The difference between supporters of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz is this:
Trump backers are, inexplicably, proud of their candidate.
Cruz backers are, understandably, embarrassed by their candidate.
The Trump backers are hopeless cases. They are sad, troubled people who have issues that they are dealing with politically.
The Cruz backers are a more serious concern. They were once functional enough to reject both Trump and Cruz. They did so through most of the long, hard 2016 Republican presidential race. They knew that both men were absolutely unacceptable as contenders for their party’s nomination and, of course, for the presidency.
“It’s like being shot or poisoned,” South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham said of the Trump-Cruz choice. “What does it really matter?”
But now all sorts of Republicans who rejected two absolutely unacceptable candidates through most of 2015 and the start of 2016 are backing one of the unacceptable candidates in order to derail the other unacceptable candidate.
People who loathed Ted Cruz—the Republican US senator who, through much of this campaign, had no support from Republican US senators—are now trying to make the case for the tantrum-prone Texan. It’s a miserable exercise in the politics of complete surrender. There is no question that Trump is a crude xenophobic demagogue who has little respect for civil liberties or civil rights and who says terrible things about Muslims, refugees, and immigrants. But Cruz is also a crude xenophobic demagogue who has little respect for civil liberties or civil rights and who says terrible things about Muslims, refugees, and immigrants.
So why back Cruz?
Senator Graham says: “He’s not Trump.”
Mention TV host Trevor Noah’s reference to Cruz as a “sanctimonious jackass” and don’t hold your breath waiting for pushback from Cruz backers in primary states such as Wisconsin.