Pretty much every speaker at CPAC this year has caused some sort of a stir, which seems to define the nature of the presidential race which framed it. Ted Cruz was no exception, with plenty of fans clogging the path to the ballroom where he spoke as the Secret Service labored to get everyone scanned and checked through metal detectors at the door. Things got a bit spicy when he went after Donal Trump and a number of Trump supporters got up and left the hall, but for the most part Cruz received a very warm reception.
In a separate set of comments, however, Cruz was asked about the now endless speculation over a brokered convention. He wasn’t having any of it.
Ted Cruz flatly rejected the idea of a contested convention on Friday at CPAC, warning that it would lead to a “manifest revolt” against Republican establishment figures who have floated the idea as a last-ditch vehicle to stop front-runner Donald Trump.
At a question-and-answer session with Fox News host Sean Hannity, the Texas senator said Trump must be defeated at the ballot box.
“Any time you hear someone talking about a brokered convention it is the Washington establishment in a fevered frenzy. They’re really frustrated because all of their chosen candidates, all of their golden children, the voters keep rejecting. And so they seized on this master plan,” Cruz said mockingly. “We go to a brokered convention and the DC power brokers will drop someone in who is exactly to the liking of the Washington establishment. If that happens we will have a manifest revolt on our hands.”
“If you want to beat Donald Trump here’s how you do it: You beat Donald Trump with the voters,” he said.
This is pretty much the opposite of what keeps coming from the Rubio camp. (As well as the hopeful dreams of nearly everyone in the media who would just love the ensuing mayhem.) While it makes for excellent parlor discussions, Cruz is absolutely correct. An outcome such as that will splinter the party, perhaps irreparably. The way to beat any leading candidate is simply to beat them. Get out there and make the sale, close the deal, or however else you wish to describe it. Thus far nobody (including Ted Cruz) seems to have managed the task.
But even if Cruz changes his mind later, let’s not forget rule 40. You need to secure the majority of delegates in at least 8 states in order to be eligible to have your name entered on the floor of the convention this year. Thus far nobody but Trump has managed it or is even close. (Cruz has three.) The Texas senator had a very good appearance at CPAC and clearly he has a lot of fans. This weekend and over the next ten days we’ll find out if he can translate that into some wins.