Ted Cruz refuses to endorse Trump and says ‘vote your conscience’
We spoke to people in the hall straight after
Taking the stage on the third night of the RNC, Ted Cruz failed to endorse GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, telling his supporters to vote their conscience “up and down the ballot”.
As he began to wrap up his speech, delegates and spectators in Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena booed, chanting for Cruz to keep his promise of supporting whichever nominee was chosen by the party.
Since this maddening primary began last year, I’ve been a proud member of the Cruz Crew. As an avid reader of the National Review and CPAC attendee who booed Trump every chance I had, I considered myself a die-hard member of the #NeverTrump movement. So much so that I voted for Marco Rubio in my home state of Virginia, since he had the best shot of beating Trump in the state.
It soon became clear, however, that Cruz wouldn’t be able to earn the 1,237 delegates need to clinch the nomination. I prayed for a brokered convention.
Even as Trump’s nomination started to look inevitable, I held onto all hope. I bought a Cruz Fiorina bumper sticker as a last ditch show of support for a conservative to take the White House.
Then Trump reached the magic number, and all but became our presidential nominee.
As I prepared to head to Cleveland for the RNC, I was still #NeverTrump and hoping the rules committee would unbind the delegates. On Monday, I crossed my fingers and wanted a roll call vote of all the delegates.
Last night, as I stood on the floor of Quicken Loans Arena, surrounded by thousands of delegates, party members, and media, my heart broke as I watched Trump win the nomination.
For the Cruz Crew, all that was left for them was his speech on Wednesday night.
Cruz delegate Larry Schug of North Carolina did not expect Cruz to endorse Trump. Speaking before Cruz’s address, Schug said: “He won’t trash Trump, but I don’t think he’s going to back him. He’ll be respectful and give a good speech on what this country should be.”
Erin Swanson from Texas added: “Cruz would lose all credibility if he endorsed Trump.”
In the eyes of his supporters, including this writer, Cruz kept his credibility during his convention speech. He stood by his conservative values and encouraged voters to do the same in November.
Meanwhile, as Cruz’s speech reached an end and boos rang out around the arena, Trump walked out and joined his children seated in the crowd.
“I thought it was absolutely classless from Trump to walk in at the end. It was tacky as can be,” said Swanson.
“He was just a jerk.”
But will the Cruz Crew reluctantly climb aboard the Trump Train and vote for that jerk in November?
Brett Kulbis, a Cruz delegate from Hawaii, will be. “Anyone but Hillary,” he explained. As for the other Cruz supporters around the country, he was less certain.
“It’s between them, their consciences, and God,” he added.
Schug, however, maintains he will not be voting for Trump, instead refusing to vote in the presidential election.
“I don’t have a candidate to vote for in the general election. I can’t support Trump’s morals and values,” he said
Many Cruz supporters, however, remain undecided. One Minnesota delegate said she wanted to be able to back Trump, but he was still undecided after supporting Cruz in the primary.
Mandy Benz added: “I have my own conscience, but I’m open.”
Come November, I’ll be checking the block next to Trump’s name, not because I am giving up on my beliefs or accepting defeat, but because its time for #NeverTrump to focus on a different fight.
As conservatives, we’re supposed to love limited government, and for more than 200 years we’ve held onto the Constitution’s checks and balances to ensure these limitations remain. Let us remember that we the people still hold and will always hold the power, even if Trump is elected.
Yes, we are not going to get a true conservative in the Oval Office. But we can still fill Congress and state offices with politicians who support our conservative ideals. They’re the ones who will be making the decisions and laws that affect our daily lives.
Turn our #NeverTrump energy and resources to electing more conservative politicians like Ted Cruz and Ben Sasse. And after Trump wins the election in November, be critical of him. Voice your opinions, push for conservative Supreme Court nominees, and keep Trump in check by electing true conservatives to other positions throughout government.
And while doing all that, I’ll keep waiting until it’s Ted Cruz’s turn to run again. After all, Cruz might have just proved himself the most patient, tactful, and principled politician in the game, positioning him perfectly to ascend to the presidency in 2020.