Two Options for Ted Cruz

The clock is ticking down for Ted Cruz.  After March 1, Hillary’s dream opponent may be unstoppable.  Here are the two things Cruz can do to save his candidacy, the party, and the country.

1.  Pledge to end Affirmative Action

It’s a matter of principle.   Affirmative Action is simply wrong.  It’s especially egregious in the case of Hispanics.  Why should the son of a doctor and lawyer who emigrated from Buenos Aires, and may be of Italian or German descent, get precedence over the son of an immigrant from Bratislava who is a single mom cleaning offices for $25,000 a year?

Preferences on the basis of family income are fine with most Americans.  African-Americans will be disproportionately eligible.

But discrimination against anyone on grounds of race or ancestry is odious.  Americans never voted for this; it was imposed by judicial and bureaucratic fiat.  “Disparate impact” is no grounds for rejecting tests that have proven accurate predictors of success in academia, professional programs, and the workplace.  Institutionalized racism is not only unfair to the European-Americans and Asian-Americans it (invisibly) discriminates against, but is unfair as well to minorities placed in positions or in programs for which they are unqualified, and unfair to high-achieving African-Americans and Hispanics who are stigmatized by it.   It’s also unfair to communities not able to hire the best candidates for their police and fire departments, to companies and government agencies that must turn away more promising applicants, and to their customers and owners, or the public they serve.  Asked if college admissions should be based entirely on merit, even 44% of African-Americans and 59% of Hispanics agreed.

A lot of Trump supporters feel victimized by Affirmative Action.

Roughly three-quarters (74%) of Trump supporters -- compared to 57% of supporters of all other Republican candidates -- agree that, today, discrimination against whites has become as big a problem as discrimination against blacks and other minorities. More than four in ten (42%) Trump supporters -- compared to 30% of supporters of all other Republican candidates -- say that white men face a lot of discrimination in the U.S. today.

The fact that only 57% of non-Trump Republicans agree is testimony to the near total blackout imposed by the media on the issue of preferential treatment for minorities in admissions and hiring.  The practice impacts nearly everyone in the country, yet it can’t even be discussed in public.

Yet Trump, the supposed iconoclast, the breaker of shibboleths, the teller of truths, is a supporter of race-based discrimination.  In December he joined with Democrats to attack the late Justice Antonin Scalia over remarks Scalia made about the way in which affirmative action harms its supposed beneficiaries.  “I’m fine with affirmative action,” Trump has said.

There’s a core of Trump supporters who idolize the man himself.  But those for whom politics is as important as persona, who see Donald not just as the Great Deal-Maker and Bazzillionaire, but as a spokesman for genuine grievances -- these voters may have second thoughts about their guy on this issue.

Also, some in the GOP establishment are acknowledging what a few

wonks were pointing out four years ago.  Over 4 ½ million European-American voters who’d showed up at the polls in 2008 stayed home in 2012.  Mitt Romney won about 59% of the white vote.  If he’d captured around 63%, he’d have won the election. 

With minimal increases, Mitt could have taken Florida (.6%), Ohio (1.9%), and Virginia (3%).  He’d have to have won about 75% of the Hispanic vote to turn the election around.  It’s not as if Blacks, Asians, and Hispanics don’t vote in blocks, with 93%, 73%, and 71%, respectively, supporting Obama. 

2.  If she agrees, name Carly Fiorina as his VP choice.  Don’t laugh.  After Cruz, she was the most intelligent, articulate, and passionate performer during the debates.  And she hates Hillary.  She could trail Lady Macbeth of Little Rock around the country this fall, skewering her lies. 

Whatever percentage of women feel compelled to vote for Hill because she, too, has two X chromosomes, may think twice if they have a chance to vote for a woman on the GOP ticket.  Carly also can discuss Madame Secretary’s enabling of her philandering hubby’s excellent adventures in a way that no male can.  These may be advantages the GOP leadership and donor class can appreciate.

There’s a precedent for selecting a VP before the convention.  In 1976 Ronald Reagan announced that Pennsylvania Sen. Richard Schweiker would be his running mate.  This was meant to show that he was willing to “balance the ticket” with a moderate.  It didn’t work:  Gerald Ford won the nomination -- barely.

But that was then.  Carly, like Donald, is an outsider, a successful businessperson, a seasoned negotiator.   She won’t attract Trump’s core, but her selection would shake up the race, and could appeal to disaffected voters who haven’t made up their minds.  She would be a great asset to Cruz in the upcoming primaries.

Of course Cruz needs to hammer away at Trump’s populist stupidities:  we’ll deport 12 million illegals, “but then we’ll let them back in.”  Say what?  “We’ll make Mexico pay for the wall.”  Will that be part of the reparations after we occupy Mexico City?  Obamacare?  We’ll replace it with something bigger and better:  “I’ll take care of everybody.”  “China is sucking billions from this country.”  By making the stuff people are buying in Walmart?  The Iran Agreement?  “A terrible deal, but I’ll re-negotiate it.”  The Israeli-“Palestinian” conflict?  “I’ll be neutral.”  And while the crony capitalist believes in freedom of speech for himself, he’s never defended the First Amendment rights of other Americans.

Cruz also needs to keep going after the weasely Cub Scout from Florida -- without photoshopping and mistranslated videos.  His staff has done more damage to his campaign recently than Rubio himself.

But at this point, repeating what they’ve said so far is not going to cut it for Ted or for Marco.  If Cruz wins only Texas on March 1 and Rubio comes away empty-handed, the Donald may be unbeatable.  The GOP will be nominating a guy with the highest unfavorable rating in history -- 60%, with a net -27%.

We’ll be facing the prospect of a second Clinton presidency, with Ms. Hyde in the Oval Office instead of genial Dr. Jekyll.  Two years from now we may be nostalgic for the Great Reconciler, who was at least incompetent.