Politics is a blood sport. It can get very ugly at times. One look no further than the events of tonight’s Republican Convention to prove the narrative.
A night that was supposed to belong Vice Presidential nominee Mike Pence was stolen by Ted Cruz.
The Trump Campaign had offered all of Trump’s former primary opponents a speaking slot during the convention. An endorsement of Donald Trump was not required but certainly expected. Carson, Christie, Perry, Rubio and Walker accepted and in the spirit of party unity made good on their pledge to endorse the Republican nominee.
Cruz also accepted the prime time opportunity but submitted a draft of his remarks that did not include an endorsement of Trump. Inexplicably the Trump campaign allowed their biggest rival the stage, hopeful that he might still endorse.
Ted Cruz is a narcissistic self-promoter who will do or say anything to further his political agenda. Among his peers in congress he is widely known to be the most reviled man on the Hill. Unbowed by such criticism Cruz carried his scorched earth campaign into the primaries. Given the opportunity to speak to the nation Cruz once again put his personal agenda above all else.
The feud between Trump and Cruz started during the primaries. What began as an amicable relationship quickly regressed into a bitter feud.
After months of hiding in the weeds while Trump systematically knocked off the other primary challengers; Cruz set his sights on Trump. The back and forth between them got very personal and very nasty. The feud continues even to this day. Why? Because Ted Cruz is all about Ted Cruz. Cruz is betting his political career that Trump to lose this election; paving the way for Cruz to be the leading candidate for the 2020 GOP nomination. And so Cruz did what Cruz does best. He took advantage of the fig leaf handed him by the Trump campaign and used it to his advantage.
Cruz was allotted 10 minutes to speak. He went 23. When it became apparent that Cruz was not going to endorse Trump played a card that he had hidden up his sleeve. Trump suddenly appeared in the family box, waving to the crowd, drawing the hall’s attention from Cruz and big footing the end of what amounted to Cruz’ 2020 campaign speech. When Cruz ended his remarks without endorsing Trump he was roundly booed off the stage.
The incident took all the wind out of what amounted to a well-crafted, solidly presented acceptance speech by Mike Pence. On the other hand the whole flare up seemed to unite the crowd in sympathetic support behind Trump.
Once again we see the effects of the Trump campaign’s organizational shortcomings. The first victim was the candidates wife…the second his running mate. Bad optics when you are trying to convince voters to hand you the keys to the country.
Cruz doesn’t care. Cruz only cares about Cruz.
Tomorrow night Donald Trump will give the most important speech of his brief political career. A great speech fuels Trump’s run for the White House and all the sins of this past three days will be forgotten. A bad speech will only add to the narrative that Trump and his campaign are not yet ready for prime time.
Somewhere Ted Cruz will no doubt be watching; ever hopeful that the Trump train will jump the tracks.