Cruz Gets Another (Reluctant) Endorsement

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There are two schools of thought when it comes to the anemic and lackluster quasi-endorsements going to Senator Ted Cruz. From one perspective, it simply plays into Cruz’s story. He’s an outsider, despite being a part of the Washington machine. He was the guy to call Majority Leader Mitch McConnell a liar on the floor of the Senate. He was the guy who pushed back against immigration reform. He was the guy who brought the government to a screeching halt in an attempt to thwart President Obama’s agenda. He’s not in D.C. to make friends; he’s there to represent conservatism.

But then there’s the other school of thought that says Cruz is simply unlikeable. That his colleagues in the Republican Party don’t dislike him because of his principles – they dislike him because of his personality. They see him as a fraud, only retreating to the confines of hardcore conservatism when he found himself shut out of the establishment.

Either way, it’s hard to see any genuine excitement in the major endorsements Cruz has gotten so far. Sen. Lindsey Graham, who once said that choosing between Cruz and Donald Trump was like deciding whether to be poisoned or shot, gave him a weak endorsement last month. Among the enthusiastic things Graham has said of Cruz since then:

– He would not be my first choice

– He’s certainly not my preference

– He’s a reliable conservative with whom I have had many differences

– He’s my 15th choice

Really makes you want to go out and vote, right?

Then there was Mitt Romney, who basically admitted that he was only supporting Cruz so the party could nominate someone else entirely.

“At this stage, the only way we can reach an open convention is for Senator Cruz to be successful in as many of the remaining nominating elections as possible,” Romney said prior to the Utah caucuses. “I will vote for Senator Cruz and I encourage others to do so as well, so that we can have an open convention and nominate a Republican.”

Not necessarily this Republican, mind you.

On Wednesday, Cruz captured another one of these half-hearted endorsements. Sen. Jim Risch of Idaho told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that Trump was not going to win in a general election. “The defeat Donald Trump would face against Hillary Clinton would probably be epic and historical,” he said. “I’m not going to support him.”

Risch said that John Kasich was too far behind to mount a comeback.

“By process of elimination, that leaves you with Cruz,” he said. “At this point, there’s no other option.”

How exciting!

Other than giving him some press coverage, it’s hard to see what these grudging endorsements are doing for Cruz. If these politicians really want to stop Trump, they might at least pretend that they like the alternative.