- - Tuesday, April 5, 2016

These are truly uncertain and unsettling times. To paraphrase the great prophet Bon Jovi, we are “Livin’ on a prayer.” A prayer for an antidote to GOP establishment hackery. A prayer for an antidote to Trump Cult. A prayer for an antidote to the drift into meaninglessness that is the conservative brand.

Because here’s our reality: We’ve been fated with the election of Hillary Clinton, the most damaged candidate Republicans could ever hope to face but are nonetheless certain to lose if we continue the poisonous political bender we are on.

Sure, 58 percent of women view Hillary unfavorably despite the fact Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards calls her the “pinnacle of everything we’ve fought for.” But yes, let’s nominate Mr. “tells it like it is” – if it’s like a white trash television show – and turn her into Cinderella by comparison.

About nine months after Trump warned us of what was to come with proud admissions about never seeking forgiveness and not liking people who have been captured, we now sit obsessing over arcane delegate math and Machiavellian notions of contested conventions as an 11th-hour rescue from the unprincipled bed the GOP made for itself.

Burning it down used to sound so good. Now that the pyre has been lit, though, the flames that we stare into is merely those of self-immolation. How ironic then that it is Trump’s ditzy answers on abortion – an issue that many Republicans have been sorely unmotivated to do battle on in recent memory – that seem like a potential catalyst for waking people up from voting for a version of Peter Pan with a can of gasoline and a match.

It’s a start. Yet even more difficult to come by than that awakening is the realization the antidote for what ails us does not need to be invented out of thin air, or hunted down on some sort of long shot crusade. He’s right here, his name is Ted Cruz, and he’s been as good a conservative candidate as we could ever hope for in such mediocre times.

Many of us, though, haven’t liked that Cruz doesn’t seem to go down nice and easy like a Flintstones chewable vitamin. Instead, he seems like too big a pill to swallow for people who fancy themselves conservatives but not “that kind” of conservative.

Why doesn’t he get along better with people in Washington? Because they are treacherous.

Why did he call Mitch McConnell a liar? Because he is.

Why didn’t he get more accomplished in the Senate? Because he tried to actually stop Obama rather than surrender to him.

Knowing all that, the fact that Cruz’s political momentum isn’t already at Sharknado proportions of victorious certitude says far more about us than it does about him. Yes, Loki, we deserve to be ruled.

The GOP now stands to have every bit of Trump Cult’s stink attached to it, as many of the ghastly stereotypes the Left has tried to stick to the conservative movement over the years get an assist from Donald’s pied piper-through-the-trailer park routine. The very thing the party hacks compromised and triangulated to avoid – becoming a caricature — is what will consume them anyway. That’s some instant karma, John Lennon.

I spell all this out to you not to depress you but to do the opposite. Short of Cruz still being in the ballgame, we most certainly would have cause to despair. But not only can Cruz still beat Trump and become the nominee, he may be the only Republican in a generation who has the skill and courage of conviction to communicate a conservative message in the midst of the carnage Trump is leaving in his wake.

Anyone else would be left spending the entire general election answering for the empty and stupid things Trump has said and done up until this point. But Cruz has proven over and over that he will not accept the premise of the question when the media tries to paint him into a corner. And to defeat Hillary Clinton come November will require such a capable man when all the progressive dogs of war are dusted off and sent out in search of blood.

So if you’re still hesitant to rally behind Cruz, close your eyes and imagine a national debate stage six months from now, with about 90 million voters watching. Imagine the most contentious policy questions, asked from the vantage point of the Left’s very flawed premises, and recall how many times in recent history the guy representing us on that stage was knee-capped by them.

Then imagine this time the person on the firing line is Cruz, who has been preparing his whole life for such a time as this. That these aren’t gotcha questions to a guy like Cruz, but he looks at them the way Bryce Harper looks at a hanging curveball. With the same anticipation a hungry predator has when it spots wounded prey.

And then imagine what January 2017 will look like when he’s sworn in as president.

We can win again, if we want to.

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