You got Cruzed.
Last night, Ted Cruz did the most Ted Cruz thing of Ted Cruz' 2016 campaign. When given a prime time speaking slot, Cruz used it to highlight what he views as the primary role of the GOP. It focused on freedom, subtle nods to issues like LGBT equality, and a cutting non-endorsement of Mr. Trump. If you were hoping for a moment of unity from the guy whose wife was mocked and father accused of killing JFK, thankfully you were wrong.
Ted Cruz is not someone that gives you a warm cuddly feeling. His voice isn't soothing. His rhetoric isn't sweet. In 2016, this was not the candidate the GOP was looking for. The choice of Trump is a perfect reflection of the GOP: consistent electoral defeat by abiding by the Buckley rule, a lack of star power and relevance, and a disjointed organization that focuses blind loyalty instead of visible structure. There is strength in structure, but a fierceness in blind loyalty that makes it highly marketable in the age of 2016.
Take the tale of Meredith McIver, the credited speechwriter of Melania Trump's on-purposefully trolling speech. If anyone thinks this and other elements weren't completely planned, feel free to click on this link where I discuss my thoughts in greater detail:
The fabricated letter on Trump letter head shows weakness hiding behind a strong brand. A self-proclaimed Meredith McIver Twitter account, @immeredithmciver, is filled with poorly photoshopped images of her and Mr. Trump. If it's real, it shows the ineptitude of the campaign. If it's fake, it shows how easy the situation is to see through. @immeredithmciver is a metaphor for the Trump campaign: a fake facade that when pulled down reveals a lack of concern for the truth at the expense of the narrative.
I am not a Cruz fan. I am not a Cruz supporter. But last night, he was the first person in this election to take the media focus away from Trump's bombastic approach to publicity. He bested Trump by giving him a taste of his own medicine: refusing to compromise on your narrative. The difference was that Cruz did this without name calling, without attacks on Trump's family, and without any indication of his future plans. The speech was ballsy, and certainly a political risk which the reward isn't clear. It didn't give him any more clout with the "establishment" at the RNC because he's shown he will buck the party if it fits his interest. He may very well be dead to the RNC.
But then again, have they ever met Ted Cruz? Do they think he cares? His gamble is that Trump will lose the general and the RNC will lose credibility in the process. Cruz may have made the wrong choice, but he did what no one has figured out how to do: control the news for a day better than Trump.