- The Washington Times - Friday, April 22, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

It seems, because he’s the last man standing to challenge businessman Donald Trump (from at least getting the 1,237 delegates Mr. Trump needs to clinch the GOP nomination), Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is now considered part of the establishment.

According to a Huffington Post/YouGov poll taken this week, 62 percent of Republican and Republican-leaning voters say that Mr. Cruz is more of an establishment candidate than they did in December, when just 36 percent said he was part of the Republican card-carrying, Washington elite. By contrast, only five percent say Mr. Trump is part of the establishment, down one percentage point since the December poll.

No, folks. Mr. Cruz is not part of the establishment.

This is a man who’s torn apart the Republican elite. Former presidential candidates Lindsay Graham and Jeb Bush only begrudgingly backed him before the Wisconsin primary, and then only in an effort to stop Mr. Trump. Mr. Graham famously said he’d rather be poisoned than to support the Texas senator, while Mr. Bush couldn’t do so much as get off his couch, sending in a halfhearted endorsement on Facebook.

New York Rep. Peter King said this week he’d rather take cyanide than vote for Mr. Cruz, adding he hated the man. In his presidential bid, Mr. Cruz has only the endorsements of six out of 540 lawmakers and delegates in the House and the Senate, and has used his hatred on Capitol Hill as a campaign rallying cry to prove his outsider status.

“It’s interesting that in the Washington lexicon it’s somehow treated as being unpleasant or being a trouble maker to try to honor the commitments you have made to your constituents, and to urge your colleges to do the same,” Mr. Cruz said. “That’s treated as the unpardonable sin, how dare you be so selfish — and it’s funny they use the term selfish — as to actually honor the commitments to your constituents. That’s not playing the rules of the game.”

Mr. Cruz’s reluctance to “play the rules of the game,” led to a shutdown of the federal government. He’s called Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell a liar — and has refused to back down from the comment.

Indeed, his refusal to play nice is one of the reasons why fellow outsider and former presidential contender Carly Fiorina decided to back the Texas senator.

Ted Cruz has always been a constitutional conservative. He is a fearless fighter and reformer, and he didn’t much care whether he got invited to the cocktail parties in D.C.,” Mrs. Fiorina said in her endorsement speech in March. “We know Ted Cruz is a fearless constitutional conservative because he has fought for our liberties over and over and over again.”

Mr. Cruz has an undeniable conservative record. He’s argued second-amendment cases before the Supreme Court and won. He shut down the government because of his vow to his Texas constituency to defund the Affordable Care Act. His conservative record — based on his voting record, not his rhetoric — earned a lifetime rating of 100 percent over his first two years in the Senate.

Free-market, anti-tax group Club for Growth gave Mr. Cruz a 92 percent ranking in 2014, and a 100 percent rating in 2013, and he scored a 95 percent on the National Taxpayers Union’s 2013 scorecard, ranking him third out of 100 senators.

Yes, Mr. Cruz is taking money from donors — because he has to. He’s not a billionaire who can self-fund. If that were a presidential requirement, then only the mega-rich could run for the highest office in the land.

The reason more Republicans are seeing Mr. Cruz as an establishment type is because his only path to the GOP presidential nomination is through a contested convention. After losing New York, he’s been mathematically eliminated from winning the delegates he needs to cinch the nomination outright, and is now is focusing his time and efforts to try to deny Mr. Trump from reaching the magic number.

Sorry folks, that’s well within his rights.

The public may want the GOP nominee to be the winner of the popular vote, and they may view the state delegate rules as arcane and unfair. I get that. But just because Mr. Cruz and his team have proven savvy at knowing the rules and sweeping up delegates, by no means makes him part of the establishment.

Until Mr. Trump reaches the 1,237 delegates he needs to win the primary, it continues. Like it or lump it.

Mr. Cruz remains in the race because he believes he’s the only true conservative in the race. He’s running to bust up the Washington cartel because he, like Mr. Trump, wants to bring down the Washington elite and return the U.S. to a citizen government.

The only thing this election has proved, is that in 2016, maybe there never was an establishment lane.


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