A lot of folks on social media are chuckling at Ted Cruz over this video, calling it the final indignity in his humiliating journey to supporting Donald Trump. For one thing, it's been more of a 360 than a 180. Cruz was for Trump before he was against him, with each flip corresponding with the Texan's perceived political interests. For another, I'm not sure I see it this as an embarrassing episode the way others do. This post-debate answer was embarrassing. This clip, in my view, is not:
Sure, I get it: Cruz buddied up to Trump, then slammed him for deranged attacks on his wife and father, before rebuffing his one-time "friend" by pointedly declining to endorse him in a primetime convention speech -- getting booed off the stage for the snub. And now here he is, sitting in a room somewhere, placing phone calls to Texas voters (the race there is too close for comfort, according to a recent poll) against a backdrop of Trump signs. The optics do seem a little...sad! But since Cruz finally decided to latch onto a pretext and endorse the guy, so what? This is politicians do. It's a rally-the-faithful, team-building exercise. In fact, here's Cruz doing the same thing on behalf of the party two years ago:
You'll also notice that in the first clip, Cruz doesn't mention the presidential nominee by name, so he's not quite phonebanking "for Trump" per se. He's just asking rank-and-file Tarrant County Republicans to turn out on November 8, or to vote absentee ahead of time. Shrug. The question is whether Trump fans who more or less burned Cruz in effigy after his convention speech (Trump mused about bankrolling a primary challenge to his former rival in 2018) will see this video as a weak, defeated Beta Male knuckling under to Avenger Don, or if they'll respect Cruz for getting on board and doing his part. Mockery vs. forgiveness: To be determined. Given Cruz's calculating nature, and the fact that he was well aware of how this all looks, it seems like he's counting on option B.