Rockefeller and Romney, rising stars, refused to back the doomed Goldwater bid in 1964. They ended their careers by trying to save them, by disloyalty. Two guys who fought for the team in 1964, knowing it was doomed, earned the respect of the party faithful and each went on to dominate the party and be elected and reelected in 49 state landslides — Nixon and Reagan. There is a right and a wrong way to play it when there are intra-party differences. You respect the voters and you respect the process, you fight for yourself in the primaries, and when you lose you fight for the team, you take the hit for the team, and your teammates remember your loyalty and reward it. Ted Cruz is a fool, who apparently thinks he can help Hillary win, then be in position to win in 2020. But he has shown brutal disloyalty, and even violated an express, public pledge to back the nominee. He can never be trusted again. He has, I hope, destroyed his political future. I liked Ted, if he won I would have supported him. But there is no going back from this decision.
More importantly, Mike Pence gave a very good, solid, appealing speech. He managed to turn the Trump message into a more mainstream Conservative message, which is not really that hard. Well-played by Pence. He has set the foundation for a successful future, however this campaign ends up.
This is what Ted should have said:
I took a pledge to support the party’s nominee.
I will keep that pledge.
I would be lying to you if I said this is easy.
My race against Donald Trump became personal, and ugly, and painful, in ways I won’t repeat tonight.
Many people who supported me, people close to me, people I love, cannot forgive him.
And I understand that.
But there is too much at stake to dwell on the past.
The race is over, it’s in the history books now.
And the history of America’s future is unwritten.
It is up to us to write it, together.
What we need to do as a party is come together, and find the conservative values we do share.
What we need to do as a party is come together, no matter how bitter the race was, no matter how much we may disagree, no matter what personal animosities we may still feel, and defeat Hillary Clinton.
So, my fellow Americans, my fellow Republicans, tonight I keep my pledge, and I endore my party’s nominee for President, Donald J. Trump.