly un-presidential? To say the least. While some criticism of Trump has been wildly excessive and poisonous, some of it has been more than deserved.
But any conservatives stewing in the juices of resentment need to recognize that we have an economy to save and a Constitution to protect. Donald Trump will not approach either task with the clarity of a Cruz, but he will be a better steward of both than the absolutely guaranteed disaster of Obama’s third term.
A Hillary presidency will bring certain ruin to the Supreme Court. Illegal immigration will be ignored if not encouraged. Crushing government expansion will suffocate businesses and taxpayers. Global jihad will be soft-pedaled. The Second Amendment will be attacked without end. The political correctness that suppresses rights and poisons discourse will have a continued home in the presidency.
The suggestion that Hillary and Trump are sort of the same thing is evidence of a deep perceptual disorder. The good news is that there is a cure. It’s called the healing power of time, coupled with the growing menace of the Hillary campaign.
I don’t know if George Will can be deprogrammed, and he will probably be joined by a snooty resistance that will never accept the will of the primary voters. But for most, once the conventions come and go, a comforting focus will settle in.
People deep in despair today will come to realize that at worst, Donald Trump is a candidate who does not bring a complete package of conservatism. At best, he may actually do the conservative things he says he will do, and the rest will be a mixed bag no worse than “big-government conservative” George W. Bush offered, and surely no worse than his brother Jeb would have tried to sell us.
Trump himself may be of value in this healing process. His primary competition is gone, and with it the engrossing but jarring persona he put on to gain this victory. Tuesday night, Ted Cruz was no longer “Lyin’ Ted,” but a “tough, smart competitor.”
Trump will no longer be the source of messy Republican internecine warfare. From here on out, it will only come from the tattered shreds of the NeverTrump cult or highbrow pseudo-intelligentsia who just can’t get over their grudges.
We should pray that even they will decide to fight the battle every conservative must now take up: the fight to save America from Hillary Clinton.
Conservatism is not harmed in the least by a Trump nomination. It is what it is, and its adherents will remain strong and vocal. if a President Trump needs some pushback from conservatives, he will get it.
What he needs from conservatives from here on out is support— not because he was everyone’s first or even second choice, but because now he is the only choice.
The system has worked. Not everyone is happy. Democrats still exist, and must be beaten in November. In this very different year, those constants remain.
Now everybody grow up, armor up, and let’s kick the Democratic Party out of the White House.