Sources: Ted Cruz Won't Endorse Trump, Looks To 2020

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Jul 20, 2016 6:37 PM
Sources: Ted Cruz Won't Endorse Trump, Looks To 2020

UPDATE: As Katie wrote, Cruz didn't endorse Trump, told delegates to vote their conscience, and left the stage amid very loud boos. It was brutal.

***Original Post***

Cleveland, OHIO– Sen. Ted Cruz is set to address the Republican National Convention, though he doesn’t plan on endorsing Republican nominee Donald Trump, according to sources. National Review’s Eliana Johnson has more:

Going into tomorrow night’s speech, Cruz undoubtedly has Ronald Reagan’s 1976 convention speech in mind. Though Reagan narrowly lost the nomination to Gerald Ford that year, his speech succeeded in convincing the delegates gathered in Kansas City that they had chosen the wrong man. (Paul Manafort, now Trump’s campaign chairman, was at the time a young operative instrumental in wrangling delegates on Ford’s behalf.)

But Reagan endorsed Ford.

This all comes, as party elders fear the worst come November. Cruz has already started planning laying down the groundwork for his 2020 run—a part of which involves an alliance of non-profits to keep the grassroots energy going (via Politico):

Ted Cruz decompressed from his crushing 2016 loss by starting to plan for 2020.

[…]

In late June, Cruz invited more than 100 of his top bundlers and donors to a retreat in La Jolla, California, that is reported here for the first time. They were treated to meals, a cruise and detailed presentations about how the campaign spent their money and what was coming next by some of Cruz’s top brass, including Roe, chief strategist Jason Johnson, data and research director Chris Wilson, political director Mark Campbell and senior adviser David Polyansky, according to two attendees.

Campbell, meanwhile, is launching two new nonprofit groups, a 501(c)(3) and a 501(c)(4), to house some of Cruz’s senior team, as first reported by National Review, including Paul Teller, his former chief of staff, Bryan English, his Iowa state director, and Brian Phillips, his campaign rapid response director. Polyansky, who began on Scott Walker’s staff but rose to become one of Cruz’s most trusted advisers during the primary, has since taken the helm of his Senate office as chief of staff.

The idea is that the allied nonprofits will tend to Cruz’s grass-roots donor base, synergize with other movement groups, generate fresh legislative ideas, and organize Cruz’s early-state travels.

Yet, what if Trump wins the 2016 election?

An RNC official told Yahoo! News, “If Trump wins, you better bet your ass Cruz is going to primary him.” Yet, here’s the thing about Cruz. On paper, he’s the reddest of red meat conservatives, but he needs to move away from his lecture-style delivery on the stump. You don’t need to explain everything; we all know you’re a well-educated lawyer, my friend. Cruz was able to score a string of victories in the midst of Trumpmentum and his grassroots army will keep his operation well fed. But before we say he’s like Reagan or pulling a Reagan-style strategy to clinch the nomination in the future, let’s not forget that Reagan was popular. Cruz isn’t. He also has to deal with Gov. Scott Walker, Sen. Marco Rubio, and other up and coming Republicans who have better favorable ratings and legislative accomplishments. Yet, let’s just leave the 2020 talk there. What does seem to be a good bet is that when that year rolls around, you can bet that Cruz fever will break again—and that his operation will be a well funded, well oiled machine in their second attempt at the White House.