Rubio and Cruz fit within the usual election paradigm. Rubio is a solid, mainstream Republican candidate. The Republican Party is a center-right party, and Rubio represents that. Cruz is further to the right than the Republican majority — and more in line with my own thinking — but a Cruz nomination would remain within the paradigm. Sometimes a candidate wins through superior strategy. Sometimes the party base gets its way. This would be one of those times.
Trump’s nomination, on the other hand, would be different. It would represent a paradigm shift, and not for the better. Trump is a lifelong left-wing friend-of-Democrats campaigning as a Republican for his own reasons. He’s a demagogue, and he’s good at it. Sometimes he speaks truth and often he spouts trash, but what’s the difference? He doesn’t believe any of it anyway. He’s simply saying whatever words he feels will tap into legitimate right-wing anger and working-class angst.
A Trump candidacy would probably result in a Clinton presidency and that, I suspect, would be fine with Trump. If, on the other hand, he went on to win the White House, I’m guessing we’d have four more years of the same kind of lawless and mean-spirited incompetence we’ve had for the last eight. American political life throws up hucksters like Trump from time to time, but usually we figure them out before they rise too far or do too much harm. I’m guessing we’ll figure it out this time too, but maybe not.
If Rubio or Cruz or any other decent Republican is nominated, I’ll support him with joy and enthusiasm against the dishonest, corrupt and anti-libertarian Clinton. If Trump gets the nod, I’ll become a one-man rebel outpost, preaching right principles in a dark time.