Moreover, there is at least the beginning of a thaw between Cruz and the establishment. While a disturbing number of Republican leaders are still on the sidelines, I’m getting private messages celebrating Cruz victories from establishment figures who loathed him a mere two months ago. A true crisis tends to clarify the mind, and as Trump continues to wallow in a muck of his own creation, more Republicans will endorse Cruz.
Thus, if Cruz can prevail, Hillary Clinton will in all likelihood face a unified party led by a man who was just fully introduced to millions of Americans as the hero who saved his party from Donald Trump. The vast majority of Americans want to see Trump lose. It stands to reason that the man who finally slays the dragon will enjoy at least some good will for his efforts.
Moreover, Democrats underestimate Cruz in part because they stubbornly overestimate Clinton. Republicans shouldn’t sugarcoat Cruz’s chances. He will face immense challenges winning over a majority of Americans, and he does have a daunting 53 percent unfavorability rating. But Clinton’s rating is actually two points worse. Mitt Romney had the misfortune of running against a man Americans largely liked. Cruz will have the good fortune to face a woman most Americans dislike.
And — at least in the short term — they stand to dislike her even more as she turns hard against Sanders supporters and the FBI’s e-mail investigation comes to a head. Barring indictment, she’ll be the nominee. But even without it, she’ll also still be Hillary Clinton.