Ever since Obama won in 2008, conservatives have rightly blamed Republican candidates for their inability to energize the evangelical base. If only we could awaken the precious evangelical voters from their slumber, a real conservative could be elected to the presidency! However, if the results from the first three primaries are any indication, evangelicals are just like any other low-information voter.
While Sen. Ted Cruz won 34 percent of the Iowa’s evangelical voters, the tide began to turn in New Hampshire, where Donald Trump won evangelicals —27 percent to Cruz’s 23 percent. The trend continued in South Carolina–a state Cruz should have easily won. Exit polls show that Donald Trump won 34 percent of the “white evangelical” vote in South Carolina. Cruz received just 26 percent.
Like many conservatives, I’ve been under the deluded notion that evangelicals would naturally gravitate to the most constitutionally conservative candidate. I was wrong. Evangelical voters are just as easily manipulated by falsehoods as anyone else.
Here’s a short list of Donald Trump’s conservative positions. He’s:
- In favor of socialized medicine,
- Openly praised the healthcare systems of Canada and Scotland,
- Said we should focus on the “positives” of Planned Parenthood,
- Praised Hillary Clinton as recently as 2012,
- Strongly favored amnesty as recently as 2012,
- Bragged to The New York Times about how easy it is to manipulate his voters,
- Called the people of Iowa “stupid” for believing Ben Carson’s life story,
- Called his sexual exploits in the 80’s his “personal Vietnam,”
- Allegedly mocked a handicapped reporter,
- Donated thousands of dollars to the most liberal candidates, including Chicago’s Rahm Emanuel, to whom he gave $50,000, and
- Even said conservatives need to get “a little establishment” to get things done.
Oh wait–those aren’t conservative views. Also, if you’re a Trump supporter, click every one of those links, and do the research yourself. It’s all there.
We have a dream candidate in front of us who’s consistent in his positions because he’s thought about them for more than a nanosecond…and then we have Trump. I feel like I need an evidence board with multi-colored yarn to track Trump’s positions.
Unfortunately, Sen. Ted Cruz refuses to remove his gloves. Between his multiple apologies to Ben Carson for something that wasn’t even his fault, to his repeated insistence that “everyone on this debate stage would be better than Hillary,” one might think Ted Cruz was angling for the Mr. Congeniality award rather than the presidency.
As Steve Deace wrote Monday, we don’t want the apologetic Ted Cruz , we want the Ted Cruz who called Mitch McConnell a lair on the senate floor.
I agree, and I’ll say it again: The only way Cruz can make a comeback on Super Tuesday is if he finally takes off the gloves, and puts on the brass knuckles. Given everything I listed above (and that was the short list), Trump should be easily defeated. Unfortunately, Cruz is trying to be Mr. Congeniality, and is suffering for it.
Evangelicals may be part of the winning formula, but they’re as easily manipulated as anyone else. They need to be shown the real Trump. As long as Cruz is apologizing to Ben Carson and Sen. Marco Rubio for things he didn’t even do, he’s off the grid, and Trump can continue to mislead the voters without restraint. To defeat Trump, Cruz needs to stop being nice, and start being real.
Cruz has one week and one debate to turn this thing around, and regain the momentum. We can yell from the sidelines all we want, but in the end, it’s up to Cruz to take the fight to Trump. Over the next week, Cruz needs to expose every terrible detail of Trump’s horrendous record over and over again.
If Cruz refuses to get bloody, he won’t win the fight.