Eight: Ted Cruz Might Be the Man to Tame Trumpism. A lot of the Trump movement is unique and personal to The Donald, but there are underlying currents within the party and its fellow travelers that Trump has tapped into that have not previously been represented by a single, national figure. While those currents might never reassert themselves in the same way without a spokesman as famous and wealthy and charismatic as Trump, they’re not going away either: hostility to immigration and trade, skepticism of foreign entanglements, and rebellion against how the terms of cultural debate are set by the educated and the commanding heights of Hollywood.
America’s two-party system has proven so remarkably durable in the face of waves of populist insurgency and realignment because, whenever a new movement has arisen or a new coalition or alliance has been formed, one or both parties has moved to respond to it, co-opt it, provide it with more responsible leadership, and ultimately tame it. Trump’s movement can go the same way, if we nominate a leader who is responsive to those currents.
Cruz is the most logical candidate to do that. He’s already an immigration hardliner who rails against “amnesty,” a skeptic of some trade deals, a critic of a number of foreign interventions, a vocal foe of radical Islam, and a defender of traditional cultural values. Moderate Republicans may not want a lot of what Cruz is selling on those issues, but in each case, he can offer more responsible leadership than Trump, much the way Reagan’s leadership tamed many of the right-wing currents of the Nixon and Wallace years. If this is the way a significant faction in the party is likely to be headed in years to come, better to choose a leader who can actually provide leadership. A turn in power can cure a lot of frustrations by showing some progress. A John Kasich campaign or administration is unlikely to ever learn the language of the Trump supporters. Cruz, once the dust has settled after the convention, can try.