Some Cruz fans on Twitter are scoffing at this because it comes from LifeZette, Laura Ingraham’s website. Of course an ardent Trumper like Ingraham wants to believe Cruz is prepared to endorse! Or so the theory goes.
I believe it, though. And there are reasons why you should too.
Sources close to the Trump campaign have confirmed Cruz is close to endorsing his former — and sometimes bitter — GOP rival. Talks between Cruz staff and the Trump camp have been regular in recent weeks, and have grown more serious as Trump has closed the gap with Hillary Clinton in key battleground states.
Those with knowledge of the ongoing discussion say logistics of the endorsement are still being discussed but that it could happen as early as Monday, ahead of the first presidential debate. Those sources noted that Cruz has become seriously concerned about the long-term threats to the Constitution and conservative priorities should Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton win the White House.
“Sources close to the Trump campaign” say so? We can’t trust them to tell us what’s honestly going on, can we? Well … yeah, maybe, if Cruz’s allies are hearing the same thing. And at least one Cruz ally is. Talk-radio host Steve Deace campaigned for Cruz in Iowa and knows him personally. He’s an ardent #NeverTrumper and has said for months that he believes Cruz would never endorse Trump. A few days ago, though, when the “Cruz will back Trump” rumors started swirling, something changed. Click any of the images in the tweet below for examples. Deace obviously heard something through the grapevine from Cruz’s inner circle to make him believe that an endorsement really is forthcoming:
Deace's TL is kind of amazing right now. DEFCON 1 pic.twitter.com/KvDmd4F7OK
— Liam Donovan (@LPDonovan) September 22, 2016
Just within the past hour, he tweeted this:
He will, today, and endorse Trump. https://t.co/LVJpIs8J7Z
— Steve Deace (@SteveDeaceShow) September 23, 2016
There are other reasons to think Cruz is ready to take the plunge. A few days ago, as the endorsement rumors were circulating, his campaign manager Jeff Roe suggested that Cruz was impressed by Trump’s new discipline and was moving closer to supporting him. The same day Cruz publicly thanked Trump for his support on his ICANN bill. Kellyanne Conway reciprocated and nudged Roe to make the endorsement happen. Then this morning Trump floated his supplemental list of Supreme Court candidates with Cruz’s buddy, Mike Lee, right at the top. That seemed to me an obvious peg for Cruz’s forthcoming endorsement. “Donald and I haven’t always seen eye to eye,” he’ll say, “but the fact that he admires a constitutional conservative like Mike assures me that he’ll be far superior to Hillary Clinton as president.” It’s going to happen. It won’t do much for either Trump or Cruz among voters — if anything, Cruz’s many critics will taunt him for backing a guy who insulted his wife and father — but it’ll help quell the nascent rebellion among Cruz donors who are angry at him for not supporting Trump and who might otherwise consider supporting a Senate primary challenger. He’s doing this to protect his own political ambitions, not because he thinks Trump is going to be some sentinel for the Constitution. That’s politics, but let’s acknowledge it for what it is. I can stomach a sellout, but dressing it up as “principle” will be hard to swallow.
The only question, really, is the timing. Deace seems dead certain it’ll happen today. It makes more sense to me for Cruz to endorse Monday as a splashy show of party unity in the hours before the debate, but I see the argument for doing it now — it’ll be a Friday afternoon news dump by a guy who’s endorsing because he feels he has to, not because he wants to. The hour is nigh!
Update: Here we go.
Multiple sources close to Ted Cruz say the Texas senator is expected indicate his support for Donald Trump as soon as Friday.
It is unclear whether Cruz will say only that he is voting for the Republican nominee, as other lawmakers have done, or offer a more full-throated endorsement, but the idea of throwing any support to Trump is controversial within Cruzworld.
“If he announces he endorses, it destroys his political brand,” said someone who had worked for Cruz’s campaign.
Update: Some Trumpers like to taunt me for having predicted that Trump would go nowhere in the primaries because, I foolishly thought, they’d never fall for his con. This prediction from July turned out okay, though:
Cruz will endorse Trump quietly via a press release in October
— Allahpundit (@allahpundit) July 20, 2016