The hollowed-out husk of Never Trump conservatism now finds its salvation not in some unworkable alliance of Ted Cruz and John Kasich plucking off delegates, but instead in the junior senator from Nebraska. He’s something of an oddball, this Ben Sasse; he feels his feelings deeply and jots them down on Facebook while sitting by the Platte River. After much feeling of his feelings, he has arrived at the conclusion that a third candidate should join and win this presidential election. Should be a cinch.
So what is a “Ben Sasse,” and how did he arrive at this wrong conclusion?
Sasse was elected to the Senate in 2014. In that cycle of Establishment vs. Tea Party Senate primaries, it was unclear in Nebraska which candidate, Sasse or former state Treasurer Shane Osborn, represented which side. It was such a muddle that FreedomWorks, one of the original national Tea Party organizations, switched its endorsement to Sasse after originally endorsing Osborn, prompting the resignation of one of its vice presidents. Since coming to the Senate, Sasse has amassed an arch-conservative’s voting record. He was recently the lone dissenting vote against a bill to combat opioid abuse, which he believes is a state- and local-government issue.