This inconvenient fact seems to have been lost in the euphoria with which the #NeverTrump faction greeted Cruz’s triumph over Donald Trump in Wisconsin. Cruz’s victory gives the anti-Trumpistas hope that the race will be decided in a brokered convention, but Cruz, who is already working behind the scenes to secure the loyalty of Trump’s delegates, is in the best position to take advantage, not a more palatable figure like Paul Ryan.
Cruz represents the opposite of what the Republican National Committee recommended after the 2012 election. He is more conservative than Mitt Romney. He is more dependent on the older, white, religious vote. He has kooky proposals like returning the U.S. to the gold standard, which come on top of the usual climate change-denying and 1 percent-coddling. He is the embodiment of the theory that undiluted conservatism will boost turnout and overwhelm the Democrats’ demographic advantages. And he will almost surely lose in November.
Of course, Trump and Cruz represent different degrees of disaster. A Cruz nomination would keep the party more or less intact. He would not put states like Utah in play. But if Trump would blow up the party, Cruz would merely condemn it to a slow death.