So with less than two months to go until voting begins, Republicans are staring at the real possibility of Cruz–the senator many in the party not only openly distain but also believe would cost them the general election–as possibly being their only hope against likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
“It would be the worst possible outcome for the Republican Party,” says longtime Republican political consultant Alex Castellanos.
Castellanos and others fear the Texas senator’s strategy of appealing directly to the base, with the belief that galvanizing and mobilizing conservatives is the key to winning the election, will alienate the broader electorate.
“If Cruz is the nominee, there isn’t a single young person, woman, or Hispanic anywhere who will want to put on our jersey,” Castellanos says.
“I think Cruz and Trump are basically the same and will have the same impact on our viability as a party,” says John Feehery, a Republican strategist and veteran of Capitol Hill.